71-year old Clay Counsil, a long-time batting practice pitcher from North Carolina who outfielder Texas RangersJosh Hamilton brought with him to the Major League All-Star Game in Yankee Stadium, is a guy I’d like to help me pick my Lottery numbers if I ever get a chance, and I don’t even play the Lottery. He was the guy tossing them up there in the first round of the Home Run Derby last night when Hamilton hit an astonishing 28 boomers, 13 in a row at one point. A gimmick event, yes, but one of the memorable moments–and a most suitable one–in The House That Ruth Built.
On ESPN Radio this morning, Counsil told Philadelphia host Jody MacDonald what a great thrill it all was and then added that he’d been to Yankee Stadium only once before in his life: “52 years to see Don Larsen’s Perfect Game in the 1956 World Series.” That was, of course, the only Perfect Game in Series history.
It’s a nice story all around–Hamilton has overcome a serious drug problem to become the star that he was expected to be and the human touch of reaching back into his past for a beloved mentor was touching. Counsil said he liked being a part of history and “maybe we can do it again here in another 52 years.” Sadly, and aside from Counsil’s age, that can never happen because the venerable venue will be gone forever after 85 years and the end of this season.
And you have to wonder what will happen tonight, when Counsil visits the stadium for the third time ever.