Fan Of 1967 Jamestown Team Will Be Glued To Every Pitch
Braves In Fall Classic For The First Time Since 1999
It does not matter today where one might be on the planet, one can tune into the World Series. I’ve been doing it for years, only now I do not have to find a sports pub with a gigantic dish out the back and watch games delayed on a grainy screen because the owner has illegally tapped into the Armed Forces Network.
Today, for $39.95 a month, I can stream MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL the PGA Tour (my top five) in real time on a 52-inch HD screen with surround sound. I am happy. Such is the world we live in and I’m especially grateful to God + Satellite Technology for allowing me to follow the Atlanta Braves in the World Series.
Houston, I admit, is not my favorite city. And forget that the Astros cheated once, there is no suggestion they cheated this year. If they win, it will be because they have a team playing better at the right time.
But I’m cheering for Atlanta because once there was a Jamestown Braves, an New York-Penn League affiliate of Atlanta, in 1967.
That summer my father became my de facto agent and arranged for me to be the team’s batting practice catcher. He wanted nothing less for my brother Dave and I to play pro ball and, in my case, setting up behind the plate trapped in a cage and getting a foul tip in the jewels was like an initiation of some sort.
But that’s how I came to know the manager, Fritz “Harry” Dorish, and most of the team, among whom Dennis Dalton, Bob Churchich, Andy Finlay, Chet Bergalowski and Dick Grant remain in my memory.
Dalton because he stood 6 foot, 4 inches and was a serious pitching prospect. Harry asked me to be at the stadium early (4 p.m.) to catch for Dennis in the bullpen while he worked with the kid’s delivery. Harry knew a thing or two because in the 1950s he pitched for the Red Sox, White Sox and St. Louis Browns.
Churchich because he played quarterback for Nebraska, and I recalled seeing him play on TV.
Andy Finlay because he was a “bonus baby” who I was told pocketed $100,000 for signing (in the 1960s!) but as a centerfielder had no better arm than me (in my objective opinion) and seemed to strike out a lot. I could have used that money.
And finally, the catcher, Chet Bergalowski, and first baseman Dick Grant, who I felt had the best shot at making it to the show. “Bergy” could hit (might have led the team in batting) and throw and as he too was from Mississippi it’s fair to say he had the stamina and endurance of a Brett Farve.
Dick Grant was an imposing left-handed first basemen who batted from the left. He hit the ball a mile. Watching the current Braves march into the World Series, Grant was Freddie Freeman at 20 years of age.
So, because of modern technology, I will be glued to each pitch. While respecting the Astros as the good team they clearly are, may the Braves get it done in memory of the ’67 Jamestown Braves, and it does not matter to me one bit that none of the five young men in uniform noted here ever made it to the top.
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Tom Hyde is the son of former Post-Journal sports editor Frank Hyde. He lives in New Zealand.