In my first season of hardball, I stole over 10 bases. But I took walks rather than swing for hits. Afraid to swing and afraid to strike out, that was me. And despite my best efforts, I cried each time I struck out. There was a lot of crying. I finally swung for the fences in the last game of the season and managed to foul off two pitches before I went down again on strikes. When the game was won, my first base coach, who had caught at least one of my foul balls with his bare hands, pretended to be in pain. The kid who batted .000 had “stung” the ball foul. Nice touch.
Turns out our team, Laird & Son Ltd., on which I, with my December 29 birthday, was the youngest player, was so good it managed to carry a non-swinging right fielder all the way to the finals. We won the Atom Baseball League Championship, and I hit two foul balls.
Strangely, the Leaside Baseball Association gave out no trophies that year.
But after every well played game, our team tore across Trace Manes Park like a pack of wild dogs to the corner store for big freezies and pops, paid for by one of the coaches. That run across the field is one of my fondest little league memories.