30 October, 2014    #22

Before the Beginning

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As I recall, it was not an especially exciting game.  We were playing a high school from Miami and the bleachers behind home plate were almost empty as most spectators had decided to call it a night.  Key West High School was ahead by 6 or 7 runs and it was the bottom of the 8th inning. 


With an empty social agenda, Bobby and I decided to take advantage of recently vacated seats and positioned ourselves behind the umpire, about ten feet from the batter.  Basically, we were killing time trying to figure out what to do after the game.


A few classmates joined us as we casually chatted while anticipating the inevitable win.   Approaching the batter’s box, my chemistry lab partner looked across an empting stadium and assumed his stance in the batter’s box.   “Ball One”, shouted the ump.  I was turned around talking to a classmate when all of a sudden we were startled by what seemed to be a sharp compression blast from a high powered weapon.


As I righted myself towards the field in astonishment, my eyes watched a baseball rising into the clear night sky.  It was an elevated line drive, lifting without the arc of gravity, gracefully flying over on-looking outfielders, beyond the left field fence and high above illuminating lights, while continuing to rise and disappearing into the darkness.


That blast froze the stadium exodus with an eerie silence. Unknowingly, we had just witnessed the beginning of a great baseball career.


John Wesley "Boog" Powell was signed by the Baltimore Orioles in 1959 and made his debut as a First Baseman in the fall of 1961.  He also played for the Cleveland Indians and LA Dodgers.  Boog received the American League Most Valuable Player Award in 1970.


Boog was a gentle giant and a memorable lab partner in Mr. Lazier’s chemistry class.  At well over 6 feet and 220 pounds, exactly double my weight, I always felt protected by our partnership.  By the way, that ball was never found and is still rising over Key West, on the edge of the Bermuda Triangle!


Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals for a spectacular 2014 World Series!


Mike Kohut, President, DDMS




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