Sunday, August 11, 2019

Kay Hively: Being a New York Yankees fan in Neosho

(Kay Hively is a historian, author and a long time editor, reporter and columnist at the Neosho Daily News and Neosho Post.)

For baseball fans, the season is coming to an end. Everyone is keeping an eye on the standings, hoping their favorite team can make it to the playoffs,

Most folks in the area are either Cardinals or Royals fans. In my household, we are a bit different. My husband is a Twins fan and I root for the Yankees

My friend, Charles Nodler, is a big baseball guy who can quote statistics and name old-time players with ease. In fact, he wrote a book a few years ago about local baseball, from the very early years until more modern times. He included some of the local players who made it to the big leagues, even though few have heard of them. The first story in the book, for example, is about Ed Hawk who pitched for the St. Louis Browns in 1911. Charles also wrote about his personal love for the New York Yankees.

Charlie (what he is normally called) and his brother, Gary, had a father who fed their love of "the game." Many times, especially when the Yankees were playing in Kansas City, Mr. Nodler took his boys to the ball park.

In his book, Charlie includes stories from several local people who share some baseball experience. His brother, Gary, wrote one of my favorite stories. He told how his family went to the old Memorial Stadium to watch the Kansas City Athletics play the Yankees. They loved the final score, which was 21 to 7.

But the best part of the day came after the game was over. I'll let Gary describe what happened.

"After the game, we waited to see the players outside the stadium. In the parking lot we were able to have Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and Roger Maris sign our program. Maris even signed it twice as we were trying to get it to Moose Skowron in the back seat of Roger Maris' Thunderbird."

This was 1962, a year after the famous shootout between Maris and Mantle for the home run title. Of course, that 1962 program is one of the most interesting and important baseball artifact in his collection. Imagine having two Roger Maris autographs during the time he was "the man" in major league baseball.

Charlie Nodler's book, "Field of Teams: Baseball in Neosho," is a wonderful collection of baseball lore that is centered around Veda Street Park in Neosho. I live close to this wonderful old stadium and often hear the cheers when the boys of summer are playing.

Charlie made a nice book using stories from local fans. He probably mistakenly gave me co-writing credit for the book, but I did not deserve it. Yet I am glad to have my name attached to it.

I get a lot of teasing for being a Yankee fan in Cardinal/Royals territory. But, just between you and me, I think they stand a good chance of being in the 2019 World Series.

No comments: