Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sid Bream's Bat

Sid Bream was never a superstar, but he is remembered by most for his part in one of the most exciting moments in baseball history. The Braves trailed the Pirates by one in the bottom of the ninth inning of the seventh and deciding game of the 1992 NLCS. Francisco Cabrera came to the plate with the bases loaded, the not-so-fleet-of-foot Bream representing the pennant-winning run. Cabrera laced a single to left field to tie the game and Bream rounded third, headed for home in an effort to beat the throw of Pirate left fielder Barry Bonds. Bream did indeed beat that throw by the narrowest of margins, and the Braves returned to the World Series.

But that is not my foremost memory of Bream. Earlier in his career he actually played for the Pirates. And in one game I attended, he broke his bat. We would often sneak down into the field boxes late in the game, and on this night that was the case. After the game I noticed the visiting team's batboy handing a bat to another kid about my age (probably 15 or 16 at the time), who I assumed was his friend. 

About a half hour later as we stood outside the stadium waiting for players in an effort to get autographs, I noticed the same kid with the bat. I stopped him and asked him if he'd be willing to sell the bat.  He was, and for the price of $10, I had a souvenir.

We then placed ourselves across the street from the hotel at which visiting teams stayed, and waited until Bream approached. I asked him if he would sign my souvenir, and though he was surprised to see that I had his bat, he was happy to sign it. Beneath his autograph he added the bible reference "Romans 5:8," which reads, "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

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