Aired on Treasure Island Oldies – Apr 16, 2023
The 2023 baseball season is in full swing. “Goodbye” winter and “Hello” to America’s favorite pastime.
Many of us who grew up in the 50s and 60s remember the countless evenings and weekends playing baseball. Back then it wasn’t as organized as it is today. We just showed up with our gloves, a few bats and a ball and then picked teams.
The picking of teams and its impact on a player’s self-esteem was put to song by one the most dynamic trios of the folk music genre …
This folk trio was formed in New York in 1961. Inspired by folk music legends Woodie Guthrie, Pete Seeger & The Weavers and, subsequently the songs of Bob Dylan, the group’s recordings found their way on the Billboard Hot 100 twenty times from 1962 thru 1969, including five Top 10 hits and a #1 hit record.
Their concerts and storytelling through song were both spellbinding and thought provoking.
Many years later, on their 1986 album, “No Easy Walk To Freedom,” they recorded a poignant piece on what a not-so-skilled sandlot baseball player would go through as teams were picked. The lyrics went like this:
“Saturday summers, when I was a kid
We’d run to the schoolyard and here’s what we did
We’d pick out the captains and we’d choose up the teams
It was always a measure of my self esteem
‘Cause the fastest, the strongest, played shortstop and first
The last ones they picked were the worst
I never needed to ask, it was sealed,
I just took up my place in right field.”
At first blush, these lyrics sound somewhat sad. However, what was being described is very true … but it didn’t stop all of us “right fielders” from showing up … because the love of a game always trumped our abilities.
A tip of the cap to Peter, Paul & Mary for understanding what it was like to play “Right Field,” this week’s Tom Locke moment in time.
YouTube video of this song:
This “Moments In Time” story is yet another example of a “golden oldie” or forgotten favorite that earned its place in the evolution of Rock & Roll.