No commentary today….. enough said for now !
…..before I get back to the wonderful final year I played on the J.U. baseball team….. I wanted to discuss the process I went through from not liking school in my elementary and high school years and “loving learning” in my college years and especially in grad school at Columbia Univ. School of Social Work….
Elementary School: 9 years of nuns, had to wear a uniform of dark slacks, white shirt and school tie….and the corporal punishment was a joke….. it just made me more of a ball-buster…..forced to learn….. “no way Jose’ “….. force does not work on me (or anyone else for that matter). !
High School: 4 years of Christian Brothers, had to wear slacks, sport coats, shirts and ties…sure made me want to study hard. yea…right ?….. worse corporal punishment then in elementary school….. these Brothers were sadistic ! (just some of them not all of them, some were really great teachers)….. but, once again, forced learning…… so the 13 years taught me to “fend for myself”…and do whatever I had to do to get promoted each year and finally get the heck out !………….
….. It took only 1 1/2 years to get the heck out of Wall St. then in two months Dick Howser came to my rescue! and so did the prisoners at Raiford State Penitentiary, who really made me look good in my tryout, even though they really were trying to hit the crap out of my pitches……
So now I landed at a “dream come true”campus on the St. John’s River.. picture this: It’s my first day of classes, I leave the dorm to a beautiful spring day, I go down the valley and back up the hill to my first class… the classroom buildings are placed in a square shape with grass and trees in the middle of the square…. I was wearing a tea shirt, shorts, & sneakers. I walked in the room and the date of the midterm test and the date of the final exam was posted on the blackboard…. the teacher began the lecture with time at the end for questions and answers…… no mention of the tests whatsoever…… as the semester unfolded…. wow! I said to myself, for the first time in my life I am in a school with no dress code, no corporal punishment…. so my complete attention and focus was on soaking in the knowledge that the professor was teaching to us, and we always had some great discussions during our class time……and most important of all, I was being treated as an adult who was completely responsible for doing the work required of me to get a passing grade, get full credits towards the 128 credits needed to graduate…..all of a sudden, my learning became exciting, which in turn motivated me to learn as much as I could in my Major field, History Education…..at the time, I thought, I wanted to be a High School history teacher, and of course, a baseball coach…. so that was my plan for the four years at J.U……..
……..Now back to my final baseball season at J.U. …………… …The season began with us getting off to a great start…. the final year of Coach Bobby Daughton we were 8-22 and the very next year we were 25-5……. basically with the ‘same team” ! we just had a better coach in Charlie Matthews, who was our first baseman just the year before… wow! did we have fun and with each win we became more and more confident…… we played Hiram College, Yale, Erskine, Tampa, Furman, Valdosta St., Tampa U., Miami U. Stetson, and the U. of South Florida and got off to a 16-4 start….
The best memory for me, even though my friends are tired of hearing about it happened on March 31,1966… that was the day that we played Duke University….. they came down to Florida (too cold yet in North Carolina) to play in the warm weather vs. us, Florida U., FSU, & Miami…. the day of our game (we played them just this one game) it was sunny but the wind was whipping up the St. John’s River from home plate straight towards right field. I had to position myself almost against the four foot fence in right field because of this strong wind…. It was 325 feet away from home plate…..now here is where this story turns funny and magical…. Duke was winning 5-1 by the bottom of the 6th inning, we got a rally going and scored 2 runs to make it 5-3… with two men on base, as I was leaving the on deck circle, the next batter, our shortstop Neal Kapp, smile at me and said, knock one out of here Joe”. I laughed back at him and said “I never hit a home run in my life, I will walk to load the bases and you will hit a grand slam.” I guess that joke relaxed me and I caught a good pitch, got good wood on it but upper cut the ball, threw my bat away in disgust as I thought it was headed for the right fielders glove. the wind got a hold of the ball and carried it all the way to the fence. The right fielder leaped against the fence, the ball hit his glove and for an instant I thought he caught it. but then, as he banged against the fence the ball fell off his glove and landed over the fence. the first base umpire waved his arm in a circle, indicating that I had just hit a three run homer to put us ahead 6-5….. I had goose bumps running around the bases, as I never ever did something like this ever before! I got mobbed at the plate and we went on to win the game 9-8. to this day I can still see the smile on my face as I rounded the bases in unbridled joy!
But that’s not the end of the story.
The next day, April Fool’s Day…. My home run made big headlines in the two major Jacksonville newspapers sports sections, the Florida Times Union and the Jacksonville Journal. The the reporter who liked me, Darrell Simmons headline was a funny one, it read, “–It Was A “Breeze” for J.U.———- I carry a copy of this article in my back pocket whenever I go to a sporting event, you wouldn’t believe the ex ML baseball and NBA basketball players who have gotten a kick out of this old fat bald midget getting headlines like this back in 1966, way before they were even born.
Simmons wrote and I quote: “Don’t be surprised if they start calling Joe Mosco “Fu Manchu,” although the J.U. right fielder is from New York, not the Orient.” he went on to describe my hitting a “Chinese” home run. he then described what a Chinese home run was. (cheap). this was the norm in 1966. In today’s world Simmons would have been called a “racist” and would have gotten fired from his job..
The Times Union reporter Dan Murr went bananas and put a huge headline:
His opening sentence was “Little Joe Mosco used a “devine wind” to strike a big blow for J.U. yesterday.” …. he then went on to describe the wind blown home run and the rest of the game, mentioning that Duke had just swept a two game series from Miami U.
So, in conclusion, I went out with a “bang” in my final baseball season.
So, how did I pay for my “senior year” find out tomorrow.
Stay Safe…..as time marches on….one long day at a time !
Read the next post Taking Stock Day 23.