I believe this photo, Every Young Man’s Dream by Ryan Southen, is my favorite baseball photo, ever. And I have seen a lot of baseball photos, probably more than most of you. I say this not to brag, but as fact. My father, Allan L. McFarlane loved the game of baseball in a way that brought him and and out of close dancing with the game.
His dad caught for GM’s semipro team and he was a good enough pitcher to get a scholarship … then blew his arm out. Tommy John surgery had not yet been invented. He attended hundreds of games and brought me to many as well. I saw one of Ron Leflore’s first home games and can still hear my dad say after LeFlore beat out a hard infield grounder “You’ll never see a man run that fast on a baseball field again because I never did until today.” He had a sports TV show and I met folks like Al Kaline and Mark “The Bird” Fidrych as his rookie season and brief legend was born. He schemed with Bill Veeck to have a White Sox catcher catch a ball thrown from the Sears Tower (they had to give it up when informed the ball would have killed the catcher). He was the GM of the Wausau Timbers, a Class A ball club in Wisconsin that somehow had 12 future major leaguers including Harold Reynolds for one magical season.
Beyond all that, he taught me to play the game and love the game. I was a cheap date as a kid. A tennis ball, my glove, the barn wall and my imagination were about all I required to stay amused – enraptured with the myth of the greatest game.
I tell you this so you might know how happy I am that these magical Detroit Tigers are starting the World Series tonight. And also how sad I am that my dad can’t be here to watch just one more Series.