Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Growing Up In Delphi, Indiana

My early years were spent in Delphi, Indiana. Delphi is located in west central Indiana near Lafayette. Along with my friends, Dave Issacs, David Cunningham and Steve Hutton, a good part of the summer was spent participating in baseball related activities. We typically either played actual baseball games or used our baseball cards and our imagination to play games.

From 1957 through 1959, we all collected baseball cards, although Steve had by far the most extensive collection. Most of my baseball cards were purchased at Ollie Limp’s Hilltop Grocery Store. I recently found this picture of Ollie in Carroll County Historical Society files. Back in 1959, you could get a pack of cards for a penny.

Cards were sorted by team and our favorite players were saved for baseball games using the Ed-U-Card game. We bought the Ed-U-Card decks at the dime store downtown, probably for less than a dollar. These vintage games go for quite a bit more on EBay today. We usually double and triple decked the Ed-U-Cards so that we could play full games without reshuffling. We would keep score of the games and log player stats in a notebook.

I recall that most of us did not really like the Yankees and in particular the 1957 and 1958, Mickey Mantle cards were not considered very valuable. It sure would be nice to have a few of those Mantle cards today.
My favorite team during this time period was the White Sox and my favorite player was Luis Aparicio. I think I liked Aparicio because he played the best position on a baseball team, shortstop. He was a sparkplug for the White Sox with his speed and defense.

When we could find enough players, we would play games in the “Big Lot”. The “Big Lot” was a full sized empty lot located between my house and Cunningham’s house. We played baseball and football on this lot. At one time David Cunningham’s dad owned a Crosley which he let my brother drive in circles on the “Big Lot”. If you are not familiar with the Crosley automobile, it was a quirkly little vehicle that was the brainchild of Powell Crosley of Cincinnati, Ohio. Crosley also owned the Crosley Broadcasting Corporation and for a time the Cincinnati Reds. The Crosley could get up to 50 mpg and were built in Richmond, Indiana up till 1942. After WWII, production resumed in a factory in Marion, Indiana. The last Crosleys rolled off the assembley line in 1950. Bob Cunningham bought two Crosleys and used the parts to make one of them operational. The picture shows some Crosleys. The second body sat in our back yard as a outdoor toy. Years later, a house was built on this lot.

My family moved from Delphi to Kokomo in the summer of 1959. I continued to follow the White Sox and Aparicio until the mid-sixties when I switched to the Red Sox……..but that is a story for another time.

I will show some of the Aparicio cards that are in my current collection and talk about thefirst Major League baseball game that I attended to see my "hero" play ball in another post.

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