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1980 Baseball & Grapefruit

March 20, 2024 10:36 AM CDT

In the spring of 1980, as a sophomore, I broke into the Ithaca Bulldogs baseball lineup as a designated hitter. In a moment of weakness, Coach Pampuch put me in as a pinch hitter with the game on the line. Somehow, I closed my eyes and laced a game winning hit over the leftfielders heard. I think he came in a bit when he saw me step to the plate. That was pretty much my 15 minutes of high school sports fame. I stayed in the lineup as a batter, but my glove work was not stellar, and I did not have a strong arm. I could throw a spit wad with incredible accuracy, or during lunch I could hit my target with a grape from halfway across the gym. My arm abilities did not carry over to the baseball field. In the spring of 1980 two ruffians put a grapefruit through the pitching machine during baseball practice. It hurled the fruit toward the plate as the unsuspecting batter was waiting to take a swing. As it wobbled toward the plate, the antioxidants were spewing about, and it split before the batter could take a good cut at it. His glasses were well spattered. I sure hope those guys that did that are ashamed of themselves for what they did. Only God knows where they are today.

A few of my favorite songs during those days of youthful exuberance in the spring of 1980 are, Refugee-Tom Petty, An America Dream-Dirt Band, Fire Lake-Bob Seger, 99-Toto, Romeo’s Tune-Steve Forbert, Come Back-J. Geils, On the Radio-Donna Summer, Even It Up-Heart, You May Be Right-Billy Joel, and Off the Wall-Michael Jackson. If you tune in Those Were the Days on WRCO Saturday night, you very well may hear some of those hits. I will be weaving all of the songs together just like those mighty mix tapes I made back in 1980. Listen for the trivia bell and your chance to win between six and midnight Saturday night during Those Were the Days on WRCO FM 100.9, WRCO.com, or on the Civic Media app.