While having a mini reunion with some guys Saturday night down at the brewery, and with our Dodgers in the NLCS, the topic of baseball was obviously in the air.
I was talking with Ken Kordich about one particular season when we were young; it was around 1980. Kordich and John Matich were on the Giants, the most dominating team in the league on Opening Day. I was on the Padres, a team that had lots of work to do. In a scrimmage game before the season started, I think the Giants beat us like 27-2.
As Ken and I were reminiscing, a dude I didn’t recognize walked up and says, “You were on the Padres???” “Yeah,” I said. “I’m Jace. Coach Clint was my Dad. They guy almost fell down. “Dude!” he said, “I’m Joe Mahoney!!!”
Oh man. It’s true. Joe Mahoney was the tallest guy on our team. I need to go out to my folks’ place and dig up the team photos. The 1980 Padres in black and gold: JD Torres, Rich Iacono, Mike Duran, Bobby Lucido, Louie Mardesich, Mikie Kozachenko, Mike Stavros, Dino Lambropoulos, Jerry Tello…
And so, after catching up on some of the basic life details, Joe and I stood there, remembering how our baseball season ended that year:
With the Giants killing everybody in the league all season, we scrapped along, and ended up prevailing in our own way, winning enough games to face off against the Giants in the playoff series at the end of the summer. Big stuff. PA system, flags, new chalk lines, the whole deal. JD Torres and I opened up the game with back-to-back homeruns off Matich, and we never looked back. It was like something out of the Karate Kid. Joe also reminded me of a play at the plate. He was our base runner, and a big Giant pitcher by the name of Milo was covering home plate as Joe came storming down the line, setting up a dramatic collision between two of the biggest kids in the league. Joe flattened Milo and was safe, scoring. We were so proud of Big Joe that day!
Anyway, what a time. Those are the memories you take with you for the rest of your life. I wish everybody could have an experience like that. And, man, what we wouldn’t pay for video footage.