There’s a starman waiting in the sky. He’d like to come and meet us, but he thinks he’d blow our minds. -David Bowie
After seeing the above preview for the Bill Lee documentary SPACEMAN: A Baseball Odyssey, my mind began to wander. It began to wander to a simpler place in time. It began to wander to when you could get still get baseball cards for a dime. It began to wanter to when Bill Lee was in his junk ball prime. Aaah Bill Lee, prophet in his own mind. Bill “the Spaceman” Lee, my favorite baseball player of all time.
Okay, okay, okay. When I was little, ok? When I was little, around the corner from my house, ok? Around the corner from my house, the Red Sox owned this house, ok? The Red sox owned this house where players lived for the season. Danny Cater lived there one year, I remember. Barely. But what I definitely do remember is: Bill Lee lived there one year too.
Now, that same year, I was about thirteen. Spike Lee remembers it as the Summer of Sam. I remember it as the summer of Bucky Dent. My brothers and I went to every home weekend game. Every home weekend game. There were no advanced sale bleachers back then. There was no assigned seating in the no advanced sale bleachers back then. First come, first serve. The American way.
Okay, okay, okay. Ya. Bill Lee. Bill Lee lived around the corner from me. Gameday, from his house, the Spaceman would run to the ballpark. Me and my brothers would get on the 57 bus. Get on the 57 bus in Watertown Square. Get on the 57 bus into Fenway. We’d see Bill Lee running to the game. We’d scream out the window at him. The whole way.
We tried to make it in time for batting practice. When Lee would get into the outfield for a catch, we’d come down to the bullpen fence and scream at him some more. Scream through our popcorn holder megaphones. He’d throw us a ball sometimes. I was thirteen. At that point in time, there was no debating who my favorite player was. And, not for nothing, he shoulda pitched that game instead of Torrez. At thirteen, I knew it. I still know it now. The Bald Headed Gerbil shoulda knowned it too.
Peace out homies. Six two and even!