As a kid, summers were our favorite time of year, but as the spring approached we couldn't wait until school's final period ended so that we could rush the streets, and make our way down the block toward Shadt's field; The one at the corner of Burnett and Texas. We kept our bats behind the old woman's fence that owned the home beside this field, and once we grabbed our baseball gloves from our backpacks, we would then sling them someplace along the fence line. We played with tennis balls because beyond that field there was an alley, and then the backside of homes on the other side of that alley. We knew that there would either be a large gap in the time between games to be played, or a complete cease from playing period if we were to use baseballs and have broken a neighbor's window, so we just kept it simple.
The grass was seldom kept cut snug to the ground, but at best it never got taller than our high shins, and we didn't have true base markers, so we often used torn cardboard or large rocks as those. Most games would be five on five. On defense we'd have a pitcher, two infielders, and two outfielders. There was no need for a catcher, because the guys on offense that weren't batting would act as that. These times were great ones, and we mostly played from the second school let out, until it got dark. This was where I first learned to cuss, where I chewed tobacco for the first time, and had my first smoke. I had my first beer sitting along that fence, and though it was warm and disgusting, it was also great, and after I burp-barfed back up the warm sudsy beer that I had taken down for the first time, I then felt like a man. During my youth, this is where I spent so many of my days, and this is where I made some of my best friends. These were some of the best times of my life.
Photo Courtesy of Marty Pearl
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