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A reminiscence for baseball fans

By Edward A. Rinderle
Posted: 09/30/2023
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Two boys emerge from the little grocery store down the street from their homes in the mid-city district of New Orleans.  It is summertime, 1955.   They each have used 20% of their weekly allowance to buy a 5 cent baseball card.  They have no idea who will be pictured on the cards, for they are wrapped in thick paper along with a flat piece of pink bubble gum.  They savor the anticipation as they walk the block down Palmyra Street to Donny's house – the left half of a shot gun duplex.  Taking a seat on the front porch, Donny and his friend Freddie look at each other to decide who will be first to open his treasure.  “I think it's your turn, Freddie”, says Donny.  Freddie heaves a sigh to relieve his excitement, then begins to rip at the paper methodically.  The card reveals itself as a color portrait of Joe Adcock, star first baseman of the Milwaukee Braves.  Alas, it is a duplicate of  a card already in the boys' mutual collection, but it's a great pickup nonetheless.

After a few minutes spent admiring the likeness of Adcock, Donny takes his turn and slowly peels off the paper.  “Wow!” he exclaims.  “A Roy Campanella!  We don't have one of him!  The best catcher in baseball!”  Equally excited, Fred partially agrees.  “A toss-up between Campy and Yogi Berra, but we already have a Berra.”  Donny dashes off briefly into his home to fetch the cigar box containing their collection.

“How many cards do you think we have now”, asks Freddie. “Oh we must have at least a hundred”, Donny responds. 

 “And still no Musial”, muses Fred.  

 “Still no 'Stan the Man'.  But the day will come . . .”

“Want some bubble gum?” asks Freddie.  

“Naw”, replies Donny.  “Those flat dry squares are downright dangerous.  The last time I tried a chew I almost slit the roof of my mouth on the corner of that beast.” 

“Yeah, I know what you mean”, replies Fred.  “But I thought I'd ask anyway.”

The boys now lapse into casual chat about cars, ball games, and school.  Eventually, Freddie breaks in excitedly:  “Hey, it's Saturday.  I almost forgot.  Matinee day at the Carrollton Theater.  Another horror film is slated – I think it's called 'The Mole People'.  Plus we get to see the next episode of the weekly serial, 'Rocket Man'!”

“Right you are, Fred”.  

Suddenly, a high-pitched screech splits the humid air:  “Oh, Fred!  Fred-EEEEEEEE!”  It's the unmistakable sound of Freddie's mom calling her son for lunch.  

“I'd better get going, Donny.  I'll see you later around 1:30  That should allow us plenty of time to walk to the show!”

“You bet, Freddie.  See you then.”

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