With our first day to start the 2010 season, and the demolition of the old building progressing quickly, I found myself getting a bit melancholy during yesterday’s game. Baseball is always a blend of the old and new, and seeing the 2009 team getting their shiny, newly minted rings juxtaposed against Gene Monahan (who is battling throat cancer) left me a bit wistful and reflective amidst all the joy and triumph of yesterday’s ceremonies. Gene got a nice ovation and big hugs from players who he’s probably spent a lot of time with in Posada and Matsui. He’s been a fixture with the Yanks, he’s been the Yankee trainer since 1973, longer than I’ve been following the team. It made me think what a memorable day yesterday was, and I found myself reflecting back to when I was introduced to the team as a young boy.
My first memory as a Yankee fan was October 14th, 1976. I was a 7 year old, and had no idea of what Baseball was other than the fact that my parents watched a lot of it. We were gathered around the TV watching Game 5 of the 1976 ALCS (best of 5 back then) played at the newly renovated Yankee Stadium. The game was tied 6-6, as Kansas City scored 3 in the top of the 8th off Yankee reliever Grant Jackson, who blew the save for starter Ed Figeroa. Chris Chambliss came to the plate in the bottom of the 9th, and hit a walk-off, ALCS winning Home Run off Mark Littell of the Kansas City Royals that put the Yanks in the World Series for the first time in 12 years. I’m sure you’ve seen the video, the fans flooded the field and Chambliss ran to the dugout as if for his very life. I was a 7 year old kid and became instantly fascinated at what could cause such a furor. My parents were huge Mets fans and old Brooklyn Dodger fans from the time when they were kids, so their son getting hooked on the hated Yanks was an unfortunate turn of events. My Dad was no doubt rooting against them and left his chair in disgust after the Chambliss blast. I started following the Yanks thereafter, saw them win in 1977 with Reggie Jackson’s 3 HR game and again in 1978 when Graig Nettles saved a spent Ron Guidry with 3 sparkling defensive plays in Game 3 of that series. But by that time, I was already long since hooked. The Chambliss blast intrigued me and the Reggie game cemented the deal.
Do you remember you first memory as a Yankee fan? The moment when you got hooked on the team? If so, what was it?
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