By MICK HOLIEN
I confess I am a lifetime baseball fan who was exposed to the Nation’s pastime before I was double digit aged.
My namesake uncle told me to gather up my Sears purchased glove cuz we were headed an hour down the Columbia gorge across the river to Multnoma Stadium in downtown Portland where the hometown Beavers were to square off against the Eugene Emeralds in a Northwest League matchup when imo continues.
Initially being more attracted to the popcorn vendor than the game it took little time into Uncle Mick’s game explanation and a penciled scorebook before I was hooked.
I was only able to see a few games traveling from my home in Stevenson, Wash.
But after we moved to Spokane my passion for the game was deeper fueled when I discovered a neighbor was the local sports editor and his was more than willing to take me along to Ferris Field where the Spokane Indians played.
I remember little about individual games other than he taught me the nuances of keeping score in such a way that he could journey from the press box during the game only to return after listening on the radio – go figure the radio would be part of this tale – collect the scorebook, put me on a bus for the trip home while he went downtown to write the game story 9(for the next morning’s newspaper.
Ironically his son, a few years younger than I, started his journalism career years later in Missoula. Always a small world.
The Indians moved from a low-level league, building a new stadium down the road at the Fairgrounds to the Triple A Pacific Coast League opening on April 17, 1958, according to a picture I took of my Dad, while just 14 I quickly applied for a job even if it was prowling the stands yelling.
And it wasn’t long until I worked my way into the clubhouse picking up jocks, towels unis and anything else that needed my attention and heading to the washer.
And thus began a three-year sojourn where I was surrounded that first year by Manager Preston Gomez and the likes of future major leagues Maury Wills, Larry Sherry, and Jim Gentile.
And in subsequent years there were a horde more but my association with the Indians led me to a night in 1946 that we’ll talk about next week.