I thought about an old baseball story of mine for some reason. Actually, it’s among the best Little League memories I still have.
(Disclaimer: After the age of 10, my best baseball was played on defense.)
In the only game I ever played as a right fielder I threw out a runner attempting to go first-to-third on a routine single.
Was there a scout in the bleachers? I’ll never really know.
I was 12 or 13 years old and played third base, shortstop and first base for the Arlington Little League (Riverside, Ca.) Senior Minor Giants. We finished around .500 that season, and had all switched defensive positions because it was the last game of the season.
The coach — this snooty guy in his 40s — wanted to mix it up.
Anyway, I stood in right field getting only an easy fly ball until late in the game when our opponents put a runner on first and followed with a single through the right side.
Focused on a getting a clean roll into my glove I didn’t think much about any potential throw. I scooped and retrieved the ball from my glove, looked up to find their runner rounding second base.
My instinct was already telling me “Hit the cutoff!” when I remember really reeling back.
It wasn’t a dart. More of a guided missile. It took one bounce before our third baseman (Bob? Bobby?) grabbed it and applied a clean tag. I remember the play ended an inning.
Or did it? Did any of this really happen? It 20-plus years ago. Is this memory, so vivid in my mind, a concoction of amalgam’ed Little League events from my childhood?
I remember a lot. I’d like to think this is one of those memories as sharp as any other — Spring of 1992 or ’93; Just a year or two before high school; Awkward but totally awesome! — but I honestly cannot say.
I like this memory, though. It’s a positive reminder, one that proves teamwork trumps talent. Even if it was a picturesque throw.