My father grew up in Philadelphia and talks to me all the time about what baseball was like when he was a young boy. He kept telling me that he still kept his autograph book with some players' autographs (Mickey Mantle!) and some scrapbooks that he put together when he was young. It was time to get out those scrapbooks and write down some of his stories. Whether you've heard similar stories from your dad, grandfather, uncle, mother or grandmother, we all can agree that these nostalgic memories are pretty amazing.
The following memories were written by my father, Edward Murphy. The timeframe was from 1950-1955 in Shibe Park at 21st and Lehigh Avenue in Philadelphia, PA.
"As a young lad raised in Philadelphia at Broad Street and Allegheny Avenue, I lived for the summer time and Major League Baseball. When the gates of the ballpark opened for that day's game, we would be the first into the park. Due to no little leagues at that time, we would benefit by watching the players take infield and batting practice to hone our talents on the field."
"One time during batting practice, my friend caught a foul ball, hit by St. Louis Cardinal Rip Repulski. My friend then wanted Rip Repulski to autograph the ball but there was another St.Louis Cardinal who volunteered to autograph the ball, but my friend said he only wanted Rip Repulski to sign his ball -- in essence, my friend turned down Stan Musial! Another thrill was after the last out of the game, all the kids would run out on the field to run the bases, step on the pitchers mound or run with some of the players as they headed to the dugout. I myself ran in from right field with New York Yankee right fielder, Hank Bauer, and I even stretched my arm out to touch his wool uniform. These are just a few things that made my summer days!"
"In my baseball years, the majority of teams were on the east coast and traveled by train. After playing the A's, the Yanks would go to the North Philly railroad station for their train. I lived several blocks from the station and I would catch the team waiting on the platform and there I got some great autographs -- Casey Stengel, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin, Allie Reynolds, Whitey Ford, Phil Rizzuto, Vic Raschi, Hank Bauer."
"Gone are the days when you could catch a double header for the price of a single game. Boyhood memories of baseball never die!"
Thanks, Dad, for sharing your memories with me and Mitchell & Ness!