Tattered friend, I found you again, laying flat in a field of yesterday’s hope …
… Excerpt, The Pecan Park Eagle, 1993.
Today I had one of those once-in-a-blue-moon experiences that was unlike any other I can remember. I had call from 75-year old Cecil Holder.We had never spoken to each other before in our lives, even though we both grew up in the eastern part of the city and county. I’m from Pecan Park; Cecil is from Galena Park. he’s only two years older than me, but it was almost like receiving a phone call from myself to hear from him.
Cecil had called me after reading that Chronicle article about our SABR early Houston Baseball research project and simply wanted to share some of his own childhood experiences with baseball. It was almost like listening to someone who had lived out the alternate universe version of my own life. We both had had become hooked on the Houston Buffs and St. Louis Cardinals from an early age. Solly Hemus was our shared first hero in the game. Both of us hung out in Buff Stadium a whole lot. We just never met or talked until today.
The deja vu yes-it’s-me-again experience unfolded when Cecil tried to tell me about the trip he made to see the New York Yankees play the Houston Buffs at Buff Stadium in the spring of 1951. I was there too.
Cecil watched the Yankee-Buffs game from behind the roped-off fan section in left center field. So did I. We both are members of the rare surviving group 0f fans who got to see a game up close and in person that featured the great Joe DiMaggio in center field and the wonder boy kid named Mickey Mantle in right field. Cecil Holder and I witnessed the whole magical game a mere feet away from each other – but without ever meeting – just two Houston kids who would not make contact or talk with each other for another sixty years from that golden day in both our memories.
It made my day.- I even pointed out the irony. “Cecil,” I said, “if we had just grown up in the same neighborhood, we would have met and competed on the same sandlot a very long time ago – and probably have become lifelong friends.” Cecil just chuckled in agreement. “There’s no doubt about it,” he said.
Isn’t life weird?