When I was a child I always dreamed of being the closing pitcher for the New York Yankees. I could see Yogi jumping up in agony after having his palm blistered by my blazing fast ball. In order to hone an already deadly aim I would throw rocks. One day while standing in the middle of our country road chunkin’ rocks at grasshoppers, a man stopped, watched a minute or two, and finally asked, “Hey, boy! Ever play any baseball? Ever pitch?” I said, “You bet.” (Of course I had never pitched a baseball, only chunked rocks at grasshoppers, rats and fence posts.) He told me he needed a pitcher for his team, the Saint Jo Bankers, and I assured him that I was the man for the job.
I never practiced with the team, just showed up for the first game. Having thrown rocks at grasshoppers and rodents all my life with the intention of killing the little pests, I guess I thought the same principle applied to batters. After hitting the first four, I attempted to regulate my accuracy by pitching outside — the first pitch went sailing into the dugout. I threw several several over the backstop and even hit the third baseman one time.
After about 15 walks (still in the top of the first inning) the coach came out and said he thought he should take me out of the game. I said, “Oh no, I started and I’d like to finish.” Coach said, “Well, just throw it up there and let them hit it.” I replied, “That’s what I’ve been trying to do for the past hour.”
Finally, after only about 31 or 32 batters, and learning the secret of softly lobbing the ball over the plate, we retired the side. Sadly, I also was retired. Although my dreams of being the closing hurler for the Yankees were shattered, I’m pretty sure my 28 walks set some kind of record.