Sunday, October 4, 2015

An All-Star Memory

Boop's All-Star Memory

An All-Star Memory


I have been to three baseball All-Star games (the two at Veterans Stadium in 1976 and 1996; 1990 at Wrigley Field), and my favorite memory is from the first one. Actually, it is from before the first one.

We had seats in the first couple of rows of the 600 level in left-center field. I had never sat that far from home plate and my buddy and I were in the seats as early as possible because we were looking forward to batting practice almost as much as the game.

We were not disappointed.

The NL team was loaded with power – Greg Luzinski … Johnny Bench … and two guys who became favorites of mine based strictly on the dozen or swings they took pregame on July 13, 1976.

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I am sure Luzinski and Bench and some AL guys teed off pretty good during that BP, but I will always remember George Foster and Dave Kingman seemingly taking turns trying to reach us in the second deck. Both reached the upper deck a couple times and Foster launched one that we both swear reached the 600 level to our left – close to dead center field.

The game was good enough — a 7-1 NL victory — and seeing Mark Fidrych patting down the mound was a site to see. Dave Cash picked up the lone hit for the Phillies’ five-man contingent, but it was Kingman and Foster who left us with the memories that will last forever.

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About this blog

Boop – who goes by Bob Vetrone Jr. when he is undercover or paying bills – has been at the Daily News since 1982, after working for five years at the Philadelphia Bulletin up to its closing. Along with helping to build the sports scoreboards most nights, he has had great input into the papers’ special sports pullouts – March Madness, Broad Street Run, Record Breakers, Greatest Moments – as well as its day-to-day, award-winning event coverage.

A 1980 graduate of North Catholic, he took some evening college courses. Those lasted right up until the first conflict with a Big 5 doubleheader.

His favorite books growing up were the NBA Guide and the Baseball Encyclopedia, which was, for all intents and purposes, the Internet before there was an Internet.

He has been immersed in sports statistics since the early 70s, when his father (long-time sports writer, broadcaster and the Daily News’ Buck The Bartender), would take him into the Bulletin newsroom overnight in the summer and let him update the Phillies statistics in a little, black spiral notebook. But things have changed tremendously in the decades since … He now uses a big, black spiral notebook.

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Bob Vetrone Jr.
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