Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Dynamite Taste

So Chan and I are walking through the park, me with video camera, as I needed to get some stuff on tape for a future project which may or may not come to fruition. Who goes right by us on his Sunday fitness stroll, but Le Gran Orange himself, baseball legend Rusty Staub. I immediately tell Chan, who proves clueless. I had my camera, so I sprang into action. I walked/jogged back to a point ahead of Staub, sat on a bench, held up my camera and pretended I was filming, well, trees. Secretly I was zooming in on Rusty, who was none the wiser. He was focused, like Joe DiMaggio at Dinky Donuts.

The things I'll do to capture the likenesses of minor celebrities.

The coolest thing about Rusty Staub, to me, was that when I was little, I'd turn over his baseball cards and look at his stats to see "Colt .45s." By the nineteen-eighties, there weren't really any other players left who could say they played for the .45s. And there weren't any players left from any other teams who'd changed names or were defunct. So, on your 80s baseball cards, you'd see the names of the 26 existing major league teams, and on that one card, the Colt .45s. I also got to know Rusty from going to Mets games at Shea during the years he was on the Mets. Lookin' good, Rusty.

Note: Before I published this, I took a peek at the rosters of those Colt .45 teams ('62-'64, before they became the Astros) and saw there was another one who made it to the 80s: Joe Morgan. But, hey, whose card are you gonna turn over first, the guy whose name is Rusty and looks like a clown or anyone else's? There were also some Senators who made it to the 80s: The palindromic Toby Harrah and the two "I"s in successioned Larry Biitner to name two. The point is, Staub played for a team with a number and a decimal point in their name. How often do dudes like that walk past you and Chan?

Actually it's Le Grande Orange.

Does he still have the restaurant on Central Park? The Metsies screwed up big time when they traded him for a washed up Mickey Lolich.

Jerry Grote was also a Colt .45
Right, that's what I meant. Le George Grande Orange.

Yes, Rusty's on 5th still exists, it appears.

Curb Your Enthusiasm star Jerry Grote--oh, no, that was Dick Groat--only played 24 games in the 80s, all in '81, so I don't think he was given baseball card status for '82.
The stars, all kinds of stars from the various kinds of media we all know, seem to gather, to gravitate, towards you, surrounding you with their recognizable faces. Keep that camera with you. Have a great Thanksgiving.
You're just like Dad who is always spotting celebrities. (Most of us could walk right into them and not notice who they are.) My favorite Dad-spotting was at 2 in the morning walking down Fifth Avenue. There was a man and a woman arguing. Dad said, "That's Katy Jurado!" Katy Jurado won an Oscar for her role in High Noon. She was a Mexican actress playing a Mexican woman who was Gary Cooper's former lover. (This was the fifties, so the words "former lover" were insinuated.) My second favorite was when we'd just left the Filmore East (Procol Harum)and Dad goes, "There
Sargent Shriver!" and he dashes over to him and says, "I used to work for your brother-in-law!" (Referring to Peace Corps service.) We talked to Sarge and Eunice for about half an hour. (Remind me to tell you the story about Maria, Jere.) His baseball spotting was at Fenway Park. Buying a hot dog in line in front of us was Jerry Remy (the year after he left baseball). Dad asks him for his autograph and he says, "What do you want my autograph for?" The best answer Dad could come up with off the top of his head was, "It would mean so much to my son." (Do you still have that signed program?)
When I was a kid, my mom would always spot the celebrities when the family was in NYC...John Glenn, Jack Lemmon, Ed Koch.

My folks took me took a McGovern rally in 1972 in Bridgeport; George himself wasn't there, but Sargent Shriver gave the big speech. I remember that Dave Duncan, who was a catcher for the World Champion Oakland A's back then, was also up on the podium...that was the most impressive part to me as a little kid.
Mom, yes I still have the Remy autograph.

BSM is the king of NYC celeb-spotting. I think me and him should walk Manhattan tip to tip together and whoever can name the most people on the sidewalk wins. Best of seven walks.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States