Saturday, August 03, 2013

Say Hello to your Dad

Recently, I was approached by those who knew Bobby Murcer, the former Yankee player and I was asked if I knew his story as a brain tumor victim. They had heard I raise money for brain tumor victims through Casey, my one man show on stage. They wanted to do a tribute for Bobby. I had a story of my own. I lost my friend Bobby to a brain tumor. He was only 62 years old. Bobby and I met in 1985. He had recently (1983) completed an excellent, if not legendary as once predicted career for the Yankees and I was taking my one man show, Casey to major league teams and this new concept, adult fantasy camps. Bobby and I were about the same age and as had been the case with Pistol Pete a decade earlier, Bobby and I became fast friends. T hen my dad entered the picture. I invited my dad into the Yankee clubhouse to meet guys who he had read about only in the newspaper and on bubble gum cards. My dad was always envious of my success and good fortune meeting celebs. Envy is a disease. Bobby was nice enough to come over and meet my dad. My dad sized Bobby up and said a little too loudly, in Ted Williams’ sound effects: “Bobby Murcer. You never lived up to that next Mickey Mantle prediction.” Want to get away? Bobby was gracious and excused himself. My dad looked at me sheepishly as if to ask “what did I say?” The next day I am pitching against the New York Yankees in a camp game in Fort Lauderdale Stadium. Who steps up to the plate? Bobby slams my first offering and almost takes my head off with the hot liner through the box. I feel a slight pinch to my left ear and when I reach up, I bring away a thin coating of fresh blood. I am dabbing at my wounded ear and look for sympathy to my new friend who by now has made it to first base. Bobby would have none of it. He is wearing this 100 watt gleaming smile on this bright south Florida November day and chortles: “Tell your dad I said hello.” I started to laugh. It was better than starting to cry. Bobby was a class cat. I miss him.

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