Growing up as a Yankees fan


There are a lot of things kids of today are being shortchanged of in their delicate growing up days. Baseball, the longtime sport of America is one of them.

Baseball, hot dogs and the national anthem are time-honored traditions. Why not add some more to that which is gone?

I recall the excitement of collecting and trading baseball cards.

Remember? They were wrapped and included a thin slab of bubble gum. The taste of that gum was sweet. Young’uns in my day took this situation quite seriously.

Clearly, I recall my early days as a New York Yankees fan. From 1951 until 1957, quite a while ago, I had a baseball card of every member of the Yankees, and they were all carefully pasted in separate scrapbooks.

Those scrapbooks, today, would be worth a fortune, but somehow they got lost along the way.

Those mid-50s Yankees and their crosstown rival Dodgers were the idols of my growing-up years.

Looking back to 1955: the highest-paid Yankee, then, was catcher Yogi Berra. His salary was $50,000.

The notorious slammer, Mickey Mantle, was paid $25,000.

Surely, things have changed, but they were the heroes of my growing-up years. And, I had them all with their baseball cards nestled in my scrapbooks. Wish I had them today. I could seriously consider retiring, if I did.

How about these names: Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Enos “Country” Slaughter, Hank Bauer, Bill “Moose” Skowron, Bobby Richardson, Gil McDougald, Phil Rizzuto, Andy Carey, Billy Martin, Whitey Ford, Don Larsen, Bob Grim, Allie Reynolds and others?

Remember Larsen? He pitched the only perfect game in World Series history ­— game five between the Yankees and the then Brooklyn Dodgers.

It was 1956 and it was the first baseball game I ever saw on television. The Yankees won that game 2-0.

Sure do wish I still had those baseball card-collection scrapbooks. They also included every detail possible on each player.

I recall sitting on the front porch during the summer waiting for the newspaper to be delivered so I could see the baseball scores and update my scrapbook.

It was a different time in a different world. Yet, you know, I don’t think a single one of us went out and killed someone.

We sat on the front porch waiting for the newspaper to come the next day. Sure was easier in days gone by.

William Holloman is a staff writer for the Mount Olive Tribune.


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