Ed Pratt: Have your fun, Tigers, but you won’t match the cinematic victory of my ’66 Trojans

Ed Pratt: Have your fun, Tigers, but you won't match the cinematic victory of my '66 Trojans
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Earlier this week, I watched the emotion of the LSU Tiger baseball team and their fans after LSU won the NCAA College World Series.

But the joy they felt will never match the high felt by the 1966 Sunbeam Trojans Little League team, and especially me, after we won our division championship.

Let’s get something straight early. I was a fair-to-middling player. However, I did throw a no-hitter against a team from St. Francis Xavier Church. Don’t get the idea that I was a great pitcher. I only started because one of our starting pitchers broke his ankle early in the season.

The truth of the matter: St. Francis was not a good team. We 10-run-ruled them in three innings. Still, let the record show that I threw a no-hitter.

After a great season, we went to the playoffs and faced Romano’s Pack and Save in the first round. I was pitching that game. After a few innings of struggling my dad kept yelling, “Throw the ball harder.” After a heavy dose of that, I looked at him and yelled, “I’m throwing the ball hard!”

That was a bad idea. My dad was generally a free spirit, but he did not allow me or any 12-year-old child to talk back and, especially yell at him. Well, it wasn’t done anywhere in my neighborhood. He immediately responded by taking me out of the game, followed by, “Don’t go to the dugout. Go home.”

With all eyes on me, I had to walk through spectators with my glove dangling from my right hand. I wanted to, but I could not cry. I was embarrassed and hurt. I then started on my trek home.

I resigned myself to the thought that I would never play again. I sat with my grandmother for a minute but didn’t tell her what had happened. She knew something was wrong.

That evening, my stepmother came to me with a look I had never seen on her face. She felt bad for me. She said, “You know you can’t talk back to him like that.” Yes, I knew that. I never talked back to any adult, but I couldn’t help myself that day because I was trying my best. But, I was wrong.

I stayed away from my dad that evening. 

Thank goodness the team won and was going to play in the championship game the next day against the vaunted Yankees. They were a disciplined machine. Their coach would clap his hands and everyone on the field would stop to look to him for instructions.

When my dad prepared to leave for the game, he said, “Go get dressed.” I smiled, but I didn’t let him see it.

I played first base as usual. I got a walk and scored a run in the tug-of-war that came down to the final inning. A Yankee batter hit a ball way over the head of our left fielder, Willie Titus. Deep in the outfield, on their field, was grass and thick weeds. Willie had to find the ball. This was a sure home run.

Many could barely see him when he bent over to get the ball. Then came the stuff of movies.

As the Yankee player was rounding third base, the baseball was launched out of the weeds like a guided missile, finally coming to rest in the catcher’s glove, about two steps before the runner arrived. He was OUT!

We jumped, laughed, shouted and lost our minds. Our fans were cheering and clapping. There were no real bleachers there. No fancy scoreboard, music or streamers flying in the air. But we could not be happier.

I made a bee-line for my dad. We didn’t hug much, but on this day, he and I met along the first base line and embraced for a few seconds. I wanted to cry, but folks didn’t cry in public in my neighborhood. But I did scream, “Yes.” For me and my dad, everything was better and that hug was proof.

LSU, your celebration was great, but it did not match that of the 1966 Trojans. For me, no postgame celebration ever will.


About Mary Weyand 11096 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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