Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
A Handshake to Last a Lifetime
2008-07-16 10:50
by Alex Belth

I was able to watch a good portion of yesterday's parade up sixth avenue from my office building. Players sat in the back of sparkling Chevy trucks which proceeded slowly from Bryant Park to 57th street. When Hank Aaron's truck stopped in front of my building, I saw a little old lady with a big white hat approach him. She walked right by the police, up to the truck like she came down to the parade to do just one thing. She went right up and shook Aaron's hand. It was brief. Then she walked back to the sidewalk where a small boy was waiting for her.

As she moved away from Aaron, she clenched her fists and shook them over and over again. It was as she was saying, "Yes. I shook the man's hand." I don't know if she had been waiting for years to make that contact but the moment clearly made her day, if not her whole year.

It must be a strange sensation to be a ball player, knowing that your accomplishments mean so much to so many people. I wonder how many of these kinds of encounters an athltete remembers? They must all blur together after awhile. One thing for sure though, that lady will never forget touching Hank Aaron, even it was just for a moment.

2008-07-16 12:44:44
1.   pistolpete
I remember getting to go underneath the Stadium sometime in the mid-80's (had to be 87 or 88 based on BB reference) because my Dad was a cop in the Bronx - he knew several of the officers on duty around the park, that is.

I had this vision in my head of getting to sit in the dugout with some of the fellas, or perhaps getting some batting tips from Donnie Baseball himself.

Instead I had the pleasure of seeing Gary Ward leaning up against a wall, smoking a cigarette. The cop ushering me and my brother around nodded and said, "Hey Gary", and Ward nodded in response.

I was crushed — major league baseball players smoked...?

2008-07-16 13:39:28
2.   AbbyNormal821
Interesting stuff...

There was an HBO special on last night about Mickey Mantle, and people who knew him well said he couldn't understand why people adored & revered him so much, how grown men would walk up to meet him, and they'd be in tears. Such a great man, but wow...such a sad life. I was in tears myself.

2008-07-16 14:10:23
3.   tom yf
Hey Alex, sorry to be nosy but I was just curious...what's your day job?
2008-07-16 16:53:03
4.   OldYanksFan
UNREAL! They got a picture of William at YS last night!
2008-07-16 17:00:19
5.   williamnyy23
4 Very funny. Not exactly my style. That gentleman was actually a soda vendor and he was stopped by several people to take pictures. My better half snapped one or two (among hundreds of other pics, which I'll try to share if possible).
2008-07-16 17:04:10
6.   OldYanksFan
5 You're a good sport.
2008-07-16 17:15:48
7.   Alex Belth
My day job? Nothing thrilling. Enough to pay the bills. I do a lot of counting, which is pretty funny, cause that ain't my natural strength. LOL

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