Yesterday at the Katy Heritage Festival, May 5, 2012, the Houston Babies vintage base ball club proved to be the “Sinkhole de Mayo” for the other two teams participating in the round robin tourney. The Babies took the 10:00 AM opener, 8-6, in one extra inning of vintage ball play over the host Katy Combine and then took a lunch break while the Katy nine stayed on the field to play the visiting Boerne White Sox.
In the 12:00 Noon second contest, the Katy Combine rallied home spirit by coming all the way back from an 0-7 hole to take an 8-7 win over the Boerne nine.
The Babies then returned to play the 2:00 PM game against the Boerne White Sox, taking an 8-5 victory that was ,measurably helped by a last time up for Boerne double play from Danny Kramer in center on a one bounce fly and a relay throw to and from Alex Hajduk at shortstop to catcher Mike McCroskey at catcher for a sure-handed catch and tag on the Boerne runner attempting to score. McCroskey may miss a few of those hot shots down the third base line that buzz his season ticket location at Minute Maid Park, but he catches them when they count in Babies games. Several batters and one final Boerne run later, Babies third baseman Bill Hale found the adrenalin energy for one last chase and catch of a one-bounce final out on a looping foul ball down the left line beyond third. The Babies (2-0) had taken the day over the two fine clubs from Katy (1-1) and Boerne (0-2).
A good time was had by almost all.
Unfortunately, the day was marred by the scary collapse of Peggy Dorrill, the wife of Babies Manager Bob Dorrill, shortly into the second inning of the second Babies game. Peg had been felled by the high heat and humidity, forcing the Dorrills to leave early for safety’s sake. You don’t mess around with the potential for heat stroke once you see the kind of reaction that Peggy apparently had in Saturday’s dipping-into-the-90s weather. The Babies responded by winning another one, but this one was especially dedicated to Peggy Dorrill and her loyal husband prince of a thousand years, Bob “The Gipper” Dorrill. Get well, Peg! And stay cool and hydrated!
Because I lost access to the scorecard when the Dorrills departed when Peggy went down, I’m unable to bring you line item scoring and a lot of detailed data on all performances, but there was one performance by a Babies player that went way beyond the need for written transcription. Our wonderful 70 years plus aged second baseman, Phil Holland, who already plays the game like a man thirty years younger, went on an amazing tear at the plate. Holland was a perfect 8 for 8 on the day, going 5 for 5 in the first contest nd keeping the club in the game while some their bats rested. He was finally retired on a sac fly in his ninth time up on the day, but his RBI in that case pushed across a critical run and left the door open for two others that followed.
As per usual, Alex Hajduk stung the ball hard on the day and, this time, little brother Zac Hajduk was on hand with a pretty good hammer of his own. Longball Miggins, Bill Hale, Kyle Burns, all also made their own contributions – and Miggins, of course, was his usual wounded warrior, but always stand up, diving defensive gemologist in the field.
“Daddy Long Day” needs to be the new nickname for pitcher Larry Hajduk. Larry pitched every toss in every inning of both games, adding two more wins to his career vintage ball pitching record – and doing it all without complaint that his arm would occasionally fall off and force yet another timeout for attachment in the right shoulder socket.
Thanks, Larry, for being the hearty soul from Buffalo you have always been, Larry’s late life greatness as a vintage ball hurler is proof again of a wonderful quote by 19th century British writer George Eliot. The same application here also belongs to Phil Holland, Mike McCroskey, Larry Joe Miggins, Bob Stephens, Bill Hale, and all our other long-of-tooth Babies.
Eliot put it this way: “It is never too late to become the person you might have been.”
If it were nothing else, and it is much more, vintage base ball is the opportunity to recapture the hopes and dreams of the sandlot in real-time – and to put in motion all those things we may still do, in addition to baseball, for the creative joy of living our time through all the life cells that still comprise who we are, now and forever, until the day we die.
Writer John Lomax and photographer Danny Kramer, both of The Houston Press, were also on hand Saturday in preparation for a feature story on vintage base ball that they are planning for their paper this coming summer. Along the way, the reporters accepted our invitation to suit up and play for the Babies in Game Two. For those of you who are wondering about professional boundaries disappearing here, forget about it. This was not the first time The Houston Press has demonstrated its ability to take sides.
Thanks for the coverage, guys! All of Houston Area vintage base ball needs and appreciates the support of The Press.
Two more notes: It was the initial throw from center by Danny Kramer that sparked the game-saving double play in the final frame against Boerne in the second game, and not Kyle Burns as we originally reported. My apologies to both men for the reporting error. The mistake was brought to m attention by first sacker Larry Joe Miggins, not the modest Mr. Kramer. Miggins even retrieved the now included photo of what happened to Danny’s knee on the same play. After catching the ball for a one-bounce out, Kramer apparently slipped, either retrieving or throwing the game-saver, thus giving up his own blood for the noble cause of victory in behalf of the Houston Babies. – And that brings me to point number two:
You see, we have learned that kind of play he made for us is in his bloodline. The Houston Press photographer and Houston Babies center fielder in Game Two last Saturday that was Danny Kramer just happens also to be the son of Green Bay Packers Team Hall of Fame guard Jerry Kramer of the Vince Lombardi era.
Oh My Gosh, Mr. Kramer!
The Houston Babies owe you a debt of gratitude, sir, gratitude for being the kind of man you are – and for playing the only kind of game that Kramers play – the all out brand.
Thanks too to everyone in Katy that made yesterday’s great fun in the Combine City possible. And thanks to the Boerne White Sox too for coming all the over to Katy from the Greater San Antonio area to make our three-team tourney possible.
Also, stay tuned for upcoming news about the next appearance of the Houston Babies at the George Ranch near Sugar Land sometime around the Fourth of July. That activity will take place only if the Babies club members are willing to commit themselves to it on what will likely be another “hot as a firecracker” Independence Day period on the Houston area heat clock. Be on the lookout for further word to players from Babies Manager Bob Dorrill.
CLOSING ON A UNIFORM DESIGN FASHION NOTE …
Based upon what she saw in a first run prototype of the late 19th century alternate Babies road uniform I featured here yesterday, an old friend I’ll just call “Sue” suggested the baby diaper would look better with some baseball stitches. Well, here’s how it looks with stitches and the nickname “Babies” added as angled script.
Thanks for the remedy, Sweet Sue! And have a nice Sunday.
Tags: Houston Babies