Baseball memories: ‘That’s why they’re still a special team to me’

Mar 29, 2016, 2:54 PM | Updated: Mar 30, 2016, 5:27 am
710 ESPN Seattle's Tom Wassell will never forget a game-winning hit from little league, but it's his grandfather's excitement at Fenway Park that lingers as his favorite baseball memory. (Contributed by Tom Wassell)
(Contributed by Tom Wassell)

Leading up to Mariners opening day, we are asking 710 ESPN Seattle and KIRO Radio hosts about their favorite baseball memory. Leave your own unforgettable moment in the comments.

In the sixth grade, Tom Wassell hit the game-winning single that drove in his best friend to win the playoff game. His father has maybe never been prouder.

But a legendary little league moment can’t touch Wassell’s favorite baseball memory, which came more than a dozen years later.

You see, it was Wassell’s paternal grandfather who first directed his 5-year-old mind to the game of baseball. And while dad was a Yankees fan, grandpa rooted for the Red Sox.

The Boston love bonded them through the years, gave them a passionate topic of conversation. It transcended the decades and the sport itself.

“When I thought of the Red Sox I thought of my grandfather, and I still do,” he says. “That’s what they represent to me and that’s why they’re still a special team to me.”

Travel back to 2004, in the days where Red Sox were 86 years removed from their last World Series and famous for choking. Wassell and his then-83-year-old grandpa drove from Connecticut for a mid-July game against New York at Fenway Park. And instead of their usual fade, Boston came back to win on a Bill Mueller home run off Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the ninth.

“He was having so much fun and then when the home run was hit, he’s high-fiving people in front of him, behind him and I’d just never seen him so excited,” Wassell recalled. “It was amazing.”

But the best moment of the day came during the drive back. Wassell remembers returning his grandpa back to the house and grandma answering the door.

“He was so happy from what happened at the game, he just looked at her and said, ‘Hi, babe.’ And he kissed her right on the lips,” Wassell recalls. “I had never seen him do that, ever. He is just an even-mannered guy but he was so excited by what had happened, what he had seen. I knew that it meant the world to him that I took him up there and it meant the world to me. That’s my favorite baseball memory.”

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Baseball memories: ‘That’s why they’re still a special team to me’