It is widely known by my friends that I realy love baseball. My dad gave me this deep love in 1956-57. I have used every reasonable opportunity since then to nurture it. Now my granddaughter is a huge fan and even keeps a good score card at the games. Some friends tease me mercilessly about this passion. This is why yesterday was an especially great day for me. I attended my second annual Atlanta Braves Hall-of-Fame Luncheon at the 755 Club at Turner Field. The two inductees were the late Bill Lucas, the first African-American general manager in MLB history, and Ralph Garr, the speedy "road-runner" who was a rookie-of-the-year in Atlanta. Garr still has Atlanta’s all time best batting average, at .317. Lucas’ wife accepted his award with real class. Ralph Garr rambled a bit in his comments but entertained us with humor and some gracious reflections. All in all it was a fun day. I sat with Brian Jordan and enjoyed a wonderful conversation with this truly classy man. Jordan was once a star in the NFL and is now at the end of a great MLB career. Pitcher Danys Baez was also at my table at the luncheon. Baez is a Cuban national who escaped the island and now enjoys has his family with him in the US. It was particularly intersting to hear Baez tell me how he learned English in the minor leagues by watching hours and hours of video on long minor league bus trips. His ability to speak good conversational English was actaully pretty impressive. He told me that he finally realized he could only point to pictures on a Denny’s menu for so long before he had to learn how to verbally order his own meals!
The day was topped off by a dramatic ninth inning Braves win, 2-1, over the Milwaukee Brewers. John Smoltz, a great Christian gentleman if there ever was one in baseball, pitched a complete game and Jeff Francouer had a walk-off double to win it in the ninth. My Braves are likely to miss their first post-season visit in fifteen years but don’t count them out just yet. There are still 49 games to play. Meanwhile, the Chicago White Sox, my AL team, are hot again. (I saw them beat the "evil empire" Yankees on Tuesday in Chicago.) It could be a great end to a wonderful season if my teams made it again. Either way I will keep watching and enjoying. Anyway, my doctor told me to relax more and this therapy works for me.