A stadium search road trip makes the miles melt away

"Big" Joe Lombardi "Cup o' Joe"

“Just Looking For A Ballpark” could be a possible title for the book I’ll never write, but with a long, long drive coming up for the Bulldawgs this Friday, let’s revisit the early 1960’s… A time when family vacations, at least in my family, sent Mom, Dad and I off across the world, from Texas to New Mexico to all over the southeast and since my one-track, athletically inclined mind was on sports constantly, I came up with a way to pass the time.

As we traveled and my folks marveled at the flora and fauna, in the back seat I was just looking for a ballpark. Saw a lot of ‘em, too.

There was an old, covered field in Lufkin (must have been for baseball) and, somewhere in Arkansas, we passed a pasture-style diamond right next to the highway.  No fences to be seen, but there was a game going on at 10 a.m. with uniformed players.  I would have loved to stop and watch.

Ladd Stadium in Mobile, War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, along with many others, were all recorded; either by name or just location in a notebook; which I wish I still had. Then, the days of school, marriage and work stopped my quest.   

But, sometime later, I got to resume my ballpark search when Sherry, Annie and I would head for southwest Mississippi to visit family.  Keep in mind those were the days when I was actively lobbying here in the Cup, for the passage of a school bond, which would have financed a new football stadium.  On those trips east, I kept notes on ballparks I saw and duly reported same.  All the rosy pictures I painted did no good.  The bond failed.

So, now I confine my stadium searches to bus trips I take with the Dawgs.  Chances are I’ll add more ballparks as we travel to the Mustang Bowl in Andrews, a 341-mile, six-and-a-half hour odyssey to meet El Paso Franklin.

I’ve already got a brand new notebook.

Go Dawgs!

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