The Big Stick is back. And a mystery

The Big Stick is back. And a mystery

Wall Ball with the Big Stick, 10/12/18 [Photo: Carol Kramer]


Eugene Kramer and David Kramer, 1998 [Photo: Leslie Kramer] From Royals 4 – Mets 3. An opening day World Series rematch with Eugene Kramer


Adirondack Big Stick from the 1970s.

Many moons ago, I was jogging on the Aldrich-Dexter track at Brown University. Nearby, the baseball team was practicing.  As they finished and left for the locker room, I was still running. From the track, I noticed a bat was left on the field.  The bat was an aluminum Adirondack Big Stick, one of the first metal bats.  Today, a vintage Adirondack Big Stick sells for 85 dollars on Ebay.

I didn’t own such a fine bat. Actually, I owned no bat.  So rationalization set in. I could “borrow” the bat. Then hone my skills and audition for the team. Win-win.

I actually did ask to try out, but was told the team only accepted players previously recruited. But I kept the bat.  And, as seen in Royals 4 – Mets 3. An opening day World Series rematch with Eugene Kramer, the bat has been well used.

Then, as seen in A fond farewell to the Get Some Balls! sale in Brighton, a terrible — if not just — event occurred.  Unbeknownst to me, my mother sold my Big Stick.  She doesn’t even remember doing so nor what ungodly low price she accepted

For a couple of years now, I have felt the lack. Until I walked into the rummage sale at Blessed Sacrament Church on Monroe Avenue.  In the sporting goods section a Big Stick was selling for a mere $2.50!  For less than three dollars, my castration anxiety was finis.

three guys

At the recent Blessed Sacrament Church rummage sale. (l-r) Vinnie, Gary and Steve.

At the same time, this Big Stick is mysterious. In semi-indelible blue ink are semi-legible dates seemingly from 1994 to about 2010.  Carved prominently is 11 3 10.  19 notches also adorn the bat.  What do these runic markings signify?

Neither Vinnie, Gary, Steve nor others I asked had an ironclad hypothesis for the hieroglyphs  More so, why would someone give away such a personalized object?

4 big sticks-page0001

My theory?  Someone donated the Big Stick against the knowledge of its owner. Know the feeling.  Nonetheless, the bat is now mine and I plan to add more notches.

The new bat should come in handy when my niece visits and we play Wall Ball.  As a youth, I wasted countless hours throwing (and occasionally hitting) a tennis ball against the back wall.  Each bounce, catch or error represented a play in simulated and imaginary games. When my niece visits from California, we play Wall Ball. Audrey is a natural.

With Audrey. Tennis ball in top right corner.

With Audrey. Tennis ball in top right corner. [Photos: (l) Leslie Kramer, (r) Carol Kramer]

The Big Stick has — alas — failed in its first mission. As seen in Eliminate the Wild Card Game, please, in 1941 my father rooted for the Dodgers.  To will Brooklyn to victory, Eugene had a lucky bat.  When listening on the radio, he waved and fondled the lucky bat.  Alas, his luck ran out when the Yankees beat the Dodgers in the World Series.

Now a Yankee fan, Eugene adopted the Big Stick as a lucky talisman.  Again, his luck ran out. The Red Sox beat the Yankees 3 games to 1.

Unlucky bat

The Big Stick wilts

As seen in Who’s on first at the Game at the Corners? The Rabbi., the Big Stick will come in handy when the Game at the Corners resumes.

As seen in “Don’t go soft, play hardball!” The Rochester Men’s Adult Baseball League needs a few good men., the Big Stick will be a game changer if I try out again for the Rochester Men’s Adult Baseball League.


The March 26th, 2016 workout at Brighton High School. The ball is now orbiting somewhere around the moon. From “Don’t go soft, play hardball!” The Rochester Men’s Adult Baseball League needs a few good men

As seen in “An early-spring renewal of the spirit” over 10,000 fungos later, the Big Stick will help Dean hit more fungos.


The 10,001st fungo! Dean Tucker in his Yale shirt. He spent thousands of fungos sending his daughters to New Haven and Carnegie Mellon, but did get the nice t-shirt. Xerox cap from where he earned those fungos. Reifsteck Field, Brighton, Easter, 2016. From An early-spring renewal of the spirit” over 10,000 fungos later

In the picture of Dean hitting the baseball, he is using one of my favorite bat acquisitions.  I had accumulated thousands of credit card reward points.  Of many things, the points could be redeemed for a fungo bat!  The bat was well used until it tragically splintered.  I attempted a repair with heavy duty glue and a vice.  The results were mixed. Dean says I should hammer some nails into the splintered section.


As seen in On a Cal Ripken signed 1989 glove, prized possessions, and the Rundel Library, my greatest purchase was a glove signed by Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr. and Frank Robinson.  I paid $25 and am now told the glove could fetch $250.  The glove was displayed at a baseball exhibit at the Central Library of Rochester.


Exhibit note: “This glove was signed at the 1989 Redwings [sic] vs. Orioles exhibition game. It is signed by Cal Ripken Jr., Frank Robinson, and Coach Curt Motton. Donated for exhibit by David Kramer.] From On a Cal Ripken signed 1989 glove, prized possessions, and the Rundel Library

As seen in Vivid memories of the four year Super Bowl run, I am less proud of another of my acquisitions.  During my Master’s Program in English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Department was planning a picnic. I mentioned a game of touch football. However, because we were all English majors, no one had a football.

Later that day, I was working out at the Camp Randall Stadium Sports Center.  By chance, I walked into a room used by the football team.  In a cart were a few dozen used practiced balls. Rationalizing again, I took one and darted out of the center like a running back dodging tacklers.  I recall we did toss the ball around a little at the picnic, but couldn’t find enough English majors interested in a real game.

As seen in “Bring back the Jills:” Cheerleaders deserve their stageover the years the ball has been signed by dozens of Buffalo Jills.  To redress my initial transgression, upon my death I am donating the ball to the WXXI auction.


As seen in Thanks, Dad!, believe it or not, the glove from this 1974 picture still exists. The bat was no doubt sold at a garage sale against my will.

1974 cropped

Eugene Kramer (catcher) and David Kramer (batter). Summer, 1974. From Thanks Dad!


48 years ago when Rochester saw its first “Designated Pinch Hitter”

45 years ago when the Pittsburgh Pirates fielded a team of “All brothers out there”

Baseball was better 45 years ago

On Yogi Berra and Dale Berra and the 1973 World Series and Willie Mays and my father

When the P.A. announcer told us Nixon had resigned. On the passing of Anna Silver and a most memorable Silver Stadium game

You never forget your first

30 years ago when George Brett won the World Series (and Morganna the Kissing Bandit)

30 years ago when Billy Buck broke Rhode Island’s heart

Royals 4 – Mets 3. An opening day World Series rematch with Eugene Kramer

Grading Kramer & Kramer’s 2016 baseball predictions

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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