Rain, Rain Go Away

Wednesday night’s Game Four of the World Series was a rainout. Play will hopefully resume today, which means we’ll be listening to the game on the radio, at night, as we travel to Arkansas to visit my alma mater Harding University (Hail!).

I’ve always enjoyed driving at night and having my pick from seemingly hundreds of radio stations whose signals skip across the lower atmosphere from sea to shining sea. Although my overly visually-stimulated sons would disagree, there’s something particularly dramatic and exciting about listening to a baseball game on the radio, especially at night. Without the visual cues, one is left to fill in the gaps, and radio announcers tend to be very expressive and excitable as they call the play-by-play and react histrionically to home runs and 6-4-3 double plays.

Listening to baseball games on the radio at night is old school. And, as you’ve read here before, old school is most definitely cool.

My blast-from-the-past tour of our baseball card album wouldn’t be complete without mention of another team that holds a special place in my heart–the Pittsburgh Pirates. Although I never rooted for the Pirates, Pittsburgh wasn’t that far away from Southwest Virginia and there were a fair number of their supporters in my neck of the woods. In addition, Pittsburgh’s single-A farm club in those days was the Carolina League’s Salem Pirates. I recall going with my dad to Salem’s Municipal Field in the late 1960s and early 70s and seeing quite a few future Pittsburgh stars pass through, including outfielder Dave Parker. Here’s his 1974 Topps rookie card:


Although Parker has yet to be elected to the Hall of Fame, he did produce numbers that are comparable to other inductees. He went on to play for the Cincinnati and several other teams before finally retiring with the Angels in 1991. He currently owns several Popeye’s Fried Chicken franchises in Cincinnati.

But the most beloved Pirate of all time was, without a doubt, Roberto Clemente. Clemente played right field for the Pirates from 1955-1972, had a lifetime batting average of .317, rapped out exactly 3000 hits, was National League MVP in 1966 and a key player on the Pirates 1971 World Series Champion team.

Clemente, a native Puerto Rican, was killed in a plane crash on December 31, 1972 while en route to deliver relief supplies and food to the victims of an earthquake in Nicaragua. His body was never found.

He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame posthumously in 1973 in what has been so far the only exception made to the mandatory five-year post-retirement waiting period. In 2002, he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the two highest civilian awards in the United States.

Here’s a Kelloggs 3-D card of Clemente from 1970:


Eyegal has this one, his Topps Card from 1971, the year the Pirates won the World Series:


And finally his final Topps card from 1973, the year after he died:


I hope you’ve enjoyed the peek into our baseball card album. Now back to the real Cards. May it be a weekend to remember.

Go Redbirds!

  1. Jon

    Do you follow I40 to Little Rock and go up 67 or do you cut across throught Earle and Wynne to Balk Knob and down to Searcy?

    Hope you enjoy the endless rice and cotton fields.

    Go Tigers!?

  2. Mike the Eyeguy

    I’m a Route 64 kind of guy–old school all the way.

    Since it will be dark, I will miss seeing all the rice and cotton.

    Go Tigers(????) indeed.

  3. greg

    You left out McCrory, home town of yours truly. It’s between Wynne and Augusta on 64, but don’t blink or you’ll miss it. Then again, if it’s dark, you’ll likely miss it even if you don’t blink…

    Is homecoming this week? Is that why you’re coming over? I thought maybe I’d heard it was, but maybe that was a previous week. Anyway, I won’t be there regardless. I haven’t been to homecoming since 94, I believe, despite living here in Little Rock for most of those years since. Although we did go up on Friday night last year for the play. Since my parents are in Searcy now, we go up there every now and then anyway, and were just up in August. I marvel each time at the differences between the current campus and the way it was in 1990 when I left.

    Hope you have a safe trip. If you make your way through Little Rock, let me know…

  4. Mike the Eyeguy


    It is Homecoming, but the main reason we’re going is to give Number One another look-see, only this time while school is in session.

    Come on up for the game on Saturday. Wear a Duke shirt and I’ll know who you are.

  5. Jon

    Ah, yes McCrory forgot about that one. Took a wrong turn there once on my way to Memphis and ended up around Marked Tree.

  6. Mike the Eyeguy

    If you hang a right at Earle, you end up at Marked Tree, which would be one seriously messed-up turn.

  7. Jason Bybee

    Clemente is one of my all-time favorite players. Beyond being a world-class athlete, he was a true humanitarian. I’m thankful Major League Baseball honors him with an annual humanitarian award. Love the cards (and the Cards!). Here’s hoping the rain doesn’t deny us another evening of World Series baseball. Go Cards, baby!

  8. Mike the Eyeguy


    Go Cards!

  9. Keith

    Great pics of Clemente. I idolized him growing up and had his glove playing little league. Does Eckstein not look like he’s swinging a telephone pole at the plate? The dude was the MVP of tonight’s game with some big hits and steady field play, and he looks like a boy scout. Love the guy. Maybe you’ll get to catch the Cards on a student center TV as they hopefully wrap things up friday night. Have fun. Going to watch the Hogs in the Rock Saturday. Go Bisons

  10. Mike the Eyeguy

    I have tickets to “Fiddler on the Roof” for Friday night.

    Decisions, decisons…

  11. Ed

    You mentioned one of my favorite hobbies from years ago – listening to the radio while driving cross country. I have picked up some interesting stations over the years: supernatural investigation, live action dinner theater, human sexuality, etc. However, seems like most of my listening was done in the wee hours of the morning. The middle son and I just returned from the mountains and I have to report, good or bad, that I didn’t have the radio on a single time. We we’re locked into XM for the entire trip. The old radio shows from the 40’s and Card’s baseball were our fav channels.

  12. Mike the Eyeguy

    Did you listen to “The Shadow?”

    “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?”

    “The Shadow knows.”

    My Dad loved that one.

  13. Ed

    We heard the Shadow, Green Hornet, Marlowe, Abbott and Costello, Bob Hope Show, and Suspense. Good stuff.

  14. Mike the Eyeguy

    I may have to check into XM.

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