First Love

5 Mar

Tomorrow is my daughter’s 21st birthday.  21 years old.  We’ve been racking our brains trying to come up with the perfect gift.  You know what she asked for?  A Cliff Lee T-shirt. Really.

And just for the record, she’s not new to the Cliff Lee fan club.  He was her favorite player the first time around and she was not happy when he was traded.  Getting Halladay was all well and good but Cliff Lee was her guy.  She’ll be able to wear her #33 jersey proudly tomorrow.  (Don’t worry, we got her a couple of other things, too.)

For me, my favorite player growing up was shortstop Larry Bowa.  I picked him out right from the start during his rookie season with the Phils.  Larry appealed to me for a couple of reasons.  First, I was small for my age, always the shortest in my class, always had to stand up front for the class picture.  I hated being short.  I thought that if I were only a little bit taller everything would be better.

So along comes this skinny, little shortstop who was cut from his high school team.  He wasn’t drafted since none of the scouts thought he had the tools to make it in the majors. But Larry proved them all wrong.  Through sheer force of will he turned himself into a major league shortstop, and a darn good one at that, winning 2 Gold Gloves (he should have won more!) making 5 All-Star appearances and, of course, he was a key member of the 1980 World Series Champs.  (Did you know he hit .375 in that World Series!?)    Not bad for a skinny kid who couldn’t even make his high school team.

So Larry was my man and I knew everything about him even the name of his dog.  (It was Mugsy.)  I admired Larry’s passion, his work ethic, and his overcoming the odds to play the game he loved.  He didn’t let his small stature define him so why should I?  I still follow his career enjoying his appearances on the MLB network and local sportstalk radio.  (In case you’re wondering, I’m still short but I’ve done OK, too.)

Now it’s your turn.  I know my readers aren’t big commenters but now’s the time to take the plunge.  Who was your first favorite player?  I really want to know.  They can be currently playing or old-timers like mine.

For me, it’s kind of like a first love.  No matter how many favorites you may have over the years, the first one is always special, like Larry Bowa is to me.

8 Responses to “First Love”

  1. Marlyn March 5, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

    Happy birthday drew!!

    Art mahaffey
    struck out 17 in a game
    and then the1980 team, all of them.
    I even named cats Bake and Bowa after Larry and bake mcbride.
    Just like this years team there were a lot of good players to love. Tug McGraw, steve Carlton, bob boone, mike schmidt and the amazing pete rose. That was fun lovin!
    I’m not 21 but I could love cliff lee!!

  2. Neil T March 6, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    I wouldn’t necessarily refer to him as my first-love, but Red Sox starter Bill ‘Spaceman’ Lee is my all-time favorite baseball player.

    Lee, who cooked hot dogs on a hibachi in the Fenway bullpen & appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated dressed in an astronaut costume, commented after his ’75 Game 7 World Series loss to Cincinnati Reds pitcher Don Gullett: “Gullet will go to the Hall of Fame and I’ll go to the Eliot Lounge.”

    When I got to Emerson College in ’80, the first place I visited was the Eliot Lounge.

  3. Hal Rosenbluth March 6, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    Johnny Callison, he was the only player I could see from the cheap upper deck seats down the left field line.

  4. Hal Rosenbluth March 6, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    Sorry Rooster, forgot to wish you Happy Birthday. Enjoy life.

  5. geetie March 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    Before the Fightn’s there were the Whiz kids,I’m old. Sir Robin Roberts as my dad called him and Richie of course.

  6. Frumi March 26, 2011 at 5:47 am #

    I liked Cookie Rojas basically because of his name.

  7. meterr June 6, 2016 at 3:53 am #

    I agree with you on Larry!
    Before the age of 11, I admired guys like Pete Rose, Tug McGraw, Reggie, Thurman Munson, Alan Trammell and Mike Schmidt. My very 1st crushes on players ( I had no idea it was a crush, but it was more than a “favourite player” type thing!) was Bob Boone and Lance Parrish! By the time I was 13, and my Tigers won it all in 1984, I knew why I loved Lance!

    • girlsbestphriend June 6, 2016 at 10:53 am #

      Hi there. So nice to see your comment this morning and see that someone’s still reading the blog. Time has made it tough for me to write the last couple of years but reading your comment was a great way to start my morning! By the way, I was always a big fan of “Boone-y,” too! Have a great day!

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