My grandson Matthew hitting his first home run in a Texas Little League game in ninth year of youth baseball.
Friday, July 1, 2010 will always be a red-letter day for my grandson Matthew. He hit his first home run over the fence after playing youth baseball for nine years. Most importantly, the home run gave his team, the Groves National League All Stars, a 1-0 lead in a game in which they would defeat the Bridge City All Stars by a 3-0 score.
His home run brought back memories of the Little League game about 54 years ago when I hit a ball over the fence, only to have it caught by the center fielder who reached over the fence to catch it. That was the only time I ever hit a ball that far before or after that long out.
More Special Than Mantle, Maris Home Runs
So it made it even more special when Matthew hit his first home run. I have seen Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris hit home runs in a baseball game, in Kansas City in 1962. That was nothing, though compared to the feeling when the ball went over the fence and disappeared last Friday night.
It was the only run in the game that scored as a result of a hit and gave the Groves National League All-Stars a lead that they would not relinquish. It was also one of three hits recorded by Groves.
The home run was even more remarkable, when considering the opposing pitcher throws 75 MPH and pitched a great game to hold Groves to three runs. However, Matthew’s teammate Nathan pitched an even better game allowing four hits while throwing 44 strikes in 58 pitches according to the boxscore posted on the Bridge City website.
Matthew Started At Early Age
It is not surprising that Matthew was swinging a plastic baseball bat as soon as he learned to walk. By the age of four he was playing Wee Ball which is the step before Tee Ball in Louisiana.
He has always played with a smile on his face and just enjoys being on the baseball diamond. He has been on several All Star teams and his Tioga, Louisiana All Star team played in the state championship game one year and lost to a very good pitcher. Matthew batted 1.000 in the state championship game and only one other player even got a hit off that pitcher.
Plays APBA Baseball Board Game Like His Grandpa Did 53 Years Earlier
When I played a full season of major league games using my APBA Baseball board game in 1959, I never thought that my grandson would be playing the same APBA game 53 years later. He keeps extensive stats for each player including assists.
The difference was that when I played the game, there were only 16 major league teams, playing a 154 game schedule. Matthew’s game has 30 teams playing a 162 game schedule.
Dreams of Being a Major Leaguer Someday
Matthew hopes to become a major league baseball player someday. I hope his dream comes true. It isn’t easy to become one of the 750 players playing in the major leagues today. However, Matthew doesn’t mind hard work and has a good work ethic. I can remember when he would want me to keep throwing him grounders and flies, even though it was hard to even see the ball with no lights in the yard.
He would stand in the yard across the street, so I could throw him long fly balls so he could get used to catching them. He has played either shortstop or third base for the last few years and pitched four innings of no-hit baseball earlier this season.
I only hope I live long enough to see Matthew achieve his dream of playing in the majors, but time may be running out for me, since I am 67 and most players don’t reach the majors till they are 21 or 22. That would make me close to 80 before he could make it.
One thing for sure is that I will never discourage him from pursuing his dream. I just hope he follows his dream to the major leagues, whether I am around to see it happen or not.