Columbia, SC — Somehow, about 12 to 15 years ago, my baseball buddy Ike McLeese designated me to be the coordinator of our annual Major League Baseball jaunt throughout the East Coast. I was politely informed that all details were now up to me, and don’t mess it up — or else. Each November the baseball schedules would be online, and we would decide which teams we wanted to see and how long we desired to travel.
One year we are in Detroit to see the Tigers host the Twins. Luckily a former Gamecock, Brian Buscher, was playing third base for the Tigers. I told Ike and the gang to wear their USC shirts to the game, as I was going to teach my buddies how an adult can obtain an autograph from our baseball heroes. When No. 32 came out of the dugout, I yelled “Hey, Brian!” As soon as he looked up, we all proudly displayed our Gamecock apparel. As sure as I had predicted, Buscher came over to talk. We wished him well (he got two hits that day), and we secured a valuable signature.
We made some great trips. We visited almost all the ballparks on the East Coast. Ike and I also visited Cooperstown to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the All-Star game.
Our trips will never be the same without Ike. Here’s a tip of the beer glass to a great friend I will miss terribly.
John D. Baker