Talkin’ Baseball

I first heard Terry Cashman’s song Talkin’ Baseball (Willie, Mickey & The Duke) in a baseball documentary that I saw in the 1980s.

The title refers to Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and Duke Snider who played centerfield with the Giants, Yankees and Dodgers, respectively. They all played in New York at the same time, at least until the Giants and Dodgers left for California.

The song is a tribute to baseball, and “good old days” in 1950s and  the 1980s. It references many baseball starts and other pop culture. I was particularly intrigued that the song had a rhyme for line: “Kluszewski….Campanella.

I don’t think I’d heard it more a few times in the years that followed but started singing it to my son when he was a baby. I didn’t know many of the lyrics, so I did a lot of humming..

When my son was older we used to watch videos that were made for the song, and I did my best to sign along.

In the early part of the song it characterizes the 1950 with these lyrics:

“Rock and Roll Was Being Born
Marijuana We Did Scorn ”

I didn’t really need him blabbing “My dad makes me listen to a marijuana song,” at pre-school, so, I used do a “La-la-la” over that line.

I realized that we were nearing a time that he was aware enough of the world  that he would eventually hear the lyrics in the  video.  That happened sooner than I expected.

When he was nearing three, he sang the lyrics as this way:

“Rock and Roll Was Being Born
Nobody would eat his corn. ”


That deferred his innocence, or mine, since it’s one of those conversation topics that makes a parent squirm. I was relieved that I wouldn’t need to have a slightly uncomfortable talk with him, at least for a little while.

A couple of years later he picked up the word in a radio broadcast while we were en route to school. He asked me, “Dad what is marijuana?”

I sighed.  I had vowed that when the time came I would be honest with him when he asked questions like this.

I thought to myself “Remember to be honest!”

“Marijuana was one of the co-founders of Apple Computer,” I said.

With that he recited  a line he’d once heard in a documentary, where it described Steve Jobs’ attempt to lure Pepsi CEO, John Scully to Apple.

From the back seat, the little voice started yelling:: “Do you want to sell sugar water all of for the rest of your life,  or do you want to come with me and change the world?”

Crisis averted.

And I was honest…kind of honest.


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