Last month, I talked about documenting a collection.
Now, after having made a recent trip to my parents’ place and retrieving various ball-snagging goodies from my past, I have something else to say/share…
When I first started catching balls, the only thing I did to keep track of my collection was to clip my ticket stubs to index cards and jot down the details. Here’s my first one.
June 20, 1990…a historic day in the life of Zack. As you can see, I didn’t know how to spell “caught,” but I must’ve figured it out fast because I got it right after my first Phillies game on October 6, 1991.
I remember that game well. I was there with my parents and a guy named Steve Mandl who coached baseball at George Washington High School. He had some superstar kid on the team that he wouldn’t stop raving about. We all laughed at him when he told us that the kid was gonna be a future All-Star and a Hall of Famer. What a quack. I wonder what ever happened to that kid. His name was Manny something. But anyway, yeah, Cone struck out 19 batters. There was only one inning when he didn’t fan anyone and, coincidentally, it came right after he slid hard while running the bases. I got my ball after the game. I was standing in the front row along the 3rd base line (didn’t know anything about going to the dugouts) when the Mets relievers started walking in from the bullpen. Whitehurst tossed the ball to me on one bounce off the rubberized warning track. Lucky lucky lucky.
I started getting a little fancier as I started catching more balls. Believe it or not, Yankee Stadium was actually better than Shea through 1993 when both places were still opening just 90 minutes before gametime. (This $15.20 ticket would now cost $90. How I miss the good ol’ days.) Over the next few years, as I began to document my collection in other ways, the ticket stubs and index cards no longer had a purpose, with the exception of “fun.”
I must’ve been challenging myself to see how much writing I could cram onto one index card.
I kept the tickets/cards going for a few more years, but eventually, it became a burden. There were just too many stats and streaks and averages and totals and records to keep track of. Consecutive games with one ball. With two balls. With three balls. With two balls at Shea. With two balls at Yankee. With one ball not at Shea or Yankee. National League balls. American League balls. Major League balls. Most balls in a game. Most balls in a game without batting practice. Most balls in a game without batting practice outside of New York City. Most balls at a post-season game. In two consecutive post-season games. In two consecutive regular season games. Most game balls. Most game balls in back-to-back games. In a week. In a month. Most practice balls in a week. In a month. In a season. Most game balls in a season. Most National League game balls in a season. Most National League game balls in two consecutive seasons. In three consecutive seasons. Most American League game balls in three consecutive seasons. 100th ball of the season. 100th National League ball of the season. 200th ball of the season. Consecutive seasons with 200 balls. With 100 balls. Most balls in one homestand. Most times wanting to rip my hair out. Most times wanting to rip my hair out without batting practice. Most times wanting to rip my hair out without batting practice at Yankee Stadium. AAAAAHHHHH!!!!! I decided to ignore this stuff on a game-by-game basis and just deal with it all at once after each season. Anyway, I was moving out of my parents’ place and didn’t have room for boxes full of ticket stubs and index cards in my teeny new apartment.
Of course, now I’m buried in them all over again.