It seems strange to say in our phone culture, but there used to be a time when you didn't necessarily take pictures when you went to a baseball game.
You certainly didn't take pictures of yourself, I know that.
I own zero photographic proof of the first Major League Baseball game I ever attended, the Royals and Yankees at Yankee Stadium in July of 1978. My father may have taken some photos with his camera, he was the picture-taker until my mom took over. But I've never seen any. Any images of that game have resided solely in my mind's eye for 42 years.
Such was the case for a number of major and minor league games that I attended through the 1980s and '90s. Camera? Why would I want one of those? There's a game to watch out there! And food to eat! There's no time for snappy, snapping!
Well, that thought process certainly changed. Look at the stands of any baseball game. The phone, with that camera, seems much more interesting to many people in the seats than anything happening on the field. And, no doubt, there were thousands of photos taken of any particular game, and of the spectators, and god knows what. Almost nobody goes into a baseball game without their camera today.
But back to the olden days. I mentioned last week that I've been going through my folks' old photo albums and that process is continuing. The other day, I came across pictures of a baseball game. My father actually did bring his camera to a game in August 1982 when we went to Fenway Park in Boston.
We had great seats during that August 14th day game. We were two or three rows behind the Red Sox dugout along first base. This is the best picture my dad got that day. It's one of the few while the game was happening.
You can see the game's starting pitcher that day, Dennis Eckersley, heading back to the dugout and talking to his catcher, Rich Gedman. Second baseman Jerry Remy is running off the field to the right of Eckersley. Carney Lansford, playing third base that day, is behind Gedman. And in the distance is a Baltimore Oriole trotting off the field after the last out of the inning.
I believe the Oriole leaving the field is catcher Joe Nolan. The scoreboard in the distance indicates that the top of the sixth has just ended (the scoreboard operator hasn't placed a zero in Baltimore's frame yet) and Eck retired Baltimore in order that inning.
Eckersley was involved in a pitchers' duel that game against Orioles veteran Jim Palmer -- yup, two future Hall of Famers started that game.
Eckersley would last only one more inning, exiting after one out in the seventh (after Rich Dauer doubled and Al Bumbry tripled to tie the game 2-2). Palmer though pitched eight innings, giving up home runs to Dwight Evans and Jim Rice.
I believe this is a photo of the first base-runner of the game in the top of the first inning. That would be Orioles third baseman Glenn Gulliver, who walked. He's being held on by first baseman Dave Stapleton (Carl Yastrzemski was the regular DH by this point). The first base coach is Jimmy Williams, not the future Blue Jays manager but a former Dodgers prospect from the '50s. Also, the umpire is Dave Phillips. Thanks, retrosheet!
Fenway aficionados will appreciate these photos for the era's advertisements and the ballpark look at the time. What I notice is obviously there are no seats above the Green Monster, and the Citgo sign, which I always enjoyed seeing when games were televised from Boston.
This photo is from before the game, and I don't know who is throwing. It looks like Dwight Evans. I know my dad liked him. I think that's Lansford walking behind him.
I suppose the player throwing could be Mark Clear, who was the goat of this game. (Enough sweat there, Topps? Gee whiz).
Clear pitched a full 3.2 innings in relief of Eckersley, all the way into the 10th inning. But in the top of the 10th, Eddie Murray singled and then John Lowenstein reached on an error by Clear. I don't remember what he did and retrosheet doesn't say but Murray was on third and Lowenstein on second.
Cal Ripken -- yes, that Cal Ripken in his rookie season -- who homered to lead off the fourth inning, struck out. The Red Sox walked Jim Dwyer intentionally to load the bases and Nolan followed with a sacrifice fly to put the Orioles ahead 3-2. Dauer then hit a two-run single for a 5-2 lead. Bumbry followed with a double and I'm sure three-fourths of my family was bad-mouthing Clear by then (my one brother is an Orioles fan, he was thrilled). The Red Sox went down in order in the bottom of the 10th to end the game.
Ripken, Rice and Evans may have homered but Dauer went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and scored once.
Here is another picture of Dwight Evans coming back to the dugout. I think this is after Evans hit his home run in the bottom of the first inning. Some fans on the left appear to be applauding. And, look! An old-fashioned camera!
In the distance you can see Jim Rice preparing to bat.
Obvious pregame infield happening here. That's coach Tommy Harper wearing No. 32.
But this photo is rather interesting. I believe it's a young Wade Boggs -- in his rookie year (I have a ROOKIE PHOTO, A ROOKIE PHOTO!!!) -- with fellow third baseman Carney Lansford. Boggs didn't play in this game, but Lansford would be traded in the offseason that year so Boggs could take the third base job full-time.
Somewhere in the 2000s, I started taking photos at baseball games. Not coincidentally, that's when I started carrying around a phone with a camera everywhere I went.
I have lots of photos of minor league games I went to with my wife and daughter. I like those because they're of my wife and daughter at a ballgame. But the game shots don't mean that much to me as they weren't MLB games.
I'm glad I have those photos from that 1982 game.
And it's a good thing my mom wasn't the picture-taker of the family at that point.
She stayed back at the hotel while we went to the game.