Fan packed Seals Stadium, the first day of big league ball on the West Coast. April 15th, 1958. History is in the making. From the bleachers, a youngster looks upon his newest hero. Playing first base is the rookie known as the Baby Bull, Orlando Cepeda. At the plate, Gino Cimoli of the Dodgers awaits the first pitch in San Francisco Giants history from Ruben Gomez.
"No batter, no batter."
"Strike out da‚ bum."
The crowd is excited. They are there to cheer their new team on. I'm there, too -- my first game. But instead of yelling, I'm eating crackerjacks and chewing bubblegum. They don't go well together. I reach into my mouth and pull out a wad. Then I place it on my finger, bend my head downward, and reach my hand under the seat.
"I hope he doesn't gum up the works."
I look up. It's my father. He must have seen me. I begin to look remorseful.
"Well, you never know with a rookie batting cleanup. But I think he'll do all right."
"Uncle Bob, he'll do better than all right. He'll be a star." I begin to smile and give my attention to the game.
Despite the passing years, it is a day I remember as though it were just yesterday. The Giants won the game, 8-0, and Cepeda--now enshrined as a member of the Hall of Fame--hit a home run in just his second Major League at-bat.