Chili Davis 1, King Classic 0

I haven’t done one of these in a while, but I figured this would be a good one to share in light of tomorrow.

August 21, 1996
Angels 7, Yankees 1

August of ’96 was a hot, humid month in New Jersey.  My summer vacation (which I worked through) was nearing an end, and by this point,  my father (King Classic) , brother (t-shirt boy) and I watched every Yankees game, hoping that this year’s run in first place would surpass the previous summer’s wild card finish.

Even though the team slumped in August, our hopes were high.  We had been to a few games earlier that year (the last year before we got the Sunday ticket plan) and my father wanted to go to the last day game before I had to go back to school- a mid-Wednesday affair against the Angels (then from simply “California”).

There was a back to school promotion going on, with all kids 14 and under getting a Yankees pencil case (containing pencils, a ruler, pencil sharpener and a few other things).  Even though I was going into my second year of college and was much taller than your average 14-year-old, the gate attendants gave me a pencil case, which I had until a few years ago.

Unfortunately, aside from a Derek Jeter home run in the bottom of the first, the Yankees’ offense wasn’t able to make it to the Stadium that day.  Even though they managed 10 hits in six innings against Jason Dickson (making his first Major League start) and another three against relievers Mike Holtz and Troy Percival, they weren’t able to bring anyone else home.

Even though the game ended up being a Yankees loss, the highlight for the day wasn’t in Derek Jeter’s home run. Nor was it in the five runs the Angels tacked on in the top of the ninth.  Instead, in that first inning, as the Angels scored their first two runs, something happened that changed us (well, more accurately, King Classic) in a deep and profound way from that day forward.

Our tickets were in the left field stands.  We were a few sections to the left of the fair pole, with King Classic sitting in the aisle seat, me the third seat in and t-shirt boy in between us. In the first, with Jimmy Key pitching for the Yankees and Gary Disarcina on first, Chili Davis hit a long fly ball that was headed our way.  It cleared the outfield wall by about 20 feet and the rest of the stadium booed as he and Disarcina rounded the bases to score the Angels’ first two runs of the game.  The ball was still headed our way, and mostly everyone in the section was on their feet, trying to be in position to catch the ball.

No one caught it.  The ball hit the concrete, proceeds to ricochet off the concrete and hits the one person not standing up for the home run ball in the arm.

My father.

After being hit by the home run ball, King Classic uttered something along the lines as “what was that?” while t-shirt boy and I laughed at him.

Someone else got the ball, but t-shirt boy and I walked away with something that will keep us laughing.

Happy father’s day, King Classic.

Published by

7 thoughts on “Chili Davis 1, King Classic 0

  1. It’s time that the whole truth be told about this episode. It should be noted that both King Tom and the t-shirt boy were wearing baseball gloves at the time the homerun ball came spiraling at record speed into the stands–destined to hurt somebody–with my name on it. King Tom and the t-shirt boy wanted nothing to do with the ball exploding in their direction and turned away from it instead of boldly stepping in front of me and saving their father from sure harm. Honestly, this story has become a family memory that still is a pleasure to relive and the ball gets faster and bigger as the years go by.

  2. For the record, I did not have a glove on me that day.

    And I was the third one in…hardly a chance to jump through the crowd and take one for the family.

  3. LOL It’s father-son banter like that that lets everyone know that day at the ballpark really meant something. A very touching moment. Father-son bonding at its best.

  4. there are only two things i remember about that day, and they conflict with both of your stories. first, it was jim edmonds who hit the home run. second, i reached out to catch the ball (i was wearing a glove) but a particular attendee’s protruding stomach rendered my effort futile.

Comments are closed.