Cisco Carlos And 1968
Monday, March 14, 2011
Jake’s progress continued today as he threw 4.0 IP, allowing three earned runs in a 7-6 loss to the Padres at CBR.
After the game, the White Sox announced eight roster moves, meaning 38 players remain in camp. RHPs Anthony Carter and Freddy Dolsi, INF Eduardo Escobar and OF Stefan Gartrell were optioned to Class AAA Charlotte, RHPs Kyle Cofield and Nate Jones were optioned to Class AA Birmingham, while RHPs Brandon Hynick and Miguel Socolovich were reassigned to minor league camp.
A couple of weeks ago, I received an unsolicited LinkedIn message from Craig Ahearns, a self-avowed White Sox fan from SoCal. He was hoping to get in touch with former Sox players Ken Berry and Cisco Carlos to offer a long overdue thank you.
As a youngster at an Angels game in 1968, Ahearns had caught a line drive off the bat of White Sox outfielder Ken Berry. In an attempt to get Berry to sign the ball as a momento, the young Ahearns stood by the Sox bus on getaway day. Finally, pitcher Cisco Carlos came by. Ahearns explained, as best he could, his goal of a Berry autograph.
Cisco took the ball on the bus. One minute passed, then two, then three, then four. Ahearns best friend chided him for stupidly giving up his major league baseball. He wasn’t going to get it back.
Then, Carlos re-emerged and tossed the ball to Ahearns. On it were the signature of the entire 1968 White Sox team, including Berry, Carlos, Aparicio, et al.
As he grew up, enjoyed his family and started his own business, Ahearns often told the motivational story about how Carlos’ kind act made a lasting impact on a young boy. It knawed at him that he didn’t ever have a chance to thank Berry or Carlos.
Through the magic of social media, Ahearns found me. Sure, I told him, send me letters and I will forward them along.
Then I started to think … where is Cisco Carlos?
A quick google turned him up … living and working in the Phoenix area. Ta-da.
I called Ahearns. Any chance you could come to Phoenix for a spring training game? I called Cisco. This is crazy but any chance you would want to meet a fan who remembers your kind act from 43 years ago?
Bang. Done deal.
This morning, Ahearns — who has remained a White Sox fan for life even though he has never watched a Sox game in Chicago — drove over from LA (“I think I slept 20 minutes last night,” he said) and Cisco ran over to our complex from his job.
“I wish I could say I remember the moment, but …” Cisco laughed.
And just like that, the two met with a Comcast Sports Net camera running. Ahearns showed off the ball to Cisco (“Looks like you’ve been taking some batting practice with it,” Carlos joked), the two told their version of the story, had lunch and then we surprised both with a chance to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
For Ahearns, it was a dream come true, four decades late.
For Cisco, it was a chance to remember when and to be honored for being such a stand up guy.
And as Cisco left the field after catching Ahearns ceremonial toss, he was greeted by shouts and calls from a family in the stands.
Turns out it was a teammate from a high school baseball team, a teammate and friend he hadn’t seen in over 50 years.
For me, this is yet another example of why baseball is such a great game, so very rich with stories, smiles, history and passion.
Tuesday is our one day off of the spring — except for Gavin Floyd who has to come in and throw to stay on rotation — and some of us are heading out for a morning of golf. Forecast is for 90 degree temps, snake weather around here … but you never see rattlesnakes in the middle of the fairway, do you?
Let’s see if Harold brings his A-Game.