SCORE CARDS and Tar Bubbles

Ritchie lived two doors up across the street from me.

He was a sort of hot-shot in the neighborhood and it was not only because he put a stick in the pool of hot tar bubbles that beckoned on a summer day, with the sign “RICHIE’S TAR BUBBLES” on it. He and a couple of us other kids on the road had a turf war going about who was going to pop which tar bubbles on a hot summer day. Sometimes he won and sometimes we won.

But Richie grew up with baseball in his environment, obviously. He could tell you all the players on the Phillies and the A’s (the A’s played for Philadelphia in those days) — he could tell you the players on the Yankees and the Dodgers and a lot of other teams that came to Shibe Park (later Connie Mack Stadium) to play our teams.

He could tell you their positions, their batting averages, and the pitchers’ ERAs

Come time for Playoff Season, Ritchie could tell you the Standings each day, and who would have to play who to get a shot at the World Series. He could “talk story” like a baseball announcer! And the other boys would talk story back, but none as well as Ritchie. He would come to school with Score Cards.

Not everyone liked Ritchie, as you can surely tell, because he was such a loud mouthed hot-shot. But there was no question as to whether he was best at baseball statistics. He was the best. He had his lists memorized. They were up to date and accurate.

My Dad didn’t mind me being a girl instead of a boy. He thought girls could do anything as well as any boy could, and that includes learning his favorite game, baseball.

Shibe Park is what it was called in those days, and it’s where my Dad took me maybe once or twice a season to see the Philadelphia A’s play. Before TV coverage became a household possibility, we listened to the games on the radio. We heard names like Eddie Joost and Pete Suder, Ferris Fain and Hank Majeski. The double plays were something my father really delighted in, and by the time he took me to my first game at Shibe park I knew some of these names and finally got to see them in person down on that field and making double, and even triple plays!

Dad tried to get us as close as he could to the catcher so we could watch the game from an easy angle to explain what was going on.

It was not the Crackerjack that hooked me on baseball. It was the whole thrill of my Dad and me at Shibe Park watching the action and seeing the faces of runners coming in and pitchers winding up.

Fans sitting on housetops to watch the game going on at Shibe Park in Philadelphia.

Not everyone got to sit behind the catcher at Shibe Park!

What got me thinking about Ritchie and Score Cards was watching our Seattle Mariners playing against the Detroit Tigers tonight (June 19 2017–41 years after Shibe Park was demolished. It opened in 1938 when I was just born!)

The TV camera went to somewhere in the stands where someone was tidying up the first half of the second inning on a Score Card! How do they DO that, I thought! Darn that Ritchie — the show-off.

Oh well… [sigh]

I am notoriously poor at making neat entries on forms. I am not methodical enough, and well I know it.

But still….[sigh]

Susan Holland ©2017