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Baseball, maybe more than any other sport, connects fathers and their children. Watching games, Recalling seasons and players, the great and not-so-great, bind across generations.
MLB celebrates Father’s Day with a variety of mostly cause-related events. And baseball-themed gift ideas are always a big part of the holiday.
Empire City in Westchester County, N.Y., is offering fans a special opportunity on Sunday, when a few New York baseball stars of the past line up for a series of Q&A sessions, beginning at 11:30. Ralph Branca, Ed Kranepool, Ron Swoboda, Roy White, Ron Darling and Darryl Strawberry will be on hand to share stories about their careers and what Father’s Day means to them.
A few of them discussed memories of their dads and Father’s Day with Going 9 Baseball this week.
Swoboda: I’m lucky that at almost 68, my dad is still living and still sharp as a tack at 90. We still have a full relationship. He was a gunner in a B-29 bomber off the island of Tinian in World War II, and I have gone to a bunch of reunions, met a bunch of people who used to be in his fight crew. It’s a strong memory for me, and a very strong connection between us. I’ve researched a lot of World War II history, so I have a better idea of what he went through.
Branca: Mostly it’s about family. Father’s Day meant a house full of kids, grandparents, sitting on my father’s lap. Memories of nieces and nephews and the rest of the family, that’s what I remember most.
Darling: I think the biggest memory for me is that he used to work three or four jobs. He’s a really hard-working guy. It didn’t matter how many jobs or how long he worked, he always would hit my brother and I 100 ground balls and throw 100 pitches for us to hit, so my greatest memory is how he was such an influence on my career. He always found time to play ball with us. And, since he’s such a blue-collar guy, he instilled in me how I approached pitching – never missing a start, never going on the disabled list, what blue collar people do – they go to work every day whether they like it or not. This was my shining example.
White: I have early memories of my father’s job, he was an artist and sculptor. I remember going into his study to see his new projects. He was a great artist and I always enjoyed seeing his new pieces I was very interested in art as a young kid.
Topics: B 29 Bomber, Baseball Stars, Collar Guy, Darryl Strawberry, Ed Kranepool, Empire City, Ground Balls, Gunner, Nieces And Nephews, Ralph Branca, Related Events, Ron Darling, Ron Swoboda, Roy White, Sharp As A Tack, Tinian, Westchester County, World War Ii, World War Ii History, York Baseball