I’d liek to start this entry off by wishing a happy Father’s Day to all the pops out there. A father’s love and guidance is prudential to a life and I owe everything that I’ve accomplished to my father, Rick Peaslee. Rick is pictured to the left of myself in the above photo. The picture was taken last year, 2008 in San Francisco. We ventured out west as a family to hit up teh ballparks of the Bay Area. It was an unforgettable trip that really bonded us all together.
Baseball really is a glue that brings people togetehr. There are a lot of father-son combos in baseball. The Ripkens, The Griffeys and the Boones all come to mind. There are hundreds of other combos out there, but one that really hits home is the Peaslee family dynasty.
Rick Peaslee was born in the 50’s in Kingwood, WV. A very small town located an hour outside of Morgantown. When you think West Virginia I’m sure you think of farms, countrysides, mountains and people that talk in a hick accent. If you can picture that you can picture Kingwood. He grew up on a farm and developed an eager work ethic. He learned the values of hard work and dedication. My grandpa really put him to work and taught him the values and morals that helped shaped him become the person he is today.
Rick knew nothing more than bailing hay and playing baseball. He was very into teh game from a young age going out to the local field looking for someone to play catch with him. When he couldn’t find a buddy him and his sister, my Aunt Paula would come up with their own game on the brick wall of a fire station that still stands today. They would mark the walls from least to greatest. Teh least being a single-the greatest a home run. It was very unique and creative, especially for two down home kids living in the sticks of West Virginia.
Rick was so into the game of baseball he would head down to the local ballfields at sunrise to help the volunteer groundscrews line the fields with white chalk. He was invloved in every aspect of the game all the way through high school, where he was a year letterman.
From his young days in Kingwood to his adult days in Youngstown, Rick followed baseball. His dad always encouraged him to play the game and he did with great pride and passion. Growing up within 3 hours of a major league team, The Pirates, my dad and grandpa were able to make it up to Forbes Field and Three Rivers Stadium for many historic games. They saw Roberto Clemente, Bill Mazeroski, Willie Stargell, Vern Law, Bill Madlock, Dave Parker, Steve Blass and so many other great Bucs in there hay day. From regular season games to the first night game in World Series the Peaslees always tried to be front and center to see their battling Bucs.
30 some years later Rick carries on the Bucco Tradition. Each summer for the past 2 decades he has taken me and my brother Zach to Pittsburgh for many Pirate games. I remember being a 2 year old kid playing with my Doug Drabek Starting Lineup figurine and going to Three Rivers Stadium for my first baseball game watching along the third base line. I grew up in that stadium and had some of the best times of my life. My dad took me to see many games and Pirates events yea n and year out. From Jason Kendall hitting the cycle to the final game at Three Rivers Stadium.
As PNC Park opened my brother started to attend more and more games with us. It was and is still great having the trio head out and enjoy a game together. Like I said, it’s basbeall that really brings people together. It is a common ground for people of all races, ages and sizes. All three of us discuss daily roster moves, trade rumors and box scores from all games, not only the Pirates.
The picture on the right was taken at the Ballpark in Arlington. My mother is pictured with the Peaslee boys. I give her alot of credit for putting up with three baseball crazed men. For the past decade it has been our goal to reach every major legaue ballpark. Thus far we have hit 27 of the 32 major league stadiums. Without my dads hand me down passion for baseball and my mother’s cooperation and vacation planning skills I would not be such a big baseball fan, see so many parts of teh country and spend time with the people I love.
When were not traveling the country going to games, we play baseball. From organized little league games to backyard wiffle ball games the Peaslees always are throwing around the ball. My father got me into baseball when I was young, at the age of 8. I played T-ball, coach pitch ball, and regular baseball til the age of 14. I wa snever the fastest, strongest or smartest player but I loved being out there. I loved swingign the bat, running the bases and catching balls all around the field. My dad coached me every year I played. I miss it more and more each day. I wish I could go back to work on mechanics and form so I could have been a better player. I wish I could have played baseball in high school but the competition was so great, I did not think I could compete. My father was still proud of me. I actually think me halting my organized baseball career allowed me to understand the game better and take in teh finer details. My dad was still proud of me as we watched games from the stands and analyzed more MLB games on TV.
In the backyard competitive wiffle ball games occur all the time in teh summer. Zach and I will invite friends over and dad will be right in the center as the all-time pitcher thrwing us the classic white plastic ball. As a defacto
umpire he is always supportive of everyone. When we want intimate Peaslee moments we will head down to a local ball field and shag fly balls. We take turns giving each other infield practice, outfield practice and batting practice. Its great going out with the main people you trust. There is no one to impress and my dad always shows us a great time.
That picture was taken in St. Louis at the new Busch Stadium, just another stop on our grand ballpark tour.
I ondly remember anotehr stop on one of our voyages. We were at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego about to enter through the gates and into the stadium. This was in the late 90’s as Qualcomm was the former home of the Padres. The round structure reminded me of Three Rivers and I mentioned it to my dad. He said “Boy I wish you could have seen what I saw at Three Rivers. Its really a shame we can’t share teh playoff moements me and my dad shared.” It was really touching for both me and him. I mean this was a regular season, rather meaningless game between the Cubs and Padres in freaking San Diego. Pittsburgh is 3,000 miles away and the Pirates glory days were still on his mind. Its funny how things really haven’t changed since the late 90’s in regards to the state of the Pirates. We as Bucco fans are still starving for that winning season. We’re not asking for a championship like they were in the 70’s when they expected it. We just want to be competive, someway somehow. I would give anything to share a postseason Pirates moment with my dad. We’ve seen some special things at PNC Park, a walk off grand slam by Aramis Rameriz, a Jeromy Burnitz river shot, and Brian Giles catch at the wall. We’ve been to Opening Days and the Home Run Derby and the All Star Game. Unforgettable and unbelievable moments. However, a playofff game or even a winning record in August, let alone September would be fabulous and something else we could embrace together.
For fathers day this year I wanted to give my dad something that would signify my love for baseball. After all if it wasn’t for him I surely would not be a big baseball fan, surely not a Pirates fan at that. Back in January at Piratesfest at the converntion center in Downtown Pittsburgh I purchased a large 3 foot poster of the Great One, Roberto Clemente. One of my dad’s favorite players growing up. He idloized Roberto for the way he played the game, his speed and defensive ability was second to non. At the plate he always delievered in the clutch. He was just as heroic off the field as he wa son. He was gretaly known for his hospitable works in teh poor areas of the Caribbean. Once I laid my eyes on the poster I knew my dad would love it. He would hang it in the basement right away next to his other collections of Clemente pennants, photos and plauqes.
He enjoyed it very much. It brought back so many fond memories for him and led to stories of watching the Great One roam the field at Forbes and Three Rivers.
Now call me a cheapskate but I also kind of regifted his next present. At PNC Park this year there is a prize wheel station set up. Every person in attendance gets to spin the wheel to recieve a free promotional iteam from last year. Its a nice concept and free with the price of admission. At a game I went to at the beginning of the season I won a Bill Mazeroski Commemerative plate. Now I’m all for Pirates collectibles but a plate doesn’t really cut it for me. I’m not an old lady with a tea set and flatware, I’m a man, I like bobbleheads. However, not saying my dad isn’t a man but he absolutely loves Bill Mazerosi. Playing second base as a kid he dreamed of modeling his game after number 9. Maz was great in the field for the Pirates winning Gold Gloves at the position. In our basement we have some autographed balls and pictures of Maz and my dad had talked about turning a corner of the basement into a nook displaying these precious items. I knew right from the start that the plate would look great in this area. My father agreed and beamed when he opened it.
My dad is a great man who dedicates his life to his family. I owe him eevrything for giving me a great childhood and allowing me to go to his alma mater, West Virginia University. Sharing in the Pirates an Mountaineers provide great memories that we can share for many years to come. I love going to games with him and just spending quality time togetther. Its tugh as I’m away at school and getting busier and busier as I grow older and into my prime. I can only wish to be the father to my children that my dad is to me. i enjoy every moment we’ve had and hope that we can continue to be best buds….like father like son.