Day 181: October 6, 1991

Bronx, NY

Park # 178

What I Remember

Do you remember where you were and what you were doing 30 years ago today? I do – It was the last game of the 1991 regular season and I was at Yankee Stadium visiting the 178th and last of the professional baseball parks that Sue Easler and I traveled to that season.

Most of what I remember from that day, however, is a feeling of being sort of numb. I guess I expected an epiphany of some kind as I walked into that last and most famous park, for the clouds that hung over the Bronx that overcast day to suddenly part and reveal the meaning of life. But if they did, I missed it and even after the Yankees had closed out the season with a victory I wasn’t sure how to describe my feelings.

A few weeks later Warner Fusselle asked a question on our year-end ESPN special that told me that, he too, was looking for the meaning in what we had done. He said “this experience must have changed you in some way…now that it is all over, how are you different?”

I fumbled around and came up with an answer on that broadcast and, in listening to it later, I think it sounded okay. But in truth, it has taken the better part of those 30 years since to come up with an answer to that question and that is probably why In League with America is just now being finished.

I do know that my mom and brother Cal were at the game with us and that Sue’s parents were too. We all toured Monument Park before the game – it was truly a moving tribute to all the Yankee’s greats over the years and while the new stadium has tried to continue that tradition it is not quite the same as the lovely gardens of the original. The team featured a video about our trip on the jumbo scoreboard between one of the innings, we got a nice ovation and we signed a bunch more autographs. That night we stayed at the Ritz Carlton courtesy of ABC television and the next day we appeared on Good Morning America.

More on that tomorrow, though, because this story is not quite over. We went on to three different games in the respective League Championship Series and then to all but one of the games in the World Series that year. I will continue a brief daily recap and tell those stories over the next three weeks to close out the season. I will also, I hope, have some details to share about the release of the book.

Just a historical footnote about this game and season in Yankees lore and a nod to how important the minors can turn out to be. For the second straight weekend we saw a New York manager fired. Bud Harrelson had been let go the day before we saw the Mets the previous week and this game was Stump Merrill’s last as manager of the Yankees. In looking through the clippings I came across an article in the Daily News by Michael Kay who would begin a long career as a Yankees broadcaster the next season. Kay was lamenting how far the Yankees seemed from their past glory and from contending again but what he could not have known was that the future was brighter than it seemed. We saw Bernie Williams, Gerald Williams, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera all at various levels of the Yankees minor league system that year. Derek Jeter would begin his short journey to the majors the very next spring in Greensboro. By the end of the decade, that group had led the Yankees to four World Championships.

The Game

New York Yankees 7 Cleveland Indians 4

The Box

A Note about this Site

This site is intended to be a companion to the upcoming book In League with America. Although some games were particularly notable and will appear in the book, most of the results of the 199 games we saw over the course of the 1991 season will not. Our journey was never really intended to be about the games themselves, it was about the places we saw and the people we met along the way.

However, there is now an historic nature to the results from this season. All of the players we saw then, even in the minors, have long since retired. Some of the players we saw at Class A are now members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. These pages, then, will function as kind of a digital appendix with a brief recollection of each day, the result of the game(s) we saw that day and a map of our daily drive.

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