« Previous  
 Next »

Nadworny: Grandpa And The World Series

11/30/09 5:55PM By Rich Nadworny
 MP3   Download MP3 

(HOST) Last Friday, people around the country participated in the second annual National Day of Listening. And that reminded commentator Rich Nadworny of a story about his grandfather's obsession with baseball.

(NADWORNY) When I was a little kid and had to do something I didn't like, like going to bed or taking a bath, I'd make my dad sit down and tell me stories of when he was little. I was lucky: my dad had a good memory and told a great story. There was one story I made him tell me over and over - a story his mom used to tell him.

My dad's family lived in one of the Jewish sections of the Bronx. My Grandpa was a pretty gregarious guy and a sports nut. When the Yankees played the Giants in the first World Series at Yankee Stadium in 1923, my Grandpa was determined to go, even if he couldn't afford a ticket. He had a friend, though, who guarded the fence by the outfield bleachers.

The real problem was that the day his friend worked was also Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. To my Grandma's horror, my Grandpa took along an accomplice in my uncle Sid. Together, they snuck out of shul and then snuck out of the observant and atoning neighborhood. Then they took a shortcut through the adjacent Italian section where no one would pay them much attention.

At Yankee Stadium, the guard nodded toward the fence they would need to climb over. Uncle Sid made it without a hitch, but Grandpa got stuck on the top of the fence and on the way down ripped his one good pair of dress pants from his thigh clear down to his ankle cuff. With Grampa's pants flying like one of the stadium pennants, they snuck into the bleachers in time to see future Yankee manager Casey Stengel hit a home run for the Giants.

When they got home, my Grandma was livid. It wasn't enough that she had to suffer the shame of them sneaking off during Yom Kippur. Now she had to spend the next day mending Grandpa's pants.

Every time my dad told me that story, we'd laugh and laugh. I don't know which we enjoyed most: my Grandpa's baseball obsession or my Grandma's frustration with him. And just as he told me that story that his mom told him, I now tell it to my own kids. And as we're transported back through time and space we make connections with family through laughter and love.


comments powered by Disqus
Supported By
Become an Underwriter | Find an Underwiter