Like a dedicated flat-earther, I’ve always believed I played my last high school baseball game…
I thought I knew all of the major stuff about Memphis baseball. (I’m obsessed with it, after all.) But when I saw that orange Astros-styled cap and Blues shooting-star jersey themed after the Astros’ iconic 1960s look, I was stumped. Were they real?
In the late spring of 1975, something weird happened: Hank Aaron hit a 200-foot home run in a football stadium in his first-ever appearance against his long-time former team, the Atlanta Braves.
Back in the spring of 1987 — I think it was the spring of 1987, could be 1988 — I was covering Memphis State baseball for the university’s school newspaper, The Daily Helmsman, and needed to write a preview of the Tigers’ upcoming season.
I obsess about baseball. My dad didn’t. But for some reason, my virgin baseball memory is watching the Oakland A’s in the World Series with my dad back in the 1970s. Don’t ask me which World Series it was, ’72, ’73 or ’74. I haven’t a clue.
I called Tommy Lasorda.
No, let’s clarify that.
Tommy Lasorda took my phone call.
If the Cleveland Indians are methodically ridding themselves of Chief Wahoo, and if the Atlanta Braves quietly threw away their spring training hats bearing the caricature of a Native American, and if the Washington Redskins are tone deaf about their racist helmet logo and name, then what does that say about the Memphis Chicks?
I’ve never thought about it until recently. Harmless ignorance, possibly. But if the St. Louis Cardinals are my team, then the Memphis Chicks are my first love — the hometown team I grew up watching and cheering from the exquisite awfulness that was Tim McCarver Stadium.