Big League Love

Heart * Soul * Baseball

Rookie in Heaven

dad gaylord perrydad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My father Rich was the best dad ever.

He had a heart of gold, a kind word for everyone, and taught me everything I know about baseball. He was the ultimate fan and the epitome of Big League Love.

I created this page for him to be a co-contributor to my site and to share his memories of this great game, and I had initially called it “Dad’s Corner”.

My dad loved to write, and he did so with his traditional brand of heart, humor, and optimism.

I was fortunate enough to receive 3 of his stories before he died in a car crash on September 25, 2015.  I am honored to be able to share those stories here.

A seasoned soul here on earth, he is now Heaven’s newest rookie.

I love you to the moon and back Dad, and I dedicate this site to you.

 

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# 1 – The Giants come to San Francisco

On a bright sunny afternoon, the new Boys of Summer began. It was hardly Summer since the date was April 15th.  No, not this year, Silly.  The Year of Our Lord 1958.

The remnants of the welcoming parade the previous month were swept away by the street cleaning crew, but an invisible energy welled up on this special day. The Hated Dodgers were also new West Coasters but no love lost there.  Although the San Francisco fans, unless New York transplants or visitors, were fairly well behaved on Opening Day.

Ruben Gomez and Valmy Thomas were the battery for our SF Giants with other notables such as Willie Mays in CF, Jimmy Davenport/3B, and Orlando Cepeda/1B, my favorites as the day and the years progressed. THAT day, they all made plays that made a difference as we skunked the boys in blue and white by a delicious score of 8-0.

A mere 55 years later, my lovely daughter and baseball buddy Christina Marie and I sat in a bar that existed on 16th and Bryant, across from the beloved Seals Stadium where I saw that first game from the right field bleachers, a mere 15 year old boy with wide eyes that day. So go see and drink a toast at the Double Play Bar and relive the first game and many that followed.

See you at Pac Bell** sometime but only after washing down a cold one at the Double Play.  Parking’s still an issue!         —  Richie Nielsen

(**Christina here…. Dad still called the ballpark “Pac Bell” even after they changed the name to AT & T)

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# 2 – Payback is Hell

1987 was a joyous, then disappointing season for our Boys of Summer.  They won their Division, then faced the St Louis Cardinals in the NL Championship series.  Leading 3 games to 2, we headed for St Louis, confident we’d win one, thus going to the World Series.  Didn’t happen, though Dave Dravecky held the Cards to a single run in game 6.  Then the 8-0 shutout and we were cooked.

Fast forward to the following summer and guess who’s in town to face us at Candlestick.  The Nielsen Four were there with two sweet young ladies, the blonde looking for Dad to retrieve some good nachos and the brunette buried in a book, not much interested in this baseball clash.  That would change when the score soared to 10-1, us.  Probably was the 3 home runs we hit.  Nacho Girl was paying attention from run 1.

By the final score of 21-2, victory was sweet, not ’cause of the score but rather who we beat.  The 5th home run was the final run and historic.  Little known utility infielder Ernie Riles hit the 10,000th of the franchise totals.

Only sweeter was the appearance at Sinbad’s restaurant on the waterfront of Whitey Herzog, Cards Manager, with his boys.  I’m told I said something like: tough game, today, Coach?  He was gracious enough to give Christina his autograph.  Hmmm!  Wonder if she still has it?????

Love, Dad

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# 3 –  Perseverance and Intestinal Fortitude

Perseverance and intestinal fortitude! We old-timer Giants fans were trained by our folks and buddies under those traits and attitudes.  You know … those bad years in the mid-70s and again mid-80s.  We had the sluggers when we didn’t have the pitching … or … we lost our defensive skills of the ’60s  but had the pitching.  A really bad year, we lost all 3.

1985 was such a year, unless you consider a 100 loss season amusing or anecdotal.  This was fairly quickly erased in our memories as it should be … by the arrival of Al Rosen the new GM and his choice for manager, Roger Craig.  With a “Humm Baby” motto and choice phrases like “Don’t let your dauber down” — whatever the hell a dauber is — he lifted the spirits of his young team, including two all stars Will Clark and Robbie Thompson from Double A.   He lifted our spirits as well.

So began an era of positivity and energy characteristic of our present team.  Let youth be served!  Playoffs a plenty: 1987; 1989; 1994; 1997 — you know the rest.   Hallelujah for the original Humm Baby!