Baseball Fan & Facebook Friend Dennis Anderson’s email submission to reprinted with permission. Dennis shares a learing experience with a happy ending …. We are honored that he chose to share them with the Baseballisms community.


When I was 12, I lost a blue bicycle jacket with a red racing stripe
down the front. This wasn’ t a Kmart knockoff; it was the real thing. In
a “ Brady Bunch” kind of way, it was then the coolest piece of clothing I’ d
ever had.
It was also then the most important thing I ever lost.
My mom never noticed the jacket was gone; at least she didn’ t ask
about it. Yet more than 30 years later I still carry the guilt.
Nearly 30 years later, my son Eric, who was 11 then, felt that same
He was at the local Little League field watching his younger brother
Thomas play a game. Eric let his friend borrow our prized possession: a two-
tone Wilson 1861 Pro 20 catcher’ s glove made of Aztec leather. The two ran
off to play catch.
I splurged on the glove the year before when Eric expressed interest
in playing catcher after watching a documentary about one of my childhood
heroes, Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench. I rationalized the purchase,
mindful of how Eric’ s fastballs were beginning to bruise the palm of my
infielder’ s glove.
A couple days later, I reached into the Eric’ s baseball bag for some
gloves to play catch. The Wilson was missing.
“ Where’ s the catcher’ s mitt?” I asked.
“ I don’ t know,” Eric said.
“ When’ s the last time you had it?”
He mentioned his game of catch with his friend the other day. His
friend may have let another boy use it. Maybe they stopped playing to get a
Slush Puppie at the concession stand. Maybe they watched some of Thomas’
game and then …
Just like my jacket, the glove was gone. I had that empty feeling in the
pit of my stomach.
My wife, Julie, was beside herself. She has gone through this with the
boys daily, only it was over a misplaced shoe or a toy that magically appears
after a cursory investigation. But the glove was expensive.
Eric would learn a lesson, Julie declared. I sulked, but supported her.
His $5 weekly allowance would go to cover the cost of the glove (that’ s 14
weeks, three and a half months). He would have to do extra chores.
Eric put out an A-P-B for the glove at the Little League complex and
regularly checked the lost-and-found. Nothing.
The full extent of his inherited guilt was revealed one day when he
told Julie about crying himself to sleep every night. My wife shared the story
with a friend who had boys a few years older than ours. She deduced that
Eric was developing a conscience.
A few weeks after the glove was lost, I took the boys to a ball field for
a workout.
While there, we found a rain-soaked outfielder’ s mitt someone had
left behind. We inspected it and declared that it was a quality glove and I put
it back where we found it.
As we were leaving, Eric said, “ Why didn’ t we take the glove?”
Just as he said it, I could tell he wanted those words back.
“ Don’ t you wish that when you lost the catcher’ s mitt that someone
had left it behind?”
Six days after our workout, Julie took the boys to a used sporting
goods shop for skates, preparing for the new hockey season. While she was
lacing up skates for Thomas, Eric walked up to her white as a ghost.
“ Mom … our glove is here,” he stammered. “ Look, it’ s got our name
on it.”
Sure enough, there was “ Anderson” written in black Sharpie on the
inside heel of the glove. A $39.95 price tag dangled from the mitt.
Whoever picked up the glove at the Little League field had sold it to
the store.
Julie called me from her cell phone. “ You’ re never going to believe
this … ”
I was giddy.
Julie told the store manager our story. He said he had paid $20 for the
glove and that’ s what he’ d charge her.
She and the boys left with two pair of skates and our two-tone Wilson
1861 Pro 20 catcher’ s glove made of Aztec leather. It would be a long time
before Eric would let that glove out of his sight since.
The boy learned a lesson about responsibility and, maybe, honesty.
Or maybe he was just growing up.
Postscript: Eric is now 18 and pitching for Harper College in Palatine, Ill.

Dennis Anderson


This weekend I had the great fortune of attending the Society for American Baseball Research annual convention.SABR40 Convention Graphic | SABR40 was hosted by the Magnolia Chapter in the city of Atlanta.  At the time of submitting my registration for the conference, I was living just south of the city and expected to make an easy commute to and from home to partake in the panels and discussions on the agenda.  However since that time, the family has begun a transition to pursue opportunities in New England, so the commute now included a plane flight.  Fortunately, (or not so fortunately) the house is still on the market and I was able to take care of some home maintenance upon my return to Atlanta, while also attending the convention.

My overall impression is that there are many incredibly smart individuals with extraordinary passion driving their pursuit of greater knowledge of the game of baseball. I was in awe of the exquisite detail included in the member presentations, while thoroughly enjoying the exchanges during the panel discussions.

Here are some notes:

My first event was Thursday evening and the panel discussion of Women Baseball Writers held at Charis Books and More in the Little Five Points district of Atlanta. The panel consisted of Dorothy Seymour Mills, Christina Kahrl and Cecilia Tan. Also listed on the panel was Judith Testa who was unable to attend for some reason.  I was looking forward to seeing Judith since I had done a Cover the Bases podcast with her about her biography of Sal Maglie.

  • Cecilia is also a previous guest on the podcast, so it was great to meet her this night and to see her throughout the weekend live blogging on her site Cecilia read the introduction and a favorite passage of her book The 50 Greatest Games in Yankee History
  • Dorothy Seymour Mills discussed her work with her husband and colleague Harold Seymour, as well as her biography A Woman’s Work and her recent book Chasing Baseball.
  • I was really impressed with Christina Kahrl’s story of building up the Baseball Prospectus from it’s initial beginnings to an essential publication for serious baseball fans.  She has succeeded in collaborating on the annuals inspired by the Bill James Baseball Abstracts.
  • Also getting a chance to tell us about her current work was Stephanie Liscio who is publishing a book titled Integrating Cleveland Baseball.
  • One of the benefits of being in town this weekend was the series with the San Francisco Giants. Tonights ballgame was a big 3-2 win over Tim Lincecum. I also fired up the MLB Package on DirectTV and watched the Padres take one from the Dodgers.

Day two started out with a panel discussion called 1990’s Braves “Worst to First” Era Panel including Phil Niekro, Mark Lemke, Bobby Cox and Ron Gant, moderated by recent Cover the Bases guest Pete Van Wieren. Braves Panel | SABR 40 |

  • Sat next to a gentleman who produced a baseball for the Braves panelists to sign.  He mentioned to me that it was from the previous night’s ballgame.  As he told the story, it had bounced off the hands of another fan in front of him and it presented itself softly in front of him.  It was a foul off the bat of Alex Gonzalez who homered two pitches later!
  • To my left was a guy who was admiring my iPad and we discussed how he could use it for work purposes.  Unfortunately the hotel was a complete black hole as far as internet connectivity.  One of the discoveries of this weekend is how much better the AT&T 3G coverage is in Boston than it is in Atlanta.
  • My seat mates and I talked a lot of about the Braves and I was able to relate the importance of Pete Van Wieren to the entire Braves community.  We also discussed autographs and his pursuit of the identity of a former Orioles player whose signature he cannot decipher.
  • One of the best lines of the panel came from Bobby Cox when jokingly discussing umpires said, “I like all umpires .. except for the one in Florida last night!”.  The night before, umpire Bob Davidson had missed a fair / foul call that cost the Florida Marlins a win over the Phillies.

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This Baseballism is a discussion about former opening day adventures, mostly regarding an off the field transaction that almost became an on the field event!

However, more importantly this video is a request to viewers to document their own Baseballisms with webcams, video cameras, whatever medium works best, then upload it to the web site. The attempt here is to develop a collection of stories that speak to the true meaning and passion of the game of baseball.



by on March 1, 2008

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