Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thanks for the Memories

Images shared by Shawn Cardenas

One of my fondest memories when I was a child was going with my father to attend a Negro League baseball game.  This was in the 1950s and the Negro League was still in existence. I recall that my dad was so excited about the game as some of the top players were coming to my hometown of Ft. Smith, to play a local team. He kept saying that some great players were coming to town, and he decided that he would take me. So off we went, just Daddy and me!  I recall climbing up on the bleachers wondering why the steps seemed so tall. It was not hot as I recall and I was able to stay up late that night.

The local baseball stadium was Andrews Field. This historic stadium only recently was torn down by the city to make room for another endeavor. But I loved it, because it was just my daddy and myself, and he enjoyed himself so much. I didn't understand the game, but it was still fun---and it was just daddy and me. I was his girl and he took time to tell me when the pitcher threw a good ball or a bad ball. I wondered why somebody didn't make that man stop throwing bad balls!  My childhood interpretation was that the pitcher was being naughty and everybody could see it.

This was only a blurry memory, until recently. I was not even sure when the game was actually played, and if there really was a Negro league game played in town.  Well, who would have thought that Facebook--would have brought back the joys of that day, and have put an actual date on the event?

I am a member of Facebook and one of the groups that I joined is a group devoted to the history of my hometown.  It is called, "If You Ever Lived in Ft. Smith"  and the site is devoted to the community's history. All members of the group who have an interest in the town, can join in sharing photos and stories, upload images and chat.

I had not been on the site in over a month and decided recently, to look at the photos and catch up, with what I had missed.  Going in a few pages, I noticed the images of a ticket to a Negro League Game. In addition---there was the score card for the same game!

 I remember that Daddy kept telling me that some very important ball players were out there on the field and they were already famous and would someday be known by everybody. I could not imagine what he meant, but Daddy said it, so I believed it!

But seeing the images of the ticket and noting who the players were---I am truly amazed.  Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson.  Wow!  I know that Daddy was excited to see them play and who would have known that I would someday see the program from that game!

Ironically, I also have to smile as I look at the ticket.  I see that it was printed by a local printer---Weldon Williams & Lick, a local printing company. Both my dad and my brother worked there!  And ironically, my brother works on the presses at WW&L, to this day--- and when my dad retired from his barber business, he too worked as a shipping clerk at the same company.  And these days, my brother makes major league baseball season tickets at the same company!

One never knows where one might get warm memories---and in this case, a generous member of a Facebook group, Mr. Shawn Cardenas brought this warm memory back to me.  Also, he graciously gave me permission to share the images on my blog.

What a joy to see the score card and the ticket, from the Willie Mays All Star game, and I am grateful to a member of the group for giving me back that memory.

Thank you, Mr. Cardenas for the memories of a young girl having a great day with her Daddy at Andrews Field!


MissDazey said...

I love this story, I am a huge baseball fan. Do you follow baseball? There were indeed some great players on that team. Last Monday on History Detectives they did a story about the Negro League and them playing exhibition games with all white teams.

Isn't the Internet wonderful! What a neat story about you finding the pictures on Facebook

Angela Y. Walton-Raji said...

Yes, I have enjoyed baseball since I was small---thanks to my dad! I saw that piece on the History Detectives. That was wonderful, wasn't it? Looks like the Willie Mays games are not widely known, but watching that episode on the History Detectives makes one think about those road trips the teams made.