Hello Baseball: Foreword by Milford Lee Hayes, Jr.

My dad loved baseball, and I loved my dad. For him, baseball was much more than a sport; it was time with friends. His excitement would rise at the sound of the bat hitting the ball. His voice would boom as he screamed at the players sliding into the bases. His chest would rise as the Umpire yelled “you’re out.” My dad was a die-hard Dodgers fan; I believe this was because of the great Jackie Robinson and his efforts to integrate the game. Robinson’s efforts represented much more than a game for my dad.

My dad played baseball with friends every chance he got. He would suit up in his Tigers uniform after church and I would watch in awe as he ascended to the plate.

You can imagine how I felt when he coached my little league team. This was our time to connect - our secret language. Our time for him to teach me everything about the game. What I learned was so unexpected. Baseball for my dad was not just about winning or running the fastest; baseball was being part of a team, showing up for practice on time and pulling your own weight.

My Dad would have been so proud of all the grandchildren and great-grandchildren in our family. He would have started a team with the boys – and the girls – and trained them like they were going to the major leagues. They would have moaned a little, but like me, they would have secretly enjoyed every minute and cherished every memory. In time, they too would have loved baseball because they all love their Papa.

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