Sunday, December 11, 2011

How I Spent My Sunday Afternoon

On Sunday afternoon while most people were watching football or napping, or bemoaning Ryan Braun,  I got to do something completely different.  The Multnomah County Library is hosting an exhibit called Pride and Passion about Negro League Baseball.  Part of the exhibit was a panel about different perspectives on baseball.  We had hoped to have Artie Wilson be part of the panel, but he passed away before the exhibit got to Portland.  I helped put the panel together and today I got to meet all of these people and introduce them to the people attending.  It was so much fun, and I got to show them around the exhibit at the library also.  We took a picture during the discussion and had them all sign a couple of copies.  From left to right, Lois Youngen, she played for the Fort Wayne Daisys and a couple of other teams in the All American Girls Baseball League.  She got a degree in PE  and went on and taught for 36 years at the University of Oregon and drove up to Portland to see a former student (who taught at my high school) and take part in the panel. She talked about how she learned to play baseball, her Dad was a pitcher and she caught him and when she played with the neighborhood boys, they gave her the choice of playing right field or catcher.  She chose catcher so she could really be in the game. She is now President of the All American Girls Baseball Players Association.   Next to her is Jack Cain, the only person in the room to have a bobble head made of them. Jack has always been a big fan of baseball, I consider him a Northwest baseball icon.  He bought a minor league team in Bend, Oregon that became the Bend Rockies in 1991.  The first Rockies game ever played was in Bend two years before the Colorado Rockies began play, 10 players from that team have now played in the majors.  The team moved to Portland in 1995 when the Beavers moved to Salt Lake City, in 2001 a new franchise moved in called the Beavers and Jack was a senior adviser to the team until the politicians in Portland couldn't figure out how to keep the team here after the 2010 season.   He had some great stories about some of the players he had encountered.  In the center is Drew Mahalic, who moderated the panel.  Drew played in the NFL for 5 years with the Chargers and Eagles, and now is the CEO of the Oregon Sports Authority, which has helped bring several major sports events to Oregon, including part of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament to Portland.  His son Joey was drafted by the Indians and played in 2011 at Kinston and Lake County.  Second from the right is Kerry Eggers, sportswriter from the Portland Tribune, he had some good insights on why football has surpassed baseball in popularity.  Last is Darcy Fast, who pitched for the Cubs in 1968, should have pitched for them in 1969, but the Army wouldn't let him report to camp, because they might have shipped him to Vietnam.  After that he heard a higher calling and became a pastor in Centralia, WA for 30 years.  He recently retired and is now President of the Phoenix, AZ chapter of the Major League Alumni Association.  He has homes in Centralia and Phoenix.  He had some great stories about the '68 Cubs and getting to play with 4 Hall of Famers, Ferguson Jenkins, Billy Williams, Ron Santo and Ernie Banks.  He told a story about Ernie Banks giving him the keys to his car to use in Chicago, when Darcy went out to the car, all the people couldn't figure out who the young white guy was getting into Mr. Cubs car.  Darcy said Ernie did this to many rookies so that he could get away with out being mobbed by the fans.  Like Jack Cain said when I thanked him for coming, he said anytime someone asked him to come talk about baseball for a couple of hours he would be there.   I would have to agree with him and I had a great time listening to all of them and getting to meet them and interact with them.


Play at the Plate said...

Sounds like a great way to spend the afternoon.

--David said...

Wow! What a very cool way to spend the day! I'd like to see a behind-the-scenes write up of how tHis came together. Your work in putting this together really paid off! Did you record the session?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great time had.... Plus the autos super sweet!!