What possible offer could beat a share of happiness?
That is one of several unique pleasures to be had from the newly-published book by our guest today…Ron Swoboda, author of Here’s the Catch: A Memoir of the Miracle Mets and More.
They say it takes far fewer muscles to smile than to frown, but this refers to faces, not fingers. When writers take pen in hand, or tap tips on keyboards, they’re more likely to share their discontents than their satisfactions. That’s because it takes an extraordinary writer to reveal his delight in always in his life having been so well-loved, in a way that grows the pleasure by making a reader a partner in it.
The moment of triumph from which radiate Swoboda’s tales of his youthful past and the growth, maturation and accomplishments of his future is “the catch” of his book’s title, the one that helped the Miracle Mets beat the Baltimore Orioles in the 1969 World Series.
Watch the video. Even the camera seems surprised when a horizontal Swoboda bursts through the right frame of the picture, which has been following the outward course of Brooks Robinson’s sinking line drive, in an all-out in a dive to backhand the ball just inches off the Shea Stadium turf. Then, in a continuous motion, Ron rises and fires the ball back to the infield.
Suffice it to say that the teammate Swoboda considers the most astute man in that Met clubhouse thought, as Ron made his lunge towards the ball – “that’s the stupidest play I’ve ever seen.” Except that it succeeded.
The moment was a small, if unforgettable, part of a World Series, a season, a baseball career. And its star was but a small, if, it turned out, irreplaceable part of a team, a city, and a time. Being a small part at the heart of big things can be the perfect vantage point to absorb, understand, and now, 50 years after the event, communicate what it all was like.
Swoboda does all of that and more.
But what he does best of all is one of the hardest things in life and in prose to achieve – transparency. After I read Here’s the Catch, I called Ron up – he is, if you haven’t guessed, one of my best friends in life – and crowed, I can sum up your book in two words: “it’s you.”
“Who dat?” as they might say in Ron’s longtime hometown of New Orleans. The book answers the question.
RON SWOBODA played right field for the Mets from 1965 to 1970, the Expos in 1971 and the Yankees from 1971 to 1973. Afterwards he was a TV sportscaster in New York City, Milwaukee and New Orleans, where he provided color commentator for telecasts of the Marlins’ AAA club and now lives.