From the time, at the age of three, when my Father gave me my first baseball glove that I took to bed with me, to the times of Dad's building a home plate and pitching mound in our driveway at home, to the countless hours of his playing catch with me every evening after coming home from work, to the long sessions of his throwing batting - pitching to me, even until he reached the age of 54, my Father's Dream and unwavering goal was the Major Leagues for his son, Don
Once, at the age of six, as I lay on an operating room table with a broken arm, I remember my Father asking the Surgeon if the operation would prevent me from playing in the Major Leagues.
As I began to grow and develop my skills and strength, my love of baseball grew. By playing on organized youth baseball teams, the commitment of my father with the dream of his son becoming a Major League Baseball player was ongoing. My Dad's became an assistant coach on several of the youth teams on which I played. It was very special on the days that we won. However, on the days that we lost, hearing about the mistakes that we made once again at the dinner table was not always a pleasant experience. As I grew and matured, there was high-school baseball and exciting times of attending tryout camps conducted by major league teams. One tryout camp I will never forget was held by The Brooklyn Dodgers in San Mateo, California.
The Dodgers were paying the greatest amount of attention to two infielders. Indeed, those two infielders were the prize of the camp. Their names were Bobby Brown and Jerry Coleman. Bobby Brown became a third baseman for the New York Yankees and, later, the president of the American League. Jerry Coleman became a second baseman for the New York Yankees and, later, a long-time broadcaster for the San Diego Padres.
I was only 16 years old at the time and a very timid guy hiding behind a tree. There was another timid young player hiding behind the same tree, and I said, "I'll go out, if you will." He replied, "Let's go."
We gathered our courage and came out from behind the tree and approached the Coach at the Dodger tryout camp. The Coach conducting the camp was a long-time Dodger employee, named Jake Pitler. Pitler asked both of us, "How old are you two?" We each answered, with all the confidence we could muster, "sixteen, Sir." He kindly responded, "Come back next year." The other timid 16-year old became a long-time major league player and manager named Frank Lucchesi.