Today's thoughts

Category: Sherm Lollar (Page 1 of 5)

Chicago White Sox Catcher

Old Sport Shorts: Favorites #1463

Baseball and cold pizza, two of my current favorites, came together for lunch yesterday, before the yard work started. The White Sox were up against the higher-seeded A’s and playing on their home turf. I’ve never been a fan of the once Kansas City now Oakland A’s, but since childhood the White Sox have always been my favorite. Catcher Sherm Lollar has perpetuated this relationship since 1959. Granted, I’ve strayed to the Cubs at times when they were winning, following suit with my son and dad. I’ve been fortunate to see both Chicago favorites first-hand in World Series victories. 

Lucas Giolito pitched seven innings of perfect baseball and the Sox bats were hot in a 4-1 victory. The lucky socks proved their worth. Today, I’ll wear a Cubs sock on one foot and the Sox sock on the other, hoping for the Chicago sweep. There will be no fans to interfere with any Marlin foul balls, reminiscent of Steve Bartman in 2003, so there should be no excuses for anything less than a Cubbies “W” at Wrigley.   

I do have a busy today with a second moving estimate, Cubs & Sox baseball, dinner to cook. and the first game of the NBA Finals, in addition to the eight televised MLB playoff games. LeBron has oddly become a basketball favorite of mine, even though he’s never played for the teams I support, with the exception of the Olympics. Part of this is the lack of respect he gets, especially from Michael Jordan fans. In my opinion, they are equal greats from separate eras. Comparisons are unfair, especially considering that there wasn’t nearly as much free agency in the Jordan era and contact rules were vastly different. 

While championship match-ups were being determined in baseball and basketball, the Tampa Bay Lightning claimed their second Stanley Cup title. I’ve officially adopted them since we now own property in Florida, along with the Rays, Buccaneers, and Rowdies. Having now owned homes in six states, I’ve amassed quite a collection of teams, improving my chances to win something…anything. Chicago is still my favorites sports town, with the exception of the Bulls. Michigan teams don’t count. The Portland Trailblazes have now replaced the Pacers as my favorite NBA team. When it comes to college football, I lean to the Texas Longhorns and Oregon Ducks, even though my pigskin favorite will always be the hapless Indiana Hoosiers. Soccer favs are the MLS Portland Timbers and Indiana University, while my vote for college baseball goes to the Oregon State Beavers. College basketball is hands down Indiana, as well. I do enjoy sports of all kinds and genders, but do not have as strong of allegiances. I also know the teams and players I hate in any given league – but this is all about favorites. 

I still have fond memories of watching a White Sox playoff game back in 1983 from a motel room in Indianapolis. I was down there from Ft. Wayne on an overnight business trip and played hooky for the afternoon game. It was players like LaMarr Hoyt, Floyd Bannister, Harold Baines, Carlton Fisk, and Ron Kittle, as I check the memory banks of Wikipedia. Tony LaRussa was the coach of this team that won their division and made it to the American League Championship, losing to the Orioles after winning the first game of a series of five. The Orioles went on to win the World Series. It was the first time the Sox were in the postseason since the 1959 World Series, featuring for me a home run by Sherm Lollar. They wore the patriotic uniforms with SOX in block letters on a blue stripe, trimmed in red, across the chest. They’ve brought them out on several occasions this year – one of my least favorite looks!

2008 was the last White Sox postseason win, falling 3 games to 1 against the Rays in the opening series. They did win the division that year. The team featured Ozzie Guillen, Jermaine Dye, Ken Griffey, Jr., Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, Nick Swisher, John Danks, and Mark Buehrle, along with Manager Ozzie Guillen. The Sox were eliminated on the day I started work in Austin, Texas, one of my least favorite jobs. 

 

Old Sport Shorts: Sherm Lives-On #1439

I got a surprise e-mail the other day and was pleased to find out that there are people who take the time to read what I write. There are indeed rewards to my ramblings other than just personal therapy.

I came across your blog earlier today and wanted to drop you a note. Sherm Lollar was my grandfather. Much like you, I never met him but he’s a hero of mine. Guess I just want to say thanks for your kind words. And I need to know more about your Sherm Lollar t-shirt.”

When I first began writing a letter to the Baseball Hall of Fame regarding John Sherman Lollar, (See Post #5), I reached out to one of his sons through Messenger. Kevin was a career writer, so I felt he should review my first draft, offering some great suggestions. I was relieved that he didn’t write me off as some star-struck baseball lunatic.

Kevin is my uncle. I forwarded your blog links to my dad as well. He loved your ‘Ode to Sherm’ (See Post #1189).   I look forward to seeing pics of your memorabilia.”

Several years have now passed and I’ve written several tributes to my baseball hero as a component of my daily diary that covers running, sports, adoption, retirement, travel, poetry, and pets. It’s an important part of my retirement routine that anymore keeps me sane in these pandemic times.

It’s crazy how a person I’ve never met has become such a personal influence. The closest I’ve ever gotten to him was a seat at Comiskey Park, where I watched several White Sox games as a child. His #10 was barely visible from the cheap seats, let alone his face.  His was the first card I usually searched for in a fresh pack of Topps cards. His jersey digits became mine in any sport I poorly played, and continues to be my lucky number.

I get daily memorabilia notifications from E-Bay and auction houses on items pertaining to Sherm’s career. I buy what I can afford and keep a scrapbook of his cards, photos, and accomplishments. I’m glad to have a contact with his family because my collection will mean little to my heirs.

It’s doubtful that Sherm will ever become a Hall-of-Famer, although the White Sox organization has honored him as one of their greatest. There are too many catchers that have been slighted by the Cooperstown committees that don’t seem to recognize defensive and leadership achievements. He was one of the best defenders in the game and a skilled field general. I would challenge modern-day players to be as effective using the cumbersome, heavy gear he was forced to wear, and the poorly padded mitt designs of yesteryear. Sherm indeed lives-on in my office and in the hearts of his family. 

                                      

 

Old Sport Shorts: Lollar 10 #1419

A friend sent me an early birthday present. It’s a custom mug made from a hollowed-out baseball bat and engraved, “Michael L Johnston #1 fan of John Sherman ‘Sherm’ Lollar, Jr.” It also has the Sox logo on the barrel. It’s made by Dugout Mugs, a division of the Thompson Mug Company. I don’t know if I’m Sherm’s biggest fan, especially since he still has family, but I continue to recognize his achievements when most people have forgotten. 

I have a substantial collection of his memorabilia, including a 1955 game-worn jersey, catcher’s mask, cups, glassware, pins, postcards, ball, newspaper clippings, press photos, autographs, and baseball cards. Until somebody proves me wrong, I will continue to boast of the largest collection in the world. The new mug and “Sherm Freakin’ Lollar” t-shirt that I occasionally wear make my collection unique. I’ve also written a letter to the Hall of Fame committee on his behalf. 

August 23rd would have been Sherm’s 96th birthday. He died at age 53. Sherm Lollar was behind the plate for 18 seasons with four different teams – Indians, Yankees, Browns, and White Sox. He was a member of the “Go-Go Sox” who played in the 1959 World Series. I became a fan as a young boy of eight, watching him hit a home run against the Dodgers on black & white TV. His number 10 became my lucky number. When I joined a baseball card club here in Portland about 5-years ago, the other members asked me what I wanted to collect. I said I would start by getting any items associated with Sherm Lollar. At least, it was an affordable hobby, unlike the pricey Mickey Mantle cards. I’m now known in those circles as the “Sherm Guy.” (See Post #1328).

Sherm was apparently a quiet, humble man. We shared big ears and little else. I never got to meet him, but saw him play many times in Chicago throughout the years. He always seemed to be upstaged by Berra from the minute that Yogi replaced him in the Yankee’s starting line-up back in 194 7. His on-base percentage was actually better than Yogi’s, and he was a much better defensive back-stop, but cavernous Comiskey Park where Lollar spent most of his career was not designed with hitters in mind, unlike the Yankee right field porch that favored the lefty Berra. Sherm earned 7 All-Star selections and was the first catcher to receive a Golden Glove. His lifetime .9921 fielding percentage is ranked 60th all-time for catchers, but he played more games with a primitive equipment handicap than anyone else on the list. I have some of that gear in my collection and it amazes me that he could maintain that level of play with little padding, a smaller mitt, and bulky, heavy body protection.

Sherm Lollar’s playing career ended with a fractured thumb in 1963. I have a ticket stub from that game on September 7th. He went on to coach for the World Champion Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics, plus managed the Iowa Oaks and Tucson Toro’s before retirement. He earned two World Series rings in the process. I maintain a scrapbook of his career, along with other White Sox greats. Lollar is buried in Rivermonte Memorial Gardens in Springfield, Missouri. Happy Birthday – Sherm!

Old Sport Shorts: Hooray Opening Day #1391

It’s finally here – Opening Day. I last wrote about it (See Post #1306) almost three months ago, wondering if it would ever happen? There was originally talks of an Arizona bubble where all the teams would stay and play in one place. Instead, the stadiums are open to the players but not the public. I watched a few of the Summer Camp games these past few weeks in empty venues, just glad to have something live on TV. There’s no “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” the only option is to tune in. I may resort back to childhood and listen on the radio. With a few sound effects, it will seem no different than 1955. 

The defending World Series Champion Washington Nationals will play the Yankees tonight on the east coast, while the Dodgers meet the Giants in the west. That’s pretty good social distancing. Tomorrow the Cubs start their 60-game journey against the Brewers at empty Wrigley Field. With half a season, every game is worth twice as much! I got in the spirit earlier this week with a trip to my baseball card guy’s house. A couple of items were added to my Sherm Lollar collection, speaking of 1955 baseball. Plus, some catching equipment from that era. Above all, it was good to talk with another avid baseball fan – it’s great to see anyone – period – in these troubled times. 

I’ll soon be living next to a Spring Training venue in Florida, as I think back to the cancellation of the March games in Phoenix. I did get a credit for my tickets to those games. I also received autographed cards from Topps for Kris Bryant (Cubs) and Luis Robert (White Sox) after being shorted on my Opening Day lineup purchase. All in all, it was a rough start to the season, but all is now right. We’ll finally hear the words “Play Ball,” following a four month delay in the action. It’s the first season to ever start in July. I’ll tune in for the first pitch. Hooray – it’s Opening Day!

Old Sport Shorts: Sherm Lollar Guy #1328

In these times of no baseball or other popular sports, it’s important to savor the past and why a silly game has so much personal meaning. I blame it on my dad, taking me to games as a kid. High school basketball in our hometown, Notre Dame football, and occasional trips to Chicago for the Cubs or White Sox were bonding moments for us. I used the same magic on my son. I can remember fiddling with the TV antenna to watch a game with either of them, although we had an electronic rotor by the time I became an adult. It sure beat aluminum foil or climbing up on the roof. My son also got to see NBA and college basketball, NFL football, auto racing, and soccer with me. We still share an interest in baseball cards, but he’s more for the Cubs than my White Sox.

My dad started as a Tigers fan, but eventually became a die-hard Cubs supporter. As a grandfather, he lured my son to the Cubs side. I had no choice but to play along, although my loyalties still lie with the Sox. It all comes down to one man, that I’ve never met, but a childhood memory keeps our relationship strong. In the 1959 World Series in glorious black & white, Sherm Lollar hit a home run against the Dodgers, and even though they lost the war, it was at least a battle won, and a lifelong attraction to the number 10 that he wore on his back. 

Some may joke that I’m still obsessed with this man who has been dead for 43 years. I did see him play when my dad took me several times to Comiskey Park, and still know the line-up of those White Sox teams of the 60’s. It wasn’t for another 46 years before they got back the World Series and actually won. I was there for two of the games in the sweep of 4. It’s too bad Sherm couldn’t have been around. Cancer took him at the early age of 53. Although, he did get a World Series ring in New York before he joined the Sox, and one more with the Orioles as the bullpen coach. It’s also a shame that more catchers have not been voted as Hall-Of-Famers, because they are the heart & soul leaders of any team. The glory always goes to the pitcher. Unfortunately, I don’t think he will ever get the defensive credit that he’s long overdue. 

I’m not a wealthy man that can spend a lot of money on baseball cards and memorabilia. They were like gold to me growing up, even though I abused a few Yankees on my bicycle spokes. If I had extra money, I would spend it at the neighborhood store on bubble gum packs and trade the duplicates with my friends. As a retiree, I reverted back to childhood and joined a group of collectors, knowing that I couldn’t compete with their high-priced Mickey Mantles or Ty Cobbs. Fortunately, for me Sherm Lollar was not on the Cooperstown wall and therefore his cards were relatively affordable. As it turns out, however, there were hundreds of them made by various manufacturers over his 28 years of playing and coaching, not to mention photos, articles, ticket stubs, yearbooks, score cards, cartoon likenesses, promotional items, and ads. He was even a Trivial Pursuit question, beanie pin, card game, and coin.  Sadly, he never got his own bobble-head or figurine, but there were glasses, plastic cups, mitts, catcher’s masks, and stamps bearing his likeness and/or signature. At the end of his career he owned a bowling alley, and provided a post card for patrons to get his signature. I was able to secure one of these, after his nephew sold some of his personal collection. 

I have Sherm Lollar’s signature on cards, photos, scraps of paper, and baseballs. My rarest find is his uniform #10 from the first four games of 1956. It’s hard to imagine that I’ve spent over $4,000 on items that mean little to anyone but me. I will probably never recover that investment even if he somehow gets into the Hall. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much of a movement on his behalf. I care for his memory and family, but I could have never gathered so much of his past on my limited budget. Granted, there are famous teammates and fellow All-Stars of his on some items, adding to their value. I have him in photos along side of Yogi Berra, Bill Verdon, Al Lopez, Marty Marion, Minnie Minoso, Early Wynn, Frank Hayes, to mention a few. 

Over the past month, with little to do, I’ve added to to my Sherm Lollar collection, that has to be one of the largest in existence. A photo of him with Billy Pierce showing off #10, another with Frank and Brooks Robinson, plus a couple of magazine pictures have been recently added to my bulging notebook. A 1960 ticket stub, a team photo from the 1951 St. Louis Browns, and a couple additional magazine clippings are in the mail. Within reason, I’ve vowed to add whatever I can, because within my circle of fellow collectors, that I have been separated from during months of social distancing,  I’m known as the “Sherm Lollar Guy” and have the t-shirt to prove it!

Old Sport Shorts: The Numbers Game #1292

I did feel like an “Old Sport” in my running “Shorts” this morning, dragging a sore left leg and extra weight on top of my concrete-like feet. It was slow going on Day #4129 of “The Streak,” thinking of how much longer I’ll be able to maintain this daily routine. I think this viral threat has aged me both physically and mentally. It’s hard to get going every day in a fight against an enemy we can’t see coming. Some of my favorite past-times have been taken away in the process, including basketball and baseball just for starters. As I mourn the lack of sports in my life, I at least wanted to write about it today!

To think I was on my way to Spring Training and in anticipation of March Madness when this whole pandemic started. The hotel where we were staying would soon empty and the restaurants began to slowly shut-down. We got on a plane to fly back, leary of what was to come in the way of self-quarantine, social distancing, and protective gear. My reality was the fact that all sports stopped when at first play was restricted to just fans. At least, we’d be able to watch on TV, but instead we’re stuck on re-play. Out of habit, I continue to check the ESPN app, but unfortunately there’s little to report. 

I did run across Tim Kurkjian’s article about baseball uniform numbers and the greatest players in history to wear each one. It struck me because as a kid I was drawn to #10 when it came time to pick a uniform. It was because of my catching hero Sherm Lollar of the Chicago White Sox. I have his 1955 uniform in my collection, along with lots of cards, pictures, and stories about his career. I would imagine that many other kids made similar decisions in Little League based on their favorites

#10 in the article was assigned to Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves, a top-four Hall of Fame third baseman. He was born as I turned twenty-one. Sherm sadly died five years later. I’m sure there are those that adopted #10 based on Chipper’s popularity. Sherm, I’m sure was far down the list of those wearing the number, since he will probably never inducted into the Cooperstown Club. Chipper’s #10 was ceremoniously retired by the Braves, while infielder Yoan Moncada currently wears it for the White Sox. Sparky Anderson, Dick Howser, Phil Rizzuto, Ron Santo, Tony LaRussa, Tom Kelly, and Michael Young all wore #10 and were honored by their respective teams by not allowing others to ever wear it again. Howser, Kelly, and Young have yet to be inducted nationally. 

Kurkjiun reported that the Yankees were the first to put numbers on the back on their jerseys starting in 1929. “The numbers often corresponded to where the player hit the batting order, which is how Babe Ruth ended up with No. 3 and Lou Gehrig No. 4.” Other Yankees secured their place in numbers history with Derek Jeter #2, Joe DiMaggio #5, Mickey Mantle #7, Sherm’s rival Yogi Berra #8, Alex Rodriguez #13, Whitey Ford #16, and Roy Campanella #39. Many of my childhood baseball peers fought over Mickey and Yogi’s numbers, while #10 was usually always available. 

Some kids wanted to be #1 like Ozzie Smith or #6 Stan Musial, particularly if they were Cardinals’ fans. #17 Dizzy Dean and the Gaslight Gang was slightly before my time. If you were a Reds’ fan, Barry Larkin #11 or controversial Pete Rose #14 were probably your top uniform choices. Ted Williams wore #9 while Red Sox traitor to the Yankees Johnny Damon #18, Tony Gwynn claims #20, Roberto Clemente #21,Clayton Kershaw #22, “Say Hey” Willie Mays #24, Barry Bonds #25, Wade Boggs #26, and Mike Trout #27. They are each Hall-of-Famers on Kurkjian’s list. With the current trends in free-agency, it’s more challenging for a player to retain the same number throughout their career, particularly if it’s retired by the team they join. Big bucks have also been rumored to change hands during team transitions since the number is part of a player’s brand. 

In the higher ranges of uniform numbers, everyone wears No. 42 on Jackie Robinson Day. Hank Aaron wore #44 on his back, Nolan Ryan #30, Greg Maddux #31, and Sandy Kolfax #32. If you were into base-running speed you might crave the number 35 of Ricky Henderson fame. Orel Hershiser owns #55, the highest number on this particular list.  Other pitchers like Goose Gossage chose #54, Don Drysdale #53, CC Sabathia #52, Randy Johnson #51, J.R. Richard #50, Hoyt Wilhelm #49, Tom Glavine #47, Lee Smith #46, Bob Gibson #45, Dennis Eckersley #43, Bartolo Colon #40, Curt Schilling #38, spit-baller Gaylord Perry #36, and Tom Seaver #41. 

I’ve been skipping around quite a bit on the ESPN list with preference given to some of my more familiar favorites. For the record, these are all great players, with just a few yet to gain Hall-of-Fame status. The best defensive second-baseman in his opinion was #12 Roberto Alomar, Carlos Beltran tops those wearing #15, followed by #20 Mike Schmidt, #23 Ryne Sandberg of the Cubs, Bert Blyleven #28, Rod Carew #29, Eddie Murray #33, Big Papi, David Ortiz #34, Keith Hernandez #37, and last but not least Torii Hunter #48. At this stage, too many uniform numbers have already been claimed forever, so modern day players will have to start at #56 to make a lasting numerical impression. Who will be the first to wear #100 or #1000? Manny Ramiriez and Aaron Judge have already claimed #99, while Yasiel Puig wears #66. It’s a number game – what’s lucky for you?

Retirement is not without Hassles: A Winning Moment? #1216

I’ve been in Vegas at the Westgate Resort and Casino for over 12 hours and haven’t lost a dime. In fact, I’m ahead, even though a bar fountain Diet Pepsi just cost me $8. My wife is still asleep, so I can continue these written ramblings about my retirement life. I’ve used the last two posts to expound on bladder problems and butt-crack to give you an idea of how educational and enlightening my thoughts can sometimes be. Currently, I’m sitting on my butt in a dark hotel room at the computer keyboard, trying not to disturb her. I did, however, get a three-mile run in already and checked-out the Sports Book.  The Hoosiers play the Boilermakers in about two hours on the big screen, with the rumored possibility of Bobby Knight in attendance. It will be a good indication of how my luck stands.

It’s the 21st anniversary of my love relationship in the city where we got married nearly 19 years ago. We celebrate the 8th of every month – this being the 252nd. Even though 10 has always been my lucky number, dating back to the playing days of Sherm Lollar, 8 could be even luckier. Our room number ends in an 8, but the digits add up to 10, as I continue to look for signs of good fortune. Even that $8 Diet Pepsi might have meaning, despite my favoritism to Diet Coke that they apparently don’t serve in this hotel. They did, however, give us plenty of great chocolate chip cookies and a case of free water thanks to our personal concierge, Guy. I gave him a $10 tip, sticking to the numbers, and agreed to have lunch with him in a few days. We’ll meet again at the Elvis statue in the lobby where he will certainly try to sell us on something. We already are timeshare owners, so they apparently want our feedback and willing to pay $100 in addition to the free lunch. This is why I can momentarily say that I’m ahead at this point in our week-long stay. 

We used Alaska miles for the flights, paid only $300 total for the room, $18 for an Uber, and put-down a $25 refundable deposit to make sure we show up for lunch with Guy. He sent me a friendly text this morning offering to go to Wal-Mart for us if we needed anything. What a Guy! I also just made arrangements and paid the $350 remaining balance for our Grand Canyon tour on Monday. Fortunately, Guy won’t go with us, but I’m sure he would if we asked. All in all, I guess I’m really not winning after all, am I? There’s the cost of tickets for our show reservations that we pre-paid as well as admission tickets for the Titanic, Neon Graveyard, and Tim Burton exhibits. It’s starting to add up, and I’ve barely left the room. So much for a winning moment in Vegas!

Old Sport Shorts: Ode to Sherm #1189

Poetry comes to me in streaks, and today was one of those days. As I was organizing my collection of memorabilia around the playing career of Sherm Lollar, I was somehow inspired to write this tribute. As I frequently go to baseball card shows, everyone talks about Mickey Mantle or Honus Wagner and how these players are the investment cornerstones of a great collection. Not everyone can afford to collect these gems, so I’m one to encourage starting with those who bring back personal childhood memories. Sherm Lollar was my first baseball hero and I honor this with cards, photos, and memorabilia that probably mean nothing to anybody but me. You don’t always have to make everything a financial investment, if it brings you a sense of joy:

Ode to Sherm

I never knew him,
But saw him play.
Have never forgotten him,
To this very day.

He was a catcher,
Wore number 10.
A perennial general,
Of the bull-pen.

He played with Nellie,
Luis, and Minnie.
Golden Gloves,
He earned many.

In the World Series,
Nineteen Fifty-Nine.
He hit a home run,
Became a hero of mine.

I watched on TV,
In black and white.
But the Sox fell short,
Of the Dodger might.

I wore his number,
It was lucky for me.
But the Hall of Fame,
unlikely to be.

Defense was his game,
A leader behind the plate.
But overshadowed,
By Yankees’ Number 8.

Not every team player,
Can be in the spotlight.
But some are admired,
For the things they do right.

He played in Chicago,
For eleven years.
And like me,
He had big ears.

I’ve written Cooperstown,
On behalf of him.
But hitting .264,
His chances are slim.

Over seventeen years,
Sherm’s glove was his force.
When it came to fielding,
None better, of course.

I maintain a collection,
Of his photos and cards.
I have his Rawling’s mask,
But no shin guards.

I can’t always afford,
To dabble in Honus.
But with Sherm Lollar,
The memories are bonus.

Copyright 2020 johnstonwrites.com

 

Old Sport Shorts: Old Timer #1185

I spent yesterday in baseball mode, despite the big games in other sports on T.V. As I was traveling to my baseball card luncheon, for example, I.U. basketball somehow beat #11 Ohio State, despite 1-17 shooting in the last ten minutes of the first half. It was better that I was in the car and didn’t witness the pathetic 20-36 free throw shooting. Later in the day, I missed both NFL Playoff games because of a lengthy Old Timers Baseball Banquet. A few beers, four speakers and two unavoidable naps later, I was ready for bed. I did however enjoy a short conversation with 82-year old Pete Ward, a White Sox teammate of Sherm Lollar back in 1962. I think that he was disturbed that I was wearing a Cubs shirt while claiming to be a Sox fan. I also won a book by Jack Dunn, From The Third Base Coach’s Box.  

Today it’s raining buckets so I will definitely watch the Packers vs. Seahawks game. With the 49ers already in the winner’s bracket, West Coast fans are anticipating a Seattle vs. San Francisco match-up with the winner going to the Super Bowl. I’m also watching Purdue’s dominant first half performance against conference leader Michigan State. I’m not always a Purdue fan, but hatred is a relative thing. One of last night’s speakers was Mark Wasikowski, the new head baseball coach of the Oregon Ducks who was previously at Purdue. He talked of the in-state rivalry with I.U. In 2018 the Boilers finished 2nd in the BIG with a 17-9 record but were eliminated by Houston in the NCAA Regional. I.U. went a step further but lost to Texas, after a 14-9 conference season and a split record against Purdue. Texas failed to get through the first round of the 2018 College World Series

I last saw I.U. Baseball lose to defending National Champion Oregon State at T-Mobile Stadium in Seattle last year. Back in 2013 with Cubs’ star Kyle Schwarber in the line-up, Indiana made their first College World Series but also lost in double elimination to Oregon State. I followed University of Texas while we lived in Austin, and the success of I.U., U.T., and O.S.U. inspired me to attend the College World Series two years ago in Omaha. Texas was there, but I.U. failed to return. Oregon State emerged as the Champion in dramatic fashion. It was a sports bucket list accomplishment for me to attend the games. It was a lot more exciting than last night’s speakers that included another pep talk on luring Major League Baseball to Portland. I have a sinking feeling that I’ll really be an “Old Timer” when that finally happens!

 

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: New Year Review #1178

As I look back over the past 21 New Year’s Eve celebrations with my wife, 2 have been spent in the hospital, 3 with family & friends, 12 in fancy restaurants, and 4 at home with the dogs. Allow me to reflect on just this past year of memories that have been both good and bad, in no particular order of importance. Only two, including tonight, have ended with a relaxing night in a hotel room. 

The Year in Review:

My son turned 45

Two of my wife’s daughters wed great young men, so I’m now twice a step-father-in-law, joining my expanded family of a daughter-in-law of now over ten years

The two very different ceremonies were at The Presidio in San Francisco and Powell’s Rare Book Room in Portland. 

Both newlywed couples took gift honeymoons from us in Hawaii, while my son and his wife enjoyed our time-share condo in Orlando

We sold our stand-alone Portland condo in twelve days and at a profit. 

My oldest grandchild turned 12 and he took up golf

My middle grandchild turned 10 and we help her with dance lessons

My youngest grandchild celebrated her first birthday and I started her college fund

My wife joined me in retirement just a few months ago, while I just enjoyed my third full year

We traveled together to Thailand, Florida, Phoenix, Tucson, San Francisco, Walla-Walla, New York, Indiana, Maui, Vancouver, Chicago, Steamboat, Seattle, and McMinnville.

We saw Elton John, Pink, Goo-Goo Dolls, and Train in concert

I grew my Ancestry family tree to include over 18,000 relatives

We helped free a Jeep stuck up to its front axle in deep Panama City Beach sand 

I donated blood on several occasions 

I finished with over 15,000 Buffalo Wild Wings points to use for future “Leadership Meetings”

We moved to a downtown apartment and started using public transportation

We lost cat Frankie and schnauzer Tinker to old age

We attended our 7th Outstanding In The Field in Vancouver, BC – our first international dining event

My wife’s mother sadly died at age 97

We saw Beetlejuice, Moulin Rouge, and Tootsie on Broadway

I missed my 50th high school reunion

I lost two college fraternity brothers

We saw the 60th annual Twilight Zone movie presentation on the big screen

I.U. soccer lost to I.U. Santa Barbara and failed to reach the National Championship like last year

We watched I.U. baseball win and lose in Seattle and Oregon State beat I.U. the same weekend. The Beavers were not able to return to the College World Series

I.U. football earned a spot in the Gator Bowl

I.U. basketball failed to make the tournament again

The Chicago Bears failed to make the playoffs

The Cubs did not win the Division or make the playoffs. The White Sox didn’t come close

The Portland Trailblazers enjoyed playoff success but fell short to the eventual champion Warriors.

I saw Oregon basketball beat Memphis at the Moda Center

Oregon earned a spot in the Rose Bowl

I’ve added to my Sherm Lollar baseball collection while drastically downsizing my Cubs memorabilia to accommodate our much smaller living space

I gave-up my once-framed I.U. jersey to its rightful owner Kent Benson #54

We had Portland visits from my wife’s Indy girlfriends, my wife’s youngest daughter, and our Decatur friends

We reconnected with many old friends around the country

We paid off all our credit cards and the balance on our Decatur, Illinois mortgage

We eliminated most of our wine club memberships

We invested in more Marriott Vacation Club points

We planned and paid for many trips next year including Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Spring Training, Alcatraz, the Great Pyramid, and Glacier National Park

We bought the Regal Unlimited movie pass for next year and can easily walk to the theater

My wife’s oldest daughter and husband bought their first house. They also adopted Falco to play with now lonely Tally, our 10-year old schnauzer

My wife’s youngest daughter took a new job with Stanford Hospital and moved with her husband to San Francisco

We’ll end the year and day #7,861 together with dinner at Bern’s Steakhouse in Tampa and start the New Year with theme park visits with my grand children

We looked at retirement properties along the Gulf Coast of Florida

We celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary at Joel Palmer House in Oregon wine country

We met my cousin in Phuket, Thailand

I finished Game of Thrones

We went to the King Tut exhibit at OMSI in preparation for next year’s trip to Egypt

I completed the 11th consecutive year of my daily running streak

I had just one minor cold this past year

I just now finished my 1,178th blog post

 

Happy New Year to all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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