FOR 47 SECONDS, THIS LITTLE LEAGUER WAS THE BEST BALLPLAYER ON EARTH

April 05, 1982

With the coming of warm weather and new grass in Yankee Stadium, I'm drawn back to the time when I was the world's greatest ballplayer for 47 seconds.

To appreciate how far I had to come to do this, you must know that, as a third-grader in Valley Stream, N.Y., I was thought by my fellow Little Leaguers to have as much of a chance of cracking the starting lineup as the mom who brought the Kool-Aid. I got in games just after the moon came up, when my coach tired of hearing my mother scream, "Play fair. Put my boy in."

I wasn't the Nap Lajoie of the league. I was a righthander too dumb to know I was using a lefthander's glove. I put it on my left hand. The first fly that I tried to catch bounced off my inflexible fingers, and it caught my nose and broke it.

We moved to the Philadelphia suburbs the next winter, and I was a free agent. I practiced by bouncing a tennis ball off the side of the house. When the Narbeth Little League season opened, I thought I could field the best tennis ball on the Main Line. I knew I would get a starting spot, and I did. I was put at second base, where Little League coaches place players who they judge couldn't stop a sentence with a period.

On the day I became the greatest, I was at second. No outs, runners on first and second. The kid at the plate hit a high pop behind the pitcher. I dove and came up with the ball, like Billy Martin in the 1952 World Series. The guy going from second to third froze. I tagged him. Two outs. I stepped on second base out of confused habit and then raced for the fat kid running back to first. I beat him by four steps.

Suddenly, I was hoisted in the air and wasn't sure what was going on. I didn't even score a run. We were still losing 17-0. I realized I'd made a triple play by myself. I'd made an unassisted triple play. I would be in the record books! The umpire autographed the ball. My coach said, "Take it home, son, and tell your parents you didn't steal it."

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)