Thursday, September 23, 2010

My First Major League Ballgame – July 13, 1962

Thanks to , I have been able to track the date and box score of the very first major league game that I attended. I talked a little about my early baseball hero, Luis Aparicio, in an previous post. When I was fourteen, my parents took me to a White Sox game in Chicago. Luis Aparicio was playing in his last season with the White Sox. In January 1963, Aparicio and Al Smith were traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Ron Hansen, Dave Nicholson, Pete Ward and Hoyt Wilhelm.

However, On July 13, 1962, my dad, my mother and myself were among 21, 191 people who saw the White Sox beat the Detroit Tigers by a score of 4 to 1. Ray Herbert pitched a complete game allowing only three hits.

Aparicio batted seventh for the White Sox, but was quiet for most of the game. In the bottom of the first, with two runners on base, Luis grounded into a force out at 2nd to end the inning. In the bottom of the third, Luis popped out to the second baseman for the 2nd out of the inning. In the bottom of the sixth, Aparicio led off the inning by flying out to the left fielder.

By the time Little Louie came to bat with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, I was getting concerned about two things. First, Aparicio had not given me anything to cheer about offensively. He had only a ground out and two flyouts so far.

The second thing that I had hoped would happen was a home run so that I could see the scoreboard fireworks show. Bill Veeck had created the famous Monster Scoreboard in 1960. Whenever a White Sox player hit a homer they would be greeted by the lighted pinwheels and fireworks display. However, other than Nellie Fox, Luis Aparicio was probably the least likely position player to light up the “exploding scoreboard”. The monster scoreboard operated until the 1990 season.

With the White Sox leading, Louie could well be the last batter for the White Sox. Aparicio took care of both of my concerns with one swing. He hit a two run homer to left field. I am sure that somehow he knew that I was in attendance and hit that home run just for me so my first ball game would be one to remember for ever.

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