Daily Craig: Foul ball
I sometimes get nostalgic, or is it because I stood up too fast? I was mowing the front 40 at the C&C Ranch when it struck me that of the hundreds of games I have either covered or been to as a civilian, I have only caught one foul ball at a Big League Park. I have been very close other times but only once did I PICK ONE OFF, raise my fist in salute and then give the ball to a friend sitting next to me.
It was in the Dome in the early 90's and the Cubs were in town. Steve Finley of the Astros fouled off the pitch and of course he starred at Southern Illinois University before his MLB days. I admit I didn't make much of a play as the ball bounced off the concrete 20 below where I was sitting but I made a clean pickup off the short hop. Dee Fondy would have been proud.
After the game I took the ball to the Astros clubhouse in the bowels of Judge Roy's place to get Finley's autograph for my pal. Steve was happy to sign for another Saluki.
Two OTHER STORIES came to mind. I was in school at SIU and went to a Cards game with some fraternity brothers. Dave Needham caught a home run. He was a basketball player at SIU but came up big with a fine catch. He did tear his trousers in the process. His only trousers.
At Comiskey Park in Chicago a guy I KNOW caught a foul and was laughing with excitement. IT WAS HIS FIRST. He and a friend went to the parking lot only to see two bandidos trying to steal his car. He threw the prized foul ball at the two, hitting one in the head. One of the great parking lot throws ever. However, the other guy grabbed the ball and took off running. Sometimes you just don't catch a break. Maybe a ball, but not a break.