Frank Sinatra Baseball
The following article was sent by a former member of the U.S. Marine Corps who told us we could share it with everyone. It is a memory of a softball game between the Sinatra Swooners and the Russell Sprouts. Our thanks to Sean Brady for his thoughtfulness.
I don't recall a great deal of the game except that the stadium was jam packed that month in 1947 and being from a small country town in the Northwest, I felt a little intimidated by the crowd and celebrities so I left the game early. As I said earlier, I was a 17 year old marine just out of boot camp and I stood there in the parking lot of the stadium with 75 cents in my pocket wondering whether I should spend it on food or bus fare back to my base. As I stood there wondering what to do, out came Nat King Cole munching on a hot dog. I remember he had mustard all over his face and I believe was playing 3rd base for the SINATRA SWOONERS. I walked directly toward me and opened the door to the biggest black cadillac I had ever seen. The car wouldn't start and you could smell the heavy odor of gas. I asked if I could help, and his smile lit up the parking lot. I sat behind the wheel for a few minutes and told him that I felt he had flooded the engine. He nodded and we both waited for another 5 minutes or so. On the 1st try, his caddy started and he was beside himself as he said that he was running late for a club date downtown. As he got in the car, he turned to me and asked me if I would like to come to his show as his guest. I was really terrified for I had been a Nat King Cole fan for years and couldn't believe I was talking to one of the true great musicians of our time. I thanked him and told him that I had other plans for the evening and he drove off. On reflection, I truly should have taken him up on his offer.
About 15 minutes later, your Dad came out of the stadium with 2 or 3 other guys and they too walked up to a cadillac parked about 50 feet from me. I was so very nervous about approaching your Dad because I had been a devoted fan since I was about 12 years old and when I reached high school, I took a tremendous amount of harassment from the guys because being a Sinatra fan was not something that the guys did. Your Dad seemed a little high strung that evening but when I got up enough nerve to approach the door and ask him for an autograph, his mood changed and he asked me if I had a pen. I said, "sorry, I don't have one". One of the guys produced a pen and I handed your Dad a piece of scrap paper I had in my pocket. Your Dad looked at me from the passengers seat and said "what's your name kid". He signed the paper and the driver took off at high speed across the lot.
It was a special evening for me and I hitch hiked back to my base that night with some warm memories that I still cherish today even though that evening was 50 years ago. I do not even recall whether the SINATRA SWOONERS or the ANDY RUSSELL SPROUTS won the game.
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