Dickson: My first game, Yankee Stadium 1944

From Paul Dickson at The National Pastime Museum on August 25, 2014:

I was born on July 30, 1939, in Yonkers, New York. My neighborhood in South Yonkers, a few blocks out of the Bronx, was then, is now, and probably always will be New York Yankee territory. My first full month on Earth was Joe DiMaggio’s best month in pinstripes: Between August 1 and September 1, he batted .405, with 14 home runs and 52 RBIs. There were 10 games alone in which he produced three or more runs. At about this time Yankee broadcaster Arch McDonald—with an eye on the sleek, new 41-ton Pan American Airlines intercontinental Clipper aircraft—gave DiMaggio his most enduring nickname: The Yankee Clipper.

In September 1944, with the war still in full swing, my uncle George Cornell came home unexpectedly from the South Pacific for a few days of shore leave before he took on a new assignment, and he chose to spend one of them taking me, his adoring five-year-old nephew, to Yankee Stadium. We boarded the old Hudson River Day Liner in Yonkers, chugged downriver, and got off in the Bronx, where we grabbed a cab to the stadium. We arrived very early, as my uncle was a devotee of batting practice.

He was in the uniform of a Navy enlisted man with a chest full of campaign ribbons and the arm patch that identified him as a Seabee, a member of a Navy construction battalion, which, among other things, boarded damaged, often burning and sometimes sinking, ships and tried to salvage them. He served aboard the USS Agenor, a landing craft repair ship. His closest call came when he was suspended aloft on the tow between his ship and an abandoned ship in a boatswain’s chair when Japanese aircraft attacked. He was almost lost when the towline was nearly cut.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/my-first-game-yankee-stadium-1944

Originally published: August 25, 2014. Last Updated: August 25, 2014.