Friday, June 14, 2013

Bobby and the Orchard

In honor of Father's Day, I'd like to share with you this story told to me by reader Sue Bosman about her dad, Bobby Parron, and the times he spent at the Orchard when he was a boy.

Bobby Parron about age 7 (c. 1935)
I wanted to share a little memory my dad told me before he passed away. He lived on 10th and Locust, just a block or two from Borchert Field. This was from around the early 1930s or so.

He used to watch the game through the knot holes, but when fans came to park their cars there, as a little kid, he would say "Hey mister, I'll watch your car for a nickel." They would say sure and give him a nickel. He kept doing this to car after car until he came up with enough money to buy himself a ticket to the game.

Bobby and his aunt (his mother is partially visible behind him)
On a side note, my grandmother (dad's mom) was an entertainer at a roadhouse in Milwaukee during the 1920s. It was a well known roadhouse where celebrities, sports figures and various well-known people of the time went. Grandma became friends with many "regulars" there including Babe Ruth.

She became good friends with Babe, enough to call him by his name "Herman", which he preferred as he did not like his first name. When Babe was in the area for a game, he would golf at Bluemound Country Club during the day, and at night he would come into the roadhouse with his golfing attire on. I asked grandma if she got his autograph and she indignantly said "Friends don't ask friends for autographs."

Grandma had many nice things to say about Babe, including that he was "a real big tipper" and a really happy, personable guy who enjoyed to eat and drink. And "when Al Capone came in there with his people, if he asks you to dance, you dance."

I know it's short, but it's a memory that I wanted to contribute.
I'm so glad you did, Sue. Thank you.

Personal stories like these bring real human life to a field of study quick to sink into sepia-toned photographs and dry statistics. In our detail obsession, it's easy to lose sight of the men who actually played the game, and the men, women, and especially children who loved it.

Inspired by Sue's contribution, I've started a new tag – "PERSONAL REMEMBRANCES" – to catalog stories like hers. If you have a memory surrounding Borchert Field that you'd like to share, drop me a line. We'd love to hear from you.

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