The Fates Drive Me To A Yardsale August 27, 2016Posted by Jim Berkin in Art, Baseball, Books.
Tags: Brunelleschi, Florence, Ghiberti
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The only reason I saw the neon green sign pointing towards a local sale was because I took a right turn and not a left, since a car was heading towards me and I didn’t feel like stopping and waiting. I figured I’d take the equidistant alternate route to get to my first errand stop, Home Depot.
That’s right… Home Depot, on a Saturday. All part of being the manly man I am.
Anyway, I saw the sign and figured why-the-hell-not, and drove the extra block to where I saw a driveway lined with assorted chazerei.
And then the actions of the fates became more clear.
I looked through the sole box of books sitting in the driveway and found a couple of big illustrated kid books about boats & sailing I earmarked for my nephew. I noticed the ENTIRE box of books centered around boating, the sea, or Captain Horatio Hornblower.
I asked the price, and the guy told me he had more books they were planning to sell next week, and he let me take a look. Turns out it was all his father-in-law’s stuff and they were selling it all off.
More books on the sea and boating. A box of Louis L’Amour novels.
But then a box of hardcover anthologies of old comics – Li’l Abner, Dick Tracy, Superman, etc. I chatted with the guy and told him he ought to look some of them up to see if they worth more than a couple of bucks. Then I found what looked like one of the old Collier series of Hemingway from the late 30s or whatever, as well as some old book of Civil War Songs published in 1889.
Nope, did NOT buy them for 25 cents a pop & flip them for thousands on ebay, I told the guy he ought to look up what they’re actually worth, and THAT little bit of charm got me some major discounting on the sailing books and two books on Renaissance Architecture I’m looking forward to, Brunellschi’s Dome and The Feud That Sparked The Renaissance, about Brunelleschi’s rivalry with Ghiberti. I loved visiting Florence some years ago. Maybe these two volumes will take me back there for a while, for fifty cents a pop.
And then, as my conversation with the guy went from Florence to art to history to where I’m from, we somehow found ourselves in baseball, and I got the entire biography of the yardsaler, who turned out to be a former pro baseball player who got bottled up in the Orioles organization of the early ’70s since they were overloaded with pitchers already. He had the bad luck to land in the farm system of a team with FOUR twenty game winners on their starting staff. Oy!
He recounted some stories from his minor league days, his later coaching days and so forth, but what stuck with me turned out to be something I’d almost expect from any former pro athlete.
He could recite all of his stats from more than 40 years ago.
His walk to strikeout ratio, his innings pitched, the then-future major leaguers he defeated in Class A and Class AA games in 1972, what the score was each time, you name it. I’m sure he could have told me the pitch sequence to every batter he faced if I’d asked.
We talked a bit about how the game had changed, especially for pitchers. He told me how be blew out his rotator cuff and back before they figured out how to fix Tommy John and how it basically ended his baseball career. It was an entertaining chat with another guy who misses playing actual hardball a lot more than I do, which is saying something.
And then Home Depot beckoned. The new a/c unit at Castle Wagstaff takes a different filter size than its predecessor. It will provide respite from the triple digit temps outside while I read my books on Florence and drink wine, perhaps. Maybe then I won’t miss playing baseball as much.