Friday, May 2, 2008

Blue Moon Odom Shook My Hand


Thursday night seemed like a bad idea.

Y'see, I spent all day Wednesday in Washington DC, before boarding a 6:00 PM flight out of Dulles. As I'll outline later in my travel diary, it was one of the most turbulent plane rides I've ever been on. And, considering I never sleep well in hotel rooms, I would guess that I've averaged only 3 ½ to 4 hours of shut-eye every night this week. My flight over the Lost island just ensured that I'd be too wound up for any quality Z's in my own bed, as well.

I dragged my somnambulant Black ass into work on Thursday so that I could assist in the completion of a huge proposal. I'd scored tickets to the fourth and final game of a series between the Oakland A's and Los Angeles Angels (first pitch, 7:05 PM) hoping to be able to leave the office at 12:30 PM, power-nap until 2:30 and then hit the open road (and enclosed gridlock) at 2:45 PM.

Everything went according to plan…save for the leaving the office at 12:30 and power-napping until 2:30 parts. I did, however, find time to change into an A's throwback jersey. I honestly can't remember the last time I saw the A's win in person, but I did remember that my 1998 Rickey Henderson alternate green, my 1995 Dave Stewart road gray and my 1983 Mike Norris home gold brought me no luck, recently. So, it seemed like the right night for good ol' 1973 John "Blue Moon" Odom psychedelic yellow.

For the 99% of my readership wondering…Odom was a pitcher for the A's from 1968 thru 1975. He was a two-time All-Star who was famous for three things: (1) his nickname which, depending on who you believe, was either a childhood reference to his round face or a "Catfish" Hunter-like creation of A's owner Charlie Finley, (2) a violent fight with teammate Rollie Fingers prior to a 1974 World Series game over Fingers' soon-to-be ex-wife and (3) a cocaine and heroin habit that prematurely ruined his career.

Our seats were first level behind the visitors' dugout. It was 15 minutes prior to game time, when an older African-American gentleman shuffled across our row. He was craning his neck and twisting his torso in what appeared to be an attempt to see my face.

And, thanks to the insane amount of A's propaganda I've read and watched over the years, I recognized Blue Moon instantly. His playing height and weight have always been listed at 6'0" and 185 lbs, respectively. He was either lying back then or has shrunk with age. His face wore a childlike Christmas grin from ear-to-ear as he excitedly expressed, "You're wearin' my jersey!"

We only talked for a minute or two – Odom went on and on about the jersey and how great it was that someone remembered him, while I stumbled over my words in explaining how long I've been an A's fan, how much I like our kids this year and how great it was to meet him. Before he left, he asked me to show the jersey to his wife and she seemed to get just as big a kick out of it as he did.

The A's went on to beat the tar out of the Angels, 15-8 and split the four-game series with the team that I hate more than Tina Fey and racism, combined.

Thursday night was a good idea.

5 comments:

Josh said...

Someday, I will tell my kids that Storm Davis shook my hand (that is the Baltimore equivalent, correct?)

JPinAZ said...

I suppose that's better than having the Angel's bullpen throw chicken bones at you. Or having Rob Deucy flip you off.

Josh Gibson said...

nice work meeting an original negro leagues player.

"Best I'se could remember, he threw 125 mph and made Cy Young look like an amateur"

That Bootleg Guy said...

Josh - I think Sidney Ponson would've been the Orioles equivalent. Oil Can Boyd for the Red Sox, Floyd Youmans for the Phillies and so on.

JP - Ah, Rob Ducey. Angry, angry young fifth outfielder.

Josh said...

Um, Blue Moon Odom was not GREAT, but he was an all-star who won a couple of world titles. Sidney Ponson was a fat fuck who got arrested multiple times and just got worse and worse as the "ace" of our staff during its darkest days.

Put it this way. You have a Blue Moon Odom jersey. I'd kick Sidney Ponson in his fat Aruban vagina if I saw him. They are not the same.