By: Kurt Snyder
There are memories that awaken your soul and breathe life into an otherwise normal day. Great memories can make your heart beat a little faster. Hopefully, everyone has a memory in their life that brings a smile to their faces and helps them forget their problems, or their stress, even if only for a moment.
Your wedding day can do that or the birth of your kids. Those things certainly are life changing events and rank at the top of the list for people fortunate enough to have families.
But there is one other day I cannot possibly forget. It was an October Sunday in Detroit. A day the city would explode. It was the last time the Tigers won a World Series. A great day? You have no idea.
The Tigers would finish off one of the most dominating seasons in their history, if not all of baseball. They led their division the entire season. They won 35 of their first 40 games. And on that Sunday, they were ready. They were primed. They were by far the best team and no one doubted they would finish the job. It was just a matter of when they would win, not if.
And in Game 5 of the World Series, the Tiger finished off the San Diego Padres. It will forever rank as the greatest game I have ever attended. There will never be another to compare. It can never be duplicated. Mom and Dad are gone, Tiger Stadium is gone, and the passion we had for the game, burned then, not now.
Sure, it still smolders in our hearts and we still love Tiger baseball, but nothing can ever match that day, in that stadium. Things happened that you can’t make up.
It was not only a World Championship Title for the Tiger players; it was a title for the entire organization. For Dad. For all of us. It was the culmination of a dream. Dad had waited 12 years to host a World Series at the Corner. And on that October Sunday, all of his hard work was rewarded.
But let me tell you, things got nutty after Larry Herndon squeezed that final out. On that Sunday in October, my sister-in-law helped unload pizzas from a Dominos helicopter in centerfield.
On that Sunday in October, in the midst of our own champagne celebration in Dad’s office, the Championship Trophy was brought in and set on his desk. Yeah. Really. Not kidding.
On that Sunday in October, Lance Parrish, Kirk Gibson and Dave Rozema all walked in, still in uniform, to see the trophy and have pictures taken. Heck, Parrish even autographed my sister in law’s arm on the way out.
If baseball is truly your life, which it was for us, was this heaven on Earth? Was this even real? Sometimes, when we are all together, we talk about that day, but we mostly just shake our heads. As good as that game was between the white lines, the memories outside the lines are the ones that will live with us the most.
The images of us pouring champagne on Dad’s head, behind that trophy, while he held a piece of pizza in one hand, are priceless. It might have been THE happiest day of his life. Sure, his wedding day and the births of his sons were major life events, but this day had to be tough to beat for him. Up until then, if there was a day he was happier, then I missed it.
He felt so proud, so accomplished, so filled with glee and satisfaction. And I reflect on that day often. My emotions run all over the map. It sometimes makes me smile, laugh a little or even cry. Nothing will ever compare to the joy and exhilaration we all felt on that great Sunday in October, in the year 1984.
Hopefully, someday, the Tigers can do it all over again, and all of today’s “Tiger families” will get the chance to make the same type of memories we were able to experience. But let me humbly say to all of them, “Good luck.”