Before we graduated to Little League, we went to the farm, farm team, that is. Farm team was before T ball, and yes, we used real bats, real balls, and real pitching. OK, I made my point, I don't like T ball, so moving on-----
Farm Team was fun, and the purpose was to teach us budding Hall of Famers the basics of the game, The only problem was that it was played early in the mornings during the summer months of Wallace. We didn't have uniforms. We played in jeans and sweatshirts; you know the plain old kind of sweatshirts without the swords and whatever else those creepy things are that they put on sweatshirts now. The jeans were not designer jeans either. Nope, they were plain old jeans from the local JC Penney's Yes, Virginia, there was a Penney's in Wallace. (This was long before the company bolted the small towns that their founder loved for the sterile malls of the suburbs.)
The program was administered by none other than Mr. Harold Goldstein, the stern, deep voiced, school principal. Mr., Goldstein was fondly referred to as “Goldie", although that nickname was not used by the kids. Mr. Goldstein was actually a very nice man, and a very fair man. One just didn't want to get sent to his office. In his office, on the wall behind his desk, was a very nasty looking wooden paddle. Yes, they paddled kids in those days.
Anyway, the summer progressed. I actually got to do a little pitching. It was a fun summer, but I was not catching on to this hitting business as like I wanted to, and Mr. Goldstein was watching with a very careful eye. It was the last day of the league, and we had just played our last game. I was getting ready to go home when Mr. Goldstein yelled at me in that megaphone voice of his to get over to where he was. He had a mitt on, and had a ball in his hands. He then said that he was not going to let the summer end without teaching me how to hit.
He instructed me how to stand at the plate, and the he walked to the mound and started throwing pitches to me. He would yell out “Swing now" and I would swing. It went on like this for about hour, and pretty soon I was smacking the ball all over the field. I will always have a fond place in my heart for the man known as "Goldie".
I would like to say that session with Goldie made me into a super star baseball player, and that I later went on the fame and millions for dollars, and -----BUT, no such thing. It did however, do something just as important. It gave me a lot of respect for Mr. Goldstein, and I will always remember him for that day.