Posted by: Howard Silverblatt on November 6, 2009
This was my ninth New York Yankees World Series parade and my sons first. There are no more $5 hats ($35 for the ‘official’ ones and $10 for the ‘others’), most of the windows don’t open, Broadway was closed-off by 11AM (start time), and there is no more tape, just purchased shredded paper. But I’ve waited nine years to pass on the tradition that my mother first taught to me in 1961 (my father had taken me to the last game of the regular season that year, in which Maris hit 61, breaking Ruth’s record). My mother was a Yankee fan, she lived a few blocks from the stadium, and dated her games back to the early 30s. Her parents were both immigrants and there was no better way back then to show your new pride than being a baseball fan, especially if you lived in the Bronx. Her big item was being at the stadium on July 4, 1939, when Lou Gehrig made his final speech; her father brought her a souvenir ball that day with Gehrig’s name on it. Many years ago I stole that ball from my mother, and joked that it would pay for my kids’ first years’ tuition. Two years ago, my son, who attended his first NYY parade today, as well as the first game at the new Yankee Stadium, stole that ball from me. It sits in a case, in his room, on a mantel. However, unknown to him, behind the case there are two notes. The first is from my mother, saying that the ball is now his. The second, I wrote, and is dated July 4, 2039, and addressed to “David’s child”. It says that I stole the ball from my mother, that their father stole it from me, and that today, July 4, 2039, on the 100 year anniversary of Gehrig’s speech, they need to steal it from their farther, my son. I don’t know, or care, if my grandchildren will be Yankee fans, but I sure hope they will understand tradition; it took me a lot of years to get there, thanks mom.