Monday, June 09, 2008

The Ponce de Leon Ball Park postcards.



These are not real post cards I bought off a rack or anything. I found them while surfing on the net, and since it is baseball season, I thought I would include them.

The Ponce de Leon Ball park, home of the Atlanta Crackers, was located just across Ponce de Leon Avenue from the big tall Sears Building in Atlanta.

I have been to several Cracker games, a couple of times with my Little League team each year and a couple of times with the Boy Scout troop I was in each year too.

One time I even stood at the Cracker’s home plate and batted… or I stood there with a bat anyway. I wasn’t a very good ball player and sat on the bench most the time. Our team was in some kind of playoffs. We were losing terribly. It was two outs and our coach Romeo Hudgins sent me in as a replacement, or whatever. I stood there, ready to knock the ball out of the stadium and behind me the catcher was saying all kinds of things to intimidate me …. I thought he must not realize which one of us was holding the bat… and about that time the pitcher threw the ball and it went by me so fast I could here it sing and the umpire behind me said “Strike” I wanted to say, “Ok, but what are you going to do about the catcher intimidating me?”

Then, another strike. And another strike and the game was over. I was glad, I didn’t really have much of a plan if I happened to hit the ball.

Every time we went to the stadium as spectators we got good seats. I don’t know if it was a lack of people or what. The stadium was concrete with an overhang to protect us from the weather… it could rain, hail, sleet, or snow and us lily white humans would be protected from the weather and the blaring sun. On the other hand, down the first base line, was the “Colored Section” which was shaky blenchers with no-type kind of weather protection. Shame shame.

One time, with the scout troop my little devil of a friend Jimmy Pat Presley try buying a cigar at the concession stand and they sold it to him. Then we all went down and bought cigars.

We had our own little smoking club – we went high up in the nose bleed section so the scout master couldn’t see us and smoked. We were not watching the game anyway. I remember, as we puffed our cigars we tried to think of cigar commercial jingles. One, I remember, went like this, “HAV-A-TAMPA CIGAR TODAY!” To the tune of “Two bits and a haircut”… also, something like “HAV-A-TAMPA CIGAR….LAAAAA!!!” - with about four of us with our right arm out, like just finishing a musical score. We were trying to rhyme Cigar and LAAAA. We had another pretty good one with Muriel Cigars, but I forgot.

This doesn’t have anything to do with Ponce de Leon Stadium, but worth mentioning anyway: There was a radio announcer in Atlanta, Henry somebody, I think Henry Thompson. By day he was a DJ with the named “Hank the Prank” Hank the Prank had all kinds of nifty bells, whistles, sirens, and what-all that was very entertaining when he had his show. In the evening during baseball season, he was Henry whatever, sport announcer for the Crackers. He used his sound effects expertise during the game also. I understand he was not really at the game but was in a studio reading a play-by-play teletype and if there was hit, his pencil hit something that sounded like a bat hitting the ball and then if it was a homerun he would play his roaring crowd tape…. You get the idea.

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