Monday, May 01, 2006
California Story - Bahrenburg & Linville
[Email from Bahrenburg to Linville] Ken, check out Newspaper Clippings on the HLHS 56 web site. The non stop bus ride is always to remember. Did we win any games in California? I do remember the stadium and the school where we had our sleeping arrangements. Looking back, a great journey! Alan
[Linville to Bahrenburg] Thanks for steering me to the 'Newspaper Clippings' link on the web site, Alan. I had been there before but didn't quite make it past all those good-looking girls in the running for the Seafair Crown. I should have been relentlessly persuing every one of them, pleading for dates, wearing them down until they consented to go out with me. Hmmm, not me; I was far too cool to be chasing girls. Let them chase me. (I'm still waiting.)
Wasn't that a great trip we took to San Bernardino?!! It brings back some long forgotten memories. I wouldn't swear to any of this but, I think we won our first game and then, depending on whether it was a single elimination or double elimination tournament, we lost our next one or two games. I'll bet Rich Stanley might remember. I think Dick Trisler told me last year he was still in the area but I have had no contact with him since we played ball together. What a pair of hands 'Itchie' had at 2nd base! I'd buy a ticket just to see him handle a hot, ground ball again. He and you pretty much had the right side of the infield sewn up and water-proof! I remember on the all-night trip home, Itch and I were playing a card game called 'war' on the floor in the back of the bus and keeping the whole team awake with our boisterous call-outs of "WAR" whenever we threw down cards of the same value. This game, of course, required the IQ of a slug to play but were having the time of our lives. I think I might remember you telling us to keep it down a little 'cause some of you were trying to sleep. Needless to say, I don't think we complied.
Do you remember how I got my name in the paper on that trip? It wasn't for playing baseball, although I do remember getting a couple of hits. Al Stanley didn't use me on the mound down there because I had cut the tip of my right thumb quite badly on a band saw just a few days before we left on the trip working down at Boeing that summer and it was all wrapped up in a big bandage. I wanted to pitch so badly but he was afraid my thumb would start bleeding but I did get to play shortstop and hit. I had a pretty good batting average that summer as I remember it. I don't remember who did the pitching but it must have been Keppler and Ken Jacobson from Kirkland. Where was Jim Graham that year?
Jim and I were good friends. I was heart-broken upon hearing of his death. Keith Davison told me he committed suicide but I get a different story from Jan Parker, Larry's wife, who was Jim's wife's best friend. They were both from Renton. I'd like to know for sure. Jim and I were trying out for some semi-pro team in West Seattle around that time or maybe the year after that. It's all fuzzy now. So many good friends gone. Dick Binford was probably the best athlete of our whole group. He would surely have made it to the majors if not for his tragic, untimely death. I know I'm jumping around here but I have to ask you if you remember a time one spring when a few of us were out in our Memorial Stadium after school one afternoon and we decided to see who among us was faster than the proverbial speeding bullet. Of course, I wasn't in the running. The coaches always told me the only problem with the way I ran was that I stayed in one place too long. Anyway, a few of us had some wagers on the table as to who could leave the others in their trail dust for the 100 yard dash down the cinder track from east to west right in front of the grandstand. There were 3 of you in the race: Bill Rich, Jim Graham, and you. I knew you all needed drag chutes to slow down when you got to full speed but my money was on Bill, another of my dearest friends who left us much too early. Keith says to talk to Mick Stewart about that one. I didn't think anyone could stay with Bill Rich on a cinder track. I figured you for a close second and Gruesome would be bringing up the rear. Do you remember who won? Jimmy crossed the line barely 2 or 3 feet in front of you and Bill and you two were in a dead heat even up. I don't think we were timing it but, holy frijole, you guys covered that 100 yards like it was about 10. How exciting! Even though I lost a buck or two, I wouldn't have missed that impromptu contest for anything.
Anyway (I've gotta wrap this up; we don't have that much time left to be reading this kind of trash), getting back to getting my name in the paper, after our last game down there for the Connie Mack Regional Championship, which, sadly, we lost, Tom Gibbs and I slipped away to have a smoke while the rest of you were watching the next game. As we were strolling along, enjoying our Marlboros, and trying to figure out what we did wrong, and what we should have done to win the game to avoid being eliminated from the tournament, a purple '49 or '50 Ford pulled up beside us and ask us if we'd seen Juan or Pedro or some one like that and Gibbs says to them, "Naw, we're from Seattle." I said to him, "You dumb shit, don't tell 'em that. They'll be all over us like flies on a dead cat!" About that time, someone in the car said, "Let's get 'em!" and 8 Latinos (I think they called them Pachukos then, no doubt very politically incorrect nowadays) jumped out of the car and surrounded us. Tom said, "I'm outta here!" and he took off running faster than I'd ever seen him go. I should have done the same but, stupidly, I was curious as they stood around me sizing me up. Someone said, "Give us your cigarettes." Well, I wasn't about to do that, then, all of a sudden, I felt a sharp pain on my right cheek as one of them lashed out from behind me with a 2 foot long rubber hose with a bolt in the end of it. Now, I finally got the clue (what a quick study I was). I turned around quickly and kicked the guy with the hose right in the gonads as hard as I could. As he crumbled to the ground it left a hole like you used to like to see when you were carrying the football. As I bolted through it, I may have been running faster than any of you guys in the aforementioned race. When I got back to the team, Gibbs was leading them back to the scene to rescue me. When our coach saw my face he insisted I get medical attention. At the emergency room they called for a cop, who wanted all the details because it sounded like the M. O. of the gang they's been looking for. Later that night they were picked up put in the slammer for some pretty bad deeds they'd been up to. I made the paper the next day as assaulted by the gang. I never saw Tom Gibbs after that until we ran into each other at Jerry Trisler's funeral a few years ago, (here we go again) and I enjoyed chiding him about that night. He remembered it well. It was good to see him after all those years.
Since I've pecked at this story a few minutes a day for about 3 days, I think I'll send it to Coop, too. He may find some interesting parts of it he might want to edit and post. Looking forward to seeing you, Al. Ken