Here's a special item I found during a visit to my mom's place:
You're looking at a baseball from my Little League days. Specifically, it's an example of a "game ball" that our coach would sometimes hand out to a player who'd earned it on the diamond that particular day. And I think I remember why I received it all those years ago. Here's the quick story:
I was playing second base that day. Earlier in the game, I'd committed a real bone-headed error on the easiest of ground balls. It was a 5-hopper that was slowly making its way through the infield grass and onto the dirt. I moved in to make the play, but took my eye off the ball at the last moment to see how close the runner was getting to first base. (Dummy.) The ball scooted right under my glove and the runner made it safely to first.
I took a lot of pride in my fielding back then, and I definitely looked up to our coaches, who worked hard with us, so I wanted badly to redeem myself.
Now it was late in the game, and we were back on the field with two outs in the inning. The next batter was a big right-hander who could hammer the ball, but he'd been late with his swings all game. (He was using a wooden bat instead of aluminum for some reason, so maybe that had something to do with it.) This crossed my mind, and as he got into the batter's box I covertly took a few steps toward first base. Fast-forward just a couple of pitches into the at-bat, and sure enough, the guy was late on his swing again. He connected hard and hit a line drive to my left that I reached out and speared, going down to a knee, almost like a hockey goalie making a glove save.
If I hadn't crept over to the left beforehand, that ball would have gone through the hole and kept the inning going. Instead, the inning ended and we retained our small lead. The next inning we held them again, and won the game.
Redemption. And a game ball.
It's funny how all of those details can come back as soon as you see a certain object, isn't it?
And those detailed memories caused me to go straight for a particular box full of cards when I got home, in order to take out a related item:
I don't have any video from my Little League days, but the game ball and this card are two special items. Man, those were good times.
How about you readers? Do you have any childhood cards of yourself, whether it was from a baseball league or any other sport?
Share in the comment section, and if you're a blogger, why not create a blog post that features your card? I'd love to see what these types of cards might have looked like in other regions of the country.