It is inexplicable to me that the Yankees hold the last surviving “Old Timers’ Day” – they used to be regular features in nearly every ballpark, and for a time constituted a kind of floating franchise, managed centrally and sending the veterans on virtual summer-long tours of parks in the majors and minors.
I’ve been attending them off-and-on since 1967 and thus got to see Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams get basehits (Williams repeatedly homered into the stands in batting practice at Fenway in ’84). Since 2001 I’ve been privileged to be the sidekick to Hall of Fame Announcer Bob Wolff as he announces the nostalgia-fest over the PA system at Yankee Stadium, and thus tomorrow’s Day is a source of great anticipation.
The best part is always the first-timers. They are not exclusively the just-retired, like Mike Mussina. Lindy McDaniel, so long an ex-Yankee that his last act was to be traded to Kansas City for Lou Piniella, will make his debut tomorrow, as will Jerry Narron, whom I hope to be able to note has, simply, the best penmanship in baseball, perhaps in baseball.
Think I’m kidding?
This was one of Narron’s line-up cards while serving as a coach in Texas – a 1998 piece. His work during his one year for Tito Francona in Boston is still treated with hushed reverence by the Sox skipper, who says he has kept some of Narron’s line-up cards. One will notice that besides the calligraphy, there is a boxscore quality to the reserves. The White Sox “extra men” include “Cmrn” and “Snpk” – Mike Cameron and Chris Snopek.
I may try to convince Jerry to fill out the lineups in my scorebook for the Old Timers’ game.