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Snapshots at the ballpark


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.

That's cool.


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.

Comments

Mark Hoyle said…
Love the photos. Can’t wait to get these printed. I just bought a collection of Tedsox photos taken at Yankee stadium 65-68. Many great shots
bbcardz said…
Nice seats and nice pictures! Watching iconic players at an iconic ballpark...what could be cooler than that? Thanks for sharing!
Cool photos! I love looking at the details in old ballpark photos. I like the movable fences in front of the dugout during warm ups. It made sense to do that before dugouts had permanent fencing, but I never knew that was a thing.
Jongudmund said…
What makes these photos for me are the unintended inclusions - the ginger kids hair in 3 of them (I presume it's a kid in front of you, not a dog), the bag handles etc. That's the genuine feel of taking pictures then waiting to see what you got when they got developed. Digital cameras and phones have eradicated photos like that. Firstly, we take so many more photos and only share the best ones. Secondly we can hold the camera/ phone up so we aren't including the frizzy hair of the person in front. Somehow with better photos we've lost something.
Michael Ott said…
What a great day at an iconic ballpark! The one thing I would always hope for, especially at a day game, was extra innings (more baseball).
My only visit to Fenway pre-dated the monster seats. I remember being surprised at the cozy, almost intimate feel of the stadium (and the frustration of an obstructed view).

Unless there was some camera trickery happening, it looks to me like your rookie photo portrays a left-handed Boggs. Rev-neg? ;)
Section 36 said…
This is a fantastic post, and the photos are incredible. Especially the one with just a little bit of Section 36 in it! Always great to look at how the park has evolved over the years.
Matt said…
Those photos are amazing, and despite the Red Sox loss it sounds like a great game with lots of highlights from Hall of Fame players. Thanks for sharing!
Fuji said…
Wow. Fenway is truly beautiful. And you guys had great seats. There were so many big names sitting in these dugouts for that game. Super duper cool. I now understand why my friend documents so many things about her kids with her phone now. This post truly makes me jealous that I don't have an older photograph of me at Candlestick or the Coliseum.

I have no idea if or when I took my first photograph at a ballgame, but the first one according to my iphone records was at Chase Field on July 14, 2007. My parents used to take photos of my LL games, but I have any pictures of me going to A's or Giants games. I'll have to ask my brother if he ever took pictures.
TraderJack said…
Great photos! Great post! My wife and I went to quite a few A's and Giants games in 2012 and 2013 and I took a bunch of pictures. Fun to look back at them now. That really does look like Wade Boggs. Maybe he was messing around with a left handed glove. My guess is it could be Rick Miller.
gregory said…
Such great photos. You know what I like the best about them? There's no enormous digital screen in the background that's constantly busy flashing graphics and animation, no huge rows of speakers ready to blast music as soon as play stops. It's just a chain-link fence and then you have baseball pros playing baseball.
night owl said…
@TraderJack ~

Yeah, I'm thinking now it's Rick Miller. It does look like him, too.
Bo said…
Great photos! Would be cool to see the first one and maybe others cropped into an '83 Topps design.
Mark Hoyle said…
Yes that’s Miller
gcrl said…
I enjoyed this post. Nice to see fan photos from that era in a park other than dodger stadium. I already posted my photos from game 1 of the 88 world series, but I have some other game photos I've been thinking about posting. Hooefully you find some more to post, too.
Nick said…
These are so cool! I do admittedly try to take a few phone shots of every game I attend but they don't hold a candle to real, actual photographs. Also it's strange to me to see the Green Monster without seats -- before my time.
Jafronius said…
Very cool pictures!
RunForeKelloggs said…
I preferred the bleachers at Wrigley so not a great spot for pictures. I have one somewhere of me in the basket in early 1980s when ushers would look the other way. Not many others from the hundreds of games I attended.

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