Bob Wilber is the youngest of Del and Taffy Wilber's five children. After spending seven years in professional baseball, as a player, coach, and scout, he began a sports marketing and management career that now spans more than 25 years.
Ballparks have stories. All of them. That’s one of the wonderful things about ballparks, whether they be Major League cathedrals or small rickety yards buried deep in the minors, they are all full of stories. The locations, the quirky angles, the momentous occasions, the humbling gaffes, and the fields or the grandstands themselves could all tell tales forever, if they could only talk. It’s up to us, the players and staff members who toiled in so many classic ball yards, to do the reminiscing and communicating, and that’s what this installment of Bob On Baseball will do. I shall endeavor to recount as many stories as my memory will dig up, about every ballpark I visited as a pro.
College. To many, the word likely brings to mind stately 200-year old brick buildings covered in ivy, with amphitheater classrooms where white-haired professors lecture “on stage” in front of a wall of chalkboards. Or possibly it just brings to mind John Belushi and the cast of “Animal House”. My college years were plentifully hilarious, and full of the best friends a guy could make, but Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville was a long way from Harvard.
The date was September 29, 1979. The place was Royals Stadium in Kansas City. The Oakland A’s were in town for a three-game series against the Royals, one that would mark the end of another dreadful season, and on this night they would go down to their 108th loss on the year, taking it on the chin 6-2. Mike Morgan was the losing pitcher, dropping his record to 2-10.
Sometimes it comes in a moment of clarity. The themes that run through your life become apparent, with the dots so clearly connected it’s a wonder it didn’t all seem so obvious for so many years. I spent a few days back in Minnesota this past week, and when I boarded the plane to return to our home in Spokane it all seemed so impossible to miss. This is a story of connection, to a place, to so many people, and to the Minnesota Twins.
The baseball postseason tends to bring a lot of “lost” or forgotten fans back to the fold, if only temporarily. One has to assume it’s the massive national attention, if not the prime-time games on major networks, that somehow snare those previously semi-interested followers and get them to pay attention again, if only for a night or a few innings. Frankly, that’s a good thing.
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