By Tony Hooker
On August 8, 1992 something magical happened.
And I’m not talking about the Cubs beating the Mets 4-3 when Mark Grace hit a sac fly in the bottom of the ninth off of Lee Guetterman to score Doug Dascenzo. The Mets lineup that day featured Vince Coleman leading off, with Eddie Murray batting cleanup. Doc Gooden was the starter for the Mets that day, and the baby bears touched him for 7 hits and 3 runs in 4 and 2/3 innings. The Cubs, who improved to 54-55 on the year with the win, featured a lineup that included future hall of famer Ryne Sandberg and all time Cubs great Mark Grace. The starting pitcher that day was Frank Castillo, who would finish his career with a record of 82-104.
I’m also not talking about the Cardinals’ wasting another fine start by Bob Tewksbury in falling to the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1. The Pirates got a two out RBI double from Barry Bonds and a sac fly from Andy Van Slyke that made a winner out of Bob Walk, who had the most unfortunate last name for a pitcher in MLB history, to my way of thinking. The Cardinals lone run came when Craig Wilson singled to score Ray Lankford in the bottom of the fourth. The loss dropped the Cardinals to 51-59 on the season, while the Pirates moved to 62-48, with a 3-1/2 game lead over the Montreal Expos in the NL East. The Pirates would go on to win the East by 9 games, while the Cards would eventually overtake the swooning Cubs and move to third place in the division, 13 games back. Chicago finished 18 games off the pace. (I had to look up the above stats on the superb baseball reference site, I’m not that big of a sports geek!)
I’m not talking about my cousins, Bill and Dawn, sneaking in early and stealing Sacred Heart Catholic Church for their big day either, although that has led to nearly three decades of annual back and forth between us.
Of course, I’m talking about the day I outkicked my coverage in the marriage department when I somehow convinced the little brown-haired girl to say I do. Twenty-eight fantastic years, filled with love and laughter, and a few struggles. I had no idea what I was doing at the time, I just thought she was the prettiest girl I ever met, and then she turned out to be the glue that holds everything together. The super sports mama who never missed a game. Den mother, chauffeur, partner in crime, she’s done them all and done them well, and I shudder to think of where I would be without her. Here’s to the next few decades, dear.