It was Old-Timers Day 1973 in New York, billed
as the “50th Anniversary Tribute to Yankee Stadium,” featuring as many of the living 1923 Yankees players as they
could find. I was 12 years old. My aunt and uncle took me to the game, and we arrived at a “heavenly early”
time, so early that most of the players were probably still asleep. Anyway, soon they all began to arrive, DiMaggio,
Mantle, Dickey, et. al., and I started to cry from joy.
As I wiped my eyes on the sleeve of my
shirt my uncle yells, “Tim, Tim, over here, over here!” As I run toward him, sniffling during the last stages
of this cry, a large limousine pulls up and both the back doors are opened by security personnel. With absolute disbelief,
my mouth wide open, I watched Mrs. Babe (Claire) Ruth and Mrs. Lou (Eleanor) Gehrig exit the vehicle. The ladies looked
resplendent in what I called “Easter Hats,” wide-brimmed classy 1920’s hats with outfits to match.
I was trembling! They moved slowly through the throng that habitually gathered at the press entrance prior to games
back then and right past me. Since we were right up front, thanks to our early arrival, I thrust my little hand out
toward them. As they walked by, waving like royalty, Mrs. Gehrig touched my hand. Only a diehard Gehrig fan could imagine
how I felt, this hand that had taken such care of the great Lou Gehrig and had hugged him so tight had just touched me.
To this day I cry when I think of
it, as I’m doing now.
The pregame introductions got under
way to thunderous applause when, near the end, Mel Allen says, “ Ladies and Gentlemen, sitting in the box seats near
the Yankee dugout, please welcome Mrs. Babe Ruth and Mrs. Lou Gehrig.” You have never, and will never, hear such
an ovation in your life! The fans rose as one amidst a thunderous roar to salute not only the ladies, but their husbands
who made that very day possible. Yep, I started to cry again and, to this day, that one afternoon was the most perfect
day of my life!
Written by Tim R.