Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Will I Ever Get Over 1969


I was reading Ron Santo for Love of Ivy by Ron Santo and Randy Minkoff as part of some research I am doing on a new Sporting Chance Press title (www.sportingchancepress.com). It's a pretty breezy read and I was intrigued by what Ron had to say about 1969. I came away with a basic message of Santo looking fondly on the year and appreciative of being a part of the Cubs in such a great era. It made me think back to my own recollections of that late 1960's Cub era - occasionally taking the Western Avenue bus all the way from the south end of the city through every kind of neighborhood imaginable to watch the Cubs play and then back again. Most of what we did in those days though was listen to the Cubs on the radio while we played our own game of "off the steps." But occasionally we would get to Wrigley and it was something special.

What I remember of Santo was his total disregard of his own body. He was constantly expanding his range at third base by diving at balls -- and more often than not, snagging them and throwing the batter out. Santo was a fighter, a boxer with a baseball mitt. I am glad that he not only enjoyed those times, but looks back at them unapologetic. He was a man then and he is a man now.

For me it was really not 1969 that stings, but it was the absence of 1969 in the following seasons. 1969 was a great year, I just wish it could have been followed with a bunch of others like it. But that's like expecting Paul McCartney to write another White Album or Harrison Ford to still be the kind of Indiana Jones today that young girls would write secret messages to on their eyelids.

Santo is right, 1969 was a very good year. And maybe I will never get over 1969 because I don't want to ever forget it.