Mike Sadek’s Co-Stars: Why I Write This Blog

Same Sig, Same SF Pride!
Better than any Halloween candy I received was this sweet treat: a blog comment from P. Goldman regarding the Sept. 20 Mike Sadek post. I wanted to share it here, too, with my gratitude:

Mike and I grew up in Park Forest, Illinois. Of course we played baseball all day, at least till the snow came. We probably had the best Pony league team of all time. Mike of course the catcher, his Dad the coach…boy did he know baseball. As an added plus Mike’s brother Bob, a great athlete, also coached the team.

We were surrounded by great players but none with skills that made Mike a major leaguer!!!

Too bad that the next year Mike’s Dad was transferred back to Minneapolis and we lost our #1 catcher. The only good thing that resulted…I became the #1 catcher!!! Mike and I reconnected in 1977 at Wrigley Field, what a treat after 10 yrs. no Internet then we got caught up. So glad for him that the Giants won the World Series…to everyone who has ever played the game…its the best…our pastime or whatever you want to call it…we love it!!!

Thanks to everyone who shares my vision, for baseball and this blog. I don’t believe baseball is just a game by the numbers. It’s a game by the letters. By the stories. By the people. For all the Mike Sadeks, for all the fans and friends, this is Hot Stove League season. I’m seeking your stories. Stay tuned!

Was Pope John Paul II a Giants Fan?

Mike Sadek’s autograph collecting exploits made more headlines than his hitting.

Instead of seeking a teammate or rival on a baseball, Sadek looked for a holier hero to sign an autograph. En route to Candlestick Park for a 1987 Mass attended by 70,000, Pope John Paul II autographed a baseball for the catcher.

The story is recounted  in the worthwhile Tales from the San Francisco Giants Dugout

Sadek’s update on the Pope ball included:

“Spur of the moment. Lots of people got on me when it was sold. What they don’t know is that the money got my son and me out of some debt and paid for my daughter’s honeymoon! (It was just the three of us.)”

I’m not Catholic. I do not know about any Papal teachings on autograph collecting. However, I think any religious leader would be proud that Sadek sacrificed to help his family.

Sadek didn’t mention how much his Pope autograph sold for. I just found another “JPII” baseball available on ebay for $20,000.

A cheer for Project 1976 for its Mike Sadek bio.

Giant Mike Sadek Homered for Dad

Mike Sadek may have been as rare as an Elvis sighting in San Francisco box scores from 1973-81. However, his memories would put him on my list of all-star Giant storytellers.

First, I wanted to know if this Minnesota native was immune to cold-and-windy Candlestick Park. I’m still shivering over memories of my one blustery trip there. How did he feel?

“Cold and windy, but better than the minor leagues!”

The back-up catcher got a bonus in his 1973 rookie season. He became batterymate for future Hall of Famer Juan Marichal.

“Yes, it was a thrill to catch him. He didn’t have his best stuff, but he had great control.”

I expected Sadek to tell what kind of pitch he clouted for his first major league home run on June 19, 1977, versus Grant Jackson. (Thanks for the history, www.retrosheet.org) Maybe, he’d remember the final score. Instead, I received a classic tale.

“It took a few years for me to hit one and after I circled the bases and got to the dugout — there was one of my idols (since I was in junior high school) Willie McCovey — laying flat on the bench. Two guys were fanning him with towels.

He lifted his head and said, ‘I thought I saw Sheik (me) hit a home run!’

The biggest thrills for me was just getting there after six-plus years in the minor leagues — introducing my dad around (my biggest fan — my first-hit ball and my first career HR ball are buried with him.”

Tomorrow: learn about Sadek’s holiest of autographs.

%d bloggers like this: