By Craig Muder
It was the day before Induction Sunday, so this moment in the first-base dugout at Doubleday Field was a rare chance to sit down.
One-hundred yards away, the Hall of Fame Awards Presentation was just getting started. On the stage was Terry Cashman, telling the assembled crowd about how he came to write his classic piece of baseball nostalgia “Talkin’ Baseball (Willie, Mickey and The Duke).”
I was tired, I was hot (Saturday featured another day of 90-plus degree temperatures in Cooperstown) and I was thinking about the next item on my to-do list.
And then Terry Cashman started to sing.
The Whiz Kids had won it; Bobby Thomson had done it; and Yogi read the comics all the while…
I have never felt tears well up that quickly.
We’re talking baseball; Kluszewski, Campanella…
Suddenly, it was 1981 all over again. I was 12 years old, in love with this game and its history, and Terry Cashman was singing to me. I decoded each line of the song like it was a treasure.
Talkin’ baseball; The Man and Bobby Feller…
The first time I heard that song, I knew there were kindred spirits out there. Others felt the same love, and Cashman had captured that feeling. In the days before the internet and when ESPN was in its infancy, the song was a unifying force.
The Scooter, The Barber and the Newk; They knew them all from Boston to Dubuque…
All the controversies, trials and quibbling, it’s all just background noise. This game can still be perfect; and the memory of it can still make me cry.
It was all on display this weekend in Cooperstown.
Especially Willie, Mickey and The Duke…
Thank you, Terry, for giving us fans our piece of history. And thank you for coming to Cooperstown.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum