Sunday, April 23, 2006



Here's the picture I thought was in the annual. Mac Malone was probably so pissed at my give-a-shit attitude by then, he may have kept it out. Although I did get my letter. I probably was late for practice as I puffed on a leisurely Marlboro and stretched the short drive from the high school up 152nd to the Burien field house, where we practiced and played our home games, to about 30 minutes. Hmmm, how could he possibly have known I'd been smoking? Was I an idiot or what?

Mac was a great guy, a hell of a good coach, and he'd done a lot for me. He knew baseball better than anyone who ever worked with me. He put me on the varsity baseball team as a sophomore (hell, I'm still a sophomore). This is definitely one of the things I'd do differently if I could go back again. He deserved the utmost respect and 110% from me and all I did was alienate him with my poor attitude, lack of hustle, and disregard of his rules. Way to go, Ken! I knew it all back then, or so I thought.

Should have listened to all the things I was told but I was young and too proud at the time,
Now I look at my self and find, I learned the hard way every time
. Jim Croce

That's a great story Alan Bahrenburg sent in about the uniform change, but I'm afraid he gives me too much credit. The part about showing up late was right on, but rather than trying to save time by changing into my uniform while driving, I was probably just showing off by doing another of the thousands of stupid things I did at that age; as did we all, but I think I was taking up the slack for some of the others who decided that following at least most of the rules got them a lot further than disregarding them. My Studebaker wasn't really all that precious to me because all my buddies had Fords or Mercs and they were so cool. I was stuck in what I (and my Ford owner buddies) called a "Stupidbaker". Little did I realize at the time how lucky I was to have a nice car like that. I always figured, "I'll never get a girl into a Studebaker" (it probably wasn't the car that kept them out) but I did manage to force a couple in.

I do treasure our baseball days, Al. When I looked over to my left and saw you there on first base, it was comforting to know you were one of the guys I could depend on. I always wished I could throw a ball with my left arm like you and my dad did.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Bahrenburg on Linville

Ken Linville really enjoyed baseball. He was an outstanding pitcher and an enjoyable team mate. He also enjoyed driving his beloved Studebaker. One afternoon he combined the two, to the consternation of his teammates.

We had a late afternoon American Legion game in Kirkland, and it was Ken’s turn to drive the four of us. In those days the drive from Burien to Kirkland took some time, especially along the winding, busy Lake Washington Blvd. on the East side. When he arrived, characteristically late, he was still in his street clothes, while the rest of us were in uniform. We offered to drive while he suited up to save some time, but were advised that only he was qualified to drive his Studebaker. After we got through Renton and onto Lake Washington Blvd., Ken proceeded to pick up speed and at the same time, to shed his street clothes. We again offered to steer, but again no one was qualified. He successfully changed into his uniform and got us to Kirkland 10 minutes before game time. While accomplishing this, he used his chin, knees and elbows to keep us on course, while continuing to assure us we were safe.

When I learned years later he had earned his wings and was a pilot, I knew why he was qualified.

Friday, April 14, 2006


Ken Linville - AT THE FAIR

This was taken on Sept. 19, 1955 at the Puyallup fair. A big group of us all went to the fair that day. Shortly after we arrived, a group of us were strolling along the midway listening to the barkers trying to scam us out of our money with their "fixed" games. Being naive to the nth degree in those days, I figured there was no way I couldn't knock those milk bottles down with a baseball. Lo and behold, my first pitch sent all three bottles flying and I won a huge stuffed animal which I gave to one of the girls because I didn't want to carry it around all day. (I don't recall which one.) Of course, now all the girls wanted one and, enjoying my sudden popularity, I proceeded to try to win one for each of them. I gladly paid another quarter for three balls and set out to do just that. Time after time, quarter after quarter, I gallantly tried to knock those bottles down with my best pitch again and again but never once succeeded. I barely had enough money left for a hot dog as my confidence, as well as all the attention I was getting began to melt away like the ice cream cones some of us were eating. With tail tucked, I suggested we proceed on to a different endeavor. Maybe something a little easier like the "Haunted House " or something like that. I thought about suggesting the "Tunnel of Love" but I figured I wouldn't have any more luck in there than I had with the baseballs and milk bottles. It certainly wasn't easy being a teenager, was it?

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