Entries in Tim Wakefield (1)


Birthday, Brothers, Baseball . . .

I’ve decided to depart from my norm and show a little home movie from my birthday lunch in Frederick. (Birthday is later ... think ‘Marseillaise’ ...)

The lunch, at Volt, was terrific. The restaurant surprised me with an ice cream that I thought had a suspicious resemblance to the Tower of Babel (how did they know I wrote a blog?) with candle. It was sort of vanilla but turned out to be flavored with orange mint.

I figure the candle was for the ‘1’ in ‘61’ and, from my p-o-v, the candle flame, sort of as in Roger Maris’s home run record, was an asterisk. (As in *Hey, not really ...)

Out in front of the restaurant, we did a little self-portrait: my sister-in-law Sandra Ashley Van Doren, my brother Steve, me, and my much better half, Laura Owen Sutherland.

Sandy and Steve are the greatest. Steve and I are 16 months apart and have always been essentially a team – I sometimes think that together we make a well-balanced personality. Individually, well ...

They gave me just what I’d asked for: Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend, by Larry Tye. This of course is the story of Satchel Paige. Tim Wakefield of the Boston Red Sox this year is the second-oldest player to make his first All-Star team, at age 42; Paige was the oldest, in 1952, at the age of 46, “after,” as MLB.com puts it, “years of dominance in the Negro Leagues.” (That’s one way to put it.)

Steve had not yet inscribed it, so I had a special request. When I was in Pony League (ages 13–15), the manager of the Lorton Fire Department team, Graham Davis, decided based on my Little League experience that I might make a good pitcher. He even got me a warmup jacket – flame red with a big gold ‘L’, which I got to keep (and kept for centuries), even though I never pitched in a game.

When Mr. Davis tried me out, at the Lorton Reformatory stadium, with its old wooden covered grandstands, well-tended grounds and my first real pitcher’s mound, I immediately got frustrated and started firing pitches all the way to the backstop. End of pitching career. (I was a notorious hothead. We once had to stop a sandlot game for 30 minutes to search the woods for my glove.)

I asked Steve if he would inscribe it, ‘Graham Davis should have given you another chance.’

This would have been nice, coming from Steve. Even though I did fine and ended up in center, Steve came along a couple years later, hit .521 and broke every record they had.

He inscribed my book: ‘Graham Davis had it right!’