Edson: The Funniest Baseball All-Star Game Ever
Every July, at this time of the year, baseball hosts its annual All-Star game.
Of the four major sports, baseball’s all-star game is by far the best. Why? Because the players actually try to hit, play defense and pitch.
In my mind, the other all-star games are a joke… where little or no defense is played and the players are half-hearted in their efforts.
Which brings me to the funniest all-star game I ever saw.
Actually, it started off very seriously, but later turned out to be one of the biggest laughs – and misunderstandings – that ever happened in our family.
Growing up, my brother and I joined our neighbors to play baseball and Whiffleball (a plastic baseball) in our backyard. As we got older, we played in the Chain-O-Lakes Little League. The playing ages were 8-to-14.
One of the early thrills of my life was getting selected to an all-star game the first year I was eligible, age eight. My brother was two years older and he made it, also.
The problem was, we were facing a pitcher from Acme who was unhittable. He was so big and threw so hard, no one could get a hit off him.
So I had my strategy all figured out. I had pretty good speed, so I was going to lay a bunt down the third base line and leg it out for a hit. I’d be celebrated by the neighborhood gang, I figured.
First, however, my brother had to bat before I did. He had purchased a new Timex watch a couple days earlier and decided – despite my dad’s protests – to wear it during the game.
So on the third pitch he faced, my brother got hit on his left wrist by a fastball from the Acme ace. My brother went down in a heap, grabbing his wrist. When he glanced up at the injury, he started crying uncontrollably.
My parents rushed down to the field, our younger sisters in tow.
“Oh my gosh, I’ll bet his wrist is broken,” said my mom. “We better get him to the doctor!”
They started running to the car with him as I stepped into the batter’s box. I love my brother, but geez, this was my first all-star game at-bat.
Seconds later, before I could face a pitch, they raced back to get me. I left the game without facing a pitch.
On the way to the doctor’s office, my brother stopped crying long enough to announce he felt terrible about the pitch hitting his new Timex watch and breaking it.
“Well, what about your wrist?” my dad asked.
“Oh, my wrist is fine. I’m just sad about my watch,” said my brother, drying off his tears.
After two or three awkward seconds, the rest of the family burst into laughter.
“Maybe we should turn around and make sure Nicky gets to bat,” said one of my sisters.
We all laughed at that, too.
My folks were so relieved that his wrist wasn’t broken, they decided on a good Plan B.
We would stop by the Dairy Queen and everyone would get an ice cream cone.
When you’re a kid in the early 1960s, it doesn’t get much better than that. So the six of us celebrated our good fortune together.
Years later, I can look back at that all-star game as the funniest one I’ve ever been part of.
Nick Edson is a retired Hall of Fame columnist and sportswriter. He worked 25 years at the Traverse City Record-Eagle, 18 as sports editor. He is a two-time president of the Associated Press Sports Editors Association and a member of the Michigan Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.