Saturday, April 2, 2011

Success

A tiny bit of Emily Dickinson today:

Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne'er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.

I'm thinking of success because I saw a very wonderful documentary about Luis Tiant -- father and son -- great, great pitchers. Yesterday was the opening day for the Boston Red Sox. I am not a sports fan although there was a spell when I watched a lot of NY Yankees games on TV -- keeping a male fan company of course. I had never heard of the Cuban father and son but I fell in love with both of them in this documentary. The father played in the Negro Leagues in the US in the '40s and '50s and experienced the worst of Jim Crow conditions which were far worse in the US than anything he had ever seen in Cuba.

The son fled the Cuban revolution with his father's blessing and moved quickly from minor leagues to big leagues, at his apex of success he was the most beloved pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. But sports success is a fickle thing, as he aged he was in effect cast aside. But made a come back from sheer grit and talent. And wonderfully, on a trip to Cuba, George McGovern met with Castro and won permission for father and mother to leave Cuba and join their son in Boston. They were elderly by then but had time to see Luis Junior play magnificently. At one season opening the father threw the first ball -- his form and pitch were magnificent -- like seeing an aging ballerina get up on her toes and do a perfect pirouette and arabesque. They were warm, sweet, sincere and beautiful people.

3 comments:

nacodoches said...

I grew up in the South, and still find it difficult to understand why anyone supported the stupid Jim Crow laws other than fear of change. It was a great day when the major leagues were integrated. I am old enough to remember Jackie Robinson, but I never heard of these guys. I suppose I stopped watching baseball games somewhere along the way. Thanks for bringing the subject to mind. Dianne

rraine said...

i've followed baseball on and off since i was a kid. i remember these men, mostly tiant the younger. he was exceptional. and the negro leagues had some of the best players around. thanks for this.

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

June -- this is a beautiful story of a father and son. I would love to watch the video. Did you find it on netflix? I'll probably find it if I search the name Luis Tiant. Thanks -- barbara