We all have a moment that nudges us down the path toward fandom. This is my story of watching Robin Yount’s 3,000 hit with my dad on September 9, 1992.
3,000 is a big number. Especially when you’re a kid obsessed with baseball. I was 8 years old on a cool, unassuming late-summer evening. Dinner was finished, dishes were washed and put away. The local news on television turned to sports. The reporter, well, reported that there were still tickets available for the Brewers game that night.
We were sure that there wouldn’t be!
My father seized the opportunity, for, you see, this wasn’t any ordinary night. This night was destined to live on forever in Milwaukee, a city hungry for baseball legend.
My brother, three years younger and with belly full, had fallen asleep on the couch. My mom, deciding to stay home with him, brewed a thermos full of hot chocolate for my dad and me to share. We hustled out the door to the Milwaukee County Stadium ticket window.
Lower Grandstand Section 20. Row 32. Seats 23 and 24. $20.
(In retrospect, that was a fair amount of money for my dad to spare, raising a young family with my mom on a tight budget. He really wanted this to be special for me. Thanks, Dad!)
Our seats were on the aisle in the very last row of the lower grandstand. Third base side. Not bad. The best seats I’d ever sat in thus far in my 8-year-old life. But, any time the ball was popped into the air, it disappeared from sight. The upper grandstand overhang was a bit of a nuisance, but who was I to complain? I had my dad, the Brewers, and a thermos of hot chocolate.
The game moved along quickly, but in about the 4th inning, a gentleman, walking up the aisle, paused by our side.
“Excuse me, are you two together?”
My dad and I looked at each other, “Yes, we are.”
“Oh, well, I just got invited to a box seat on the mezzanine and won’t be using these tickets. Would you like them?”
8th row behind home plate. My dad’s lucky number. This is when I learned about, and embodied, the expression “walking on air.”
I’d never been surrounded by so much anticipation. Robin Yount stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 7th inning. The first pitch carried with it a massive contingent of flashing lights. Strike. Everyone held on to Robin’s swing. With the 0-1 pitch, he laced a single to right field, collecting his 3,000th career hit.
I still see him backpedaling after rounding first base, Paul Molitor holding out his hand to pull him in for a hug, and the entire team mobbing in celebration. There was a mob scene in the stands behind home plate as well. And I was a part of the legend.
We heard the entire city rejoicing. Robin was the hero we knew he was. He gave us something we never had. Every single one of his 3,000 hits came as a Brewer, and it felt as though each one was placed on the diamond accordingly for us. For Milwaukee. The fabric of his narrative intertwined with ours and a thread still endures. 23 years later. I carry this thread every time i go to the ballpark. I think of my dad, and I think of what else will be.