Baseball’s Little Historian

There’s a story I’d like to share with you.  It’s a short story and, I think you’ll find…well, it’s not really about baseball.

When Doris Kearns Goodwin was five years old, she and her father would sit and listen to baseball games together on the radio.  He taught her how to ‘score’ games using the symbols and scoring marks that people used in those days and this was an activity they enjoyed, just the two of them together.  When her father would go off to work Doris was given the important task of keeping score by tuning in to the radio, just as they did, so that he wouldn’t miss out on any of the action or exciting plays that had happened during the day’s game.  When her father would come home Doris, with score sheet in hand, would re-create for him all the amazing plays and close calls and highlights of the game, so it was just as if they’d been there together at the ballpark.

Later in life Doris was able to look back on those memorable times with her father, and their shared love of the game “…and he never let me know that in the newspapers the next day, he could have found out from the newspapers what had happened.  I thought, without me he wouldn’t know what had happened in the game… and so I was really like a little historian in those days… and it was such a magic thing.”

“When he would come home I would sit on the porch with him, go over my meticulously kept game and feel like I was saving it for him forever.”


Excerpted from Ken Burns: Baseball, Episode 6 – Inning Six

Published in: on October 6, 2011 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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