I've been discussing Topps's great photography this week, and it convinced me to break out this badboy:Darrin Duffy, courtesy of the father-in-law. Where to start?
I'm a big fan of minor league ball, but I'm a fan of minor league ball the way it used to be when I was a kid, when there were bleachers with 3/4 inch of lead paint behind home plate, ill-conceived nickel beer nights, no entertainment between innings besides begging the OF to toss you a ball, and living with the hope that your babysitter, because she was dating a guy working the souvenir stand, could land you one of the cracked game used bats that guy sometimes produced from a rubber tub in the corner. (Yes, she did, and no, she never could, or at least didn't)
And here we have Darrin Duffy like a ghost from that time, dwarfed by the distant OF fence and almost crushed by the evening sky. Is that the ball coming in from the left or a piece of trash? Does it matter, the runner looks like he's safe. Duffy played 7 seasons, all in the minors, the first three seasons of which are largely unrecorded by baseball reference. No Ks, no BBs, no RBIs, just blank spaces. His stats are like the half-visible OF ads out there on the wall, the fragments of a memory of another time only accessible when glanced at from the side.
I've never been to Hunstville but growing up I must have seen a thousand games like this, with moments like this, involving players like Duffy and the anonymous base stealer, peering out into the falling darkness as these little dramas played out, and played out for what? So no one would record the stats, so that years later all involved would be operating gas stations, bagging groceries, or going to law school in their respective hometowns, and some idiot kid in the stands, now older and 1000 miles away, would get nostalgic over it 23 years later.
Have a good one everybody and goodnight Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!