This is my ode about the time I spent with my grandfather on Cape Cod. I hope to honor the summers we shared and the teams we rooted for by reuniting a game used bat for every Red Sox position player from 1975 to 1986. This is for you Gus!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Mike Easler

When David Mullany invented the wiffle ball for his son in 1953 he had no way of knowing that millions of American kids would grow up playing his game. Another thing he would have no way of knowing is that the perfect swing and follow through when hitting a wiffle ball resembles that of Mike Easler. However, during the summer of 1984 my friends and I realized this fact and what followed was a wiffle ball season for the ages.

We were 14 years old and spent most of our spare time at Butterworth Park in Framingham. Outdated and run down, the park did have one thing to draw us, an enormous grandstand with a 35 foot cement wall on its backside. The old stone surface had ledges and cracks that we used to determine the outcomes of our games. A single, double or triple were measured by how many ledges up the wiffle ball hit. If the ball was caught before falling back down onto the wavy blacktop the batter was out, if not, the hit counted. Any ball hit over the grandstand was a home run.

I don't remember who tried Easler's uncomfortable, exaggerated stance first. What I do remember is that wiffle balls began flying over that old grandstand at a rate higher than any of our previous 162 game seasons. Despite the epic number of dingers we hit that year we will never know how long our record went unchallenged because by the start of the new school year we had all turned our attention to a much more interesting and complicated pastime; girls.

13 bats down 70 to go.

Epilogue: Not long ago I drove by Butterworth Park just as a bulldozer was turning the old grandstand into a pile of broken cement chunks. I am glad to have spent time there in my youth.

1 comment:

  1. Always liked the hitman. Didn't like to see him traded but Baylor turned into,a key'86 piece. Sunday show in Mansfield this coming weekend