Tag Archives: Mets

Day 69: Mookie Wilson

Mookie_Wilson_courtesy_of_New_York_MetsOne of my all time favorite baseball players is Mookie Wilson. And while I was a big fan of the New York Mets outfielder, my mother was an even bigger fan. Most people probably didn’t know she was a baseball fan, but she was.

I started following the Mets around 1981 and soon thereafter my parents started following too. Then in 1984 the Mets had the first draft pick and chose Shawn Abner, a graduate from my hometown high school in Mechanicsburg, PA. I think that probably solidified our allegiance to the team.

Anyway, Mom loved Mookie. The speedster on the bases had incredible work ethic and seemed to avoid all the scandals that plagued the Mets during the Strawberry, Gooden, and Hernandez era. Mom would have loved this letter. If she were still alive, I would have asked Mookie to send her a letter.

Day 69

Dear Mookie,

I grew up a die-hard Mets fan – unusual for someone living in Central Pennsylvania. All of my friends were Philly and Pirate fans. I watched every game on WWOR, captivated by Kiner, Zabriskie, McCarver and Staub’s call of the game.

My parents also became fans – I guess they gave in when my memorabilia draped room started looking more like the dugout at Shea than it did a bedroom. My mother, Lenora Sandridge, was your biggest fan. When you would get on base, she would start talking about how “Mookie’s gonna steal second.” She loved to watch you run the bases and I agree with her, few players truly make an art out of base-running. You were the best.

The other thing that you have in common with my mother is truck driving. No, she never drove a truck, but she often said that that would be her dream job – just driving the country and being her own boss.

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 8.01.13 PMShe never realized that dream. She passed away in 2006 of heart disease at the age of 63. Shortly after that I learned that you had an 18 wheeler and drove short routes all over the southeast during the office season. She would have loved to have known that. Or maybe she did know that and it was just another reason she was so fond of you.

Anyway, as much as it would be nice to hear back from one of her (and my) heroes – learn more about your post baseball life, your recording work, etc. I don’t expect a response. I just wanted to share this little story with you.

Thanks for making baseball so fun to watch for my family and me during the 80s.

With admiration,
Reed Sandridge

Day 40: Kimmy

I was a huge fan of the New York Mets when I was growing up. I have every baseball card made from 1984-1988 and a ton of memorabilia of the Mets. A hero of mine was Gary Carter who wore number 8 and played catcher for the Mets. I wrote to him as a kid and he wrote me back and sent me autographed card.

Gary Carter after winning the World Series in 1986. Photo: Newsday

Gary Carter after winning the World Series in 1986. Photo: Newsday

In May of 2011 Carter was diagnosed with an aggressive case of brain cancer known as glioblastoma multiforme. He lost his battle with cancer on February 16, 2012. The 57-year-old was married and had three adult children.

I had found Carter’s address a few years before he died, before he was diagnosed with cancer, and I thought I would write him a note to let him know how much I looked up to him as a young person. I put it off and sadly he died before I ever sent the letter.

As we get close to the anniversary of Carter’s passing I thought I would write his daughter Kimmy a note. I’ve struggled around the anniversary of my mother’s death and find comfort when people reach out to say something nice about her. Hopefully my letter to Kimmy will brighten her day to know how much I admired her father.

Year of Letters-6

Dear Kimmy,

As a kid, your father was my hero. I was 12 when he led the New York Mets to the 1986 World Series victory against the Boston Red Sox – in fact my Dad took me to the NLCS Game 5 where your father hit a single up the middle off of the Astros’ Charlie Kerfeld in the bottom of the 12th that scored Wally Backman to win the game. It was truly amazing.

As an adult, I learned about your father’s work ethic and unwavering character. His comments at the the 2003 Hall of Fame induction touched my heart.

I imagine that this time of year must be tough for you and your family but I hope that somehow it is comforting to know that he is remembered fondly by so many – not only as a Hall of Famer on the field, but as a role model off the field as well.

With warm regards,
Reed Sandridge