In Memory of Mr. Keith Chadd
The first game of the World Series is going on and I am remembering back to the seventh grade. The year was 1959. It was a time of can cans under full skirts, saddle shoes, and pixie hair cuts.
Our teacher that year was Mr. Chadd. He was the first male teacher I had ever met, but was undoubtedly one of the best and the nicest teachers I had in all my school days. Mr. Chadd was an avid baseball fan, and although I can’t remember which team he was pulling for that year, I can clearly remember the games played during that series.
On the first day of the series, he came into the room after lunch and told us to put our books away. The rest of the week we were going to listen to the World Series when it came on. Before the first game, Mr. Chadd told the first two rows of kids on the right side of the room to push their desks closer together and over to the side of the room. Then the two on the left were to get closer together and move their desks a little closer to the window. Then he told the ones on the right side of the room that they were to yell for the Yankees and the other side of the room to yell for the Pirates. I did not know anything about major league baseball, and didn’t even know the names of the teams, but I was on the right hand side of the room, so my team was the Yankee’s.
The games were routed to the room through the school intercom system. The intercom was a large wooden box about 12 inches square that hung at the front of the room near the ceiling. Normally the announcements we heard over the intercom were not anything good, but this was wonderful. We did not have televisions in the classroom, and no one carried radios or cell phones, so it was the only way to hear the game. I don’t know if any of the other classes got to listen to the games, but we made enough noise for the whole school.
It did not take us long to get into the series and begin to cheer for our team. We would yell and scream even if we didn’t understand what was going on all the time. Mr. Chadd would explain all the plays and rules that we didn’t understand and we all became avid baseball fans that year. I believe that there was a prize for the side whose team won. It was probably a candy bar or a coke at the soda fountain. The reason I don’t remember for sure is because the Yankees lost in the 9th inning of the 7th game, so I didn’t get a prize.
Mr. Chadd even let us bring our milk cartons back to the room and drink them there during the game so we wouldn’t miss anything, and I don’t think anyone wanted to take time out and go out for recess. We had become consumed with the games.
That year I discovered Mickey Mantle, and he became one of my all time favorite players. Roger Maris had joined the team that spring. Their competition of the most home runs each season began that year.
For some reason I did not like Roger Maris and was always hoping that Mantle would win the race. In 1960 Mantle had 41 home runs and Maris had 39 .In 1961 they both set a new record for baseball, with Mantle hitting 56 and Maris hitting 61. Mickey Mantle was with the Yankees his whole career, which spanned the years of 1951 to 1968. Maris was with the Yankees from 1959 to 1966.
I know one little gal became a Yankee fan that year and all these years later, I still back the Yankee’s even though I live deep in enemy territory. But you can always find someone to argue with over the games when you live in Royal country.
So as I watch the games this year, I will remember what it was like to be that child and enjoying my first World Series. Somewhat like the feeling a rookie player must have if it is their first trip to the series.
I found out while visiting Mr. Chadd, a few years before he died, that he was a Yankee fan, and that is the reason we were allowed to listen to the games that year. He also told me that he had been a semi pro baseball player, a pitcher I think, but was injured and had to retire from the game. Thank you Mr. Chadd for teaching me to love baseball, and just like my teacher I am an avid Yankee fan. To email Sandy: [email protected]