Dustin Pedroia, a 1999 lawn chair and a 2005 birthday gift from Naomi and Anna Silver

Dustin Pedroia, a 1999 lawn chair and a 2005 birthday gift from Naomi and Anna Silver

[The chair and toy helmet signed by Spikes the mascot won by Eugene Kramer at the August 14th, 1999 game at Frontier Field. Photo below: the Kramers (l-r) Leslie, Eugene, David and Carol at Garrett Memorial Chapel overlooking Keuka Lake, taken by Deborah, August 1999]

Yesterday, after having read some of our histories of the Rochester Red Wings (SEE AT END), Nick Sciarratta Director of Corporate Development at Rochester Red Wings asked if I’d like to contribute to the upcoming 2019 Red Wing yearbook.

Absolutely and we talked about some possibilities: the 2010 Stephen “Hat Gate” Strasburg game; the 2012 Bryce “Autograph” Harper game; the 2012 Andy “Pick Off” Pettite game. In addition, I had another potential story: Dustin Pedroia, a 1999 lawn chair and a 2005 birthday gift from Naomi and Anna Silver.

Two days ago, the Democrat and Chronicle described how the popular but oft-injured Boston second baseman is not yet giving up on his career.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 2/7/19

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 2/7/19

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 19 May 2018

“Red Sox star Justin Pedroia is in Rochester on a rehab start with Pawtucket.” Democrat and Chronicle, 19 May 2018

The story triggered a recollection. Hadn’t I watched Pedroia play at Frontier Field as a member of the Pawtucket Red Sox?  I knew it wasn’t last year when Pedroia was here on a rehab assignment.

Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Topp’s 2010 #650 from David Kramer’s collection.

Scouring the memorabilia shelf in the attic, I found the dusty program, team inserts, ticket stubs, bumper sticker and newspaper clippings. And the date, August 15th, 2005, the day after my father’s 76th birthday. Original, the game was scheduled for Sunday the 14th, but it rained. So instead my father and I went the following day to a doubleheader.Library Document Station 3

Library Document Station_2

Pawtucket Red Sox at Rochester Red Wings, August 15th, 2005

In 2005, especially as Boston had vanquished the Yankees the year before, Pawsox games drew many local Red Sox fans. Although Pedroia had not yet debuted in the majors, he was already a favorite. I went with my father and remember a few people wearing Pedroia’s jersey and ringing cow bells when he batted.

2005 Pawtucket Red Sox Game Worn Dustin Pedroia Jersey Used Team COA Boston

2005 Pawtucket Red Sox Game Worn Dustin Pedroia Jersey Used (worthpoint.com)

In the memorabilia envelope is one item still mysterious: a hand written note from Anna and Naomi Silver wishing my father a Happy Birthday that contained two premium box seats tickets.

To this day, no one exactly recalls why the Silvers kindly sent complimentary tickets. I have only the vaguest of memories that I may have called in advance, asking if something special — like a P.A. announcement — could be done for Eugene’s birthday. I may have also told the story of the last time Eugene had been to Frontier Field for his birthday, August 14th, 1999.


Card and tickets sent by Anna and Naomi Silver, August 2005

In 1999, I was living in Rhode Island and with my girlfriend Deborah (then living in Manhattan) we visited Rochester for my father’s 70th birthday. My sister also came from San Francisco and — along with my friends Dean and Dianne Tucker — we took my father to the Syracuse vs. Rochester game at Frontier won by the Red Wings 5-4.


Niagara Falls, Canada. David and Debbie, August, 1999. From Niagara Noir

Back then, every game included a “Guess the Attendance Challenge.” During the seventh inning stretch, one randomly chosen fan guessed the size of the crowd. My father had the winning ticket stub!

An usher escorted Eugene to the outskirts of the field as the scoreboard — with music blaring — displayed three numbers: the real attendance, a higher number and a lower number.  I had told the usher it was Eugene’s birthday which the P.A person then told the crowd of — still unbeknownst to us  — 6,630.

Holding three placards, 1, 2 and 3 corresponding to the figures on the scoreboard, Eugene became a fan favorite.  Yelling out what they thought was the correct attendance, most cheered TWO, TWO, TWO!  Following the collective wisdom, Eugene raised the 2 placard.  6,630!

Democrat and Chronicle Aug 15, 1999

Good performance Right-hander Doug Linton earns the win over Syracuse, pitching seven innings. He is 6-1 since July 2, with a 2.14 earned run average.” Democrat and Chronicle, Aug 15, 1999

Eugene was awarded the One Step Tree and Lawn Care chair — in which he briefly sat — and a Red Wings helmet signed by Spikes the mascot.  Pictured at top, both still exist. But we still don’t know why Anna and Noami sent those tickets.



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


Frank Robinson (1935 – 2019) and a glove signed at the 1988 Orioles-Red Wings exhibition game

The night in 1988 when a Hall of Fame flame thrower threw 151 pitches in the Triple-A-Classic at Silver Stadium


Dustin Pedroia, a 1999 lawn chair and a 2005 birthday gift from Naomi and Anna Silver


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Very first pitch on Opening Day. And Knot Holes


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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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