The question has been asked on multiple blogs, but it is always very relevant and quite interesting…
Why did you become a fan of your favorite baseball team?
Often, it’s simply geography or a family’s passion that is passed from generation to generation. But other times, there are deeper, individual reasons for why we follow certain teams.
I have always been quick to say that I became a Yankees fan on December 31, 1974. That’s the day Oakland A’s free-agent pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter signed a 5-year, $3.75 million contract with the Yankees.
Walter Iooss Jr/SI
The early 70’s were a great time to be an A’s fan, and I was on the bandwagon like all my friends. But I was starting to get older and had gained a better awareness and understanding of baseball. After some careful thought, I decided to follow Hunter to New York in terms of my loyalty and support. I was immediately captivated by the personalities on the Yankees roster, and Billy Martin was quickly my all-time favorite manager. Thurman Munson became my idol, and I can still remember the magic and excitement when Chris Chambliss hit the game winning home run in the 1976 ALCS against the Kansas City Royals (I remember watching his foot placement in the batter’s box and feeling that something huge was about to happen).
New York Daily News
I remember my mom was getting tired of me telling her that Reggie Jackson had hit another home run in the 1977 World Series, and sadly, I remember exactly where I was on August 2, 1979.
Yet, when I think about why I was attracted to the Yankees, it really happened much earlier. When I was about 7 or 8, I read a book about Lou Gehrig.
At the time, I was just starting to become aware of Major League baseball. I was drawn to the history and aura of the game. I “discovered” pro football first, but baseball quickly passed football as my true love. Today, Lou Gehrig is my personal all-time hero, and hence, the source of the name for my blog.
“I’m not a headline guy. I know that as long as I was following Babe Ruth to the plate I could have stood on my head and no one would have known the difference.”
There are multiple meanings in this quote for me personally. Not only does it pay homage to the great class and character of Lou Gehrig, but it also recognizes that I am among greatness at MLBlogs with so many outstanding writers.
I have always been drawn to the history of the Yankees, so I think the book about Gehrig set the stage for my conversion from an A’s fan to a Yankees fan a few years later.
A very moving article to read is the “This Morning with Shirley Povich” column that appeared in the Washington Post on July 5, 1939. The Washington Senators played a double-header against the Yankees on July 4th, and Gehrig gave his immortal farewell speech between games.
Yankees manager Joe McCarthy made the following statement at the mike that day while openly crying: “Lou, what else can I say except that it was a sad day in the life of everybody who knew you when you came to my hotel room that day in Detroit and told me you were quitting as a ball player because you felt yourself a hindrance to the team. My God, man, you were never that.”
I think that quote alone can sum up why I feel that Lou Gehrig was such a special person…
The Senators won the first game, 3-2, but the Yankees came back to win the second game, 11-1, after Gehrig’s farewell.
This is an excellent tribute to Lou…
Who would have known it would set me on a collision course against Julia of Julia’s Rants? 😉