The Saga Of Ducky’s Bat

This special memory is told by Hank Aberman,  the perpetrator himself, in his own words.

Ducky Kauffman, a life-long friend of Herbie, came to camp in 1958 with his treasured bat that he had used for almost a decade in the Philly softball leagues.

Ducky with the treasured lumber
Ducky with the treasured lumber in action

He let me use it in the legendary Hill/ IJ game of 1958. In the last inning, if you remember, I flied out the first time up.  I got so angry I hit the ground with one hand with the bat, and it just snapped in two. Ducky screamed, “Bigger animals than you couldn’t break that bat! Look what you’ve done!”

I felt terrible, but all of that anguish was lost when we came back to win the game. I slept like a rock that night, but I was awakened at the crack of dawn by the imposing sight of Herbie, in a Yarmulke and Tallit, with a prayer book, solemnly intoning, “Get up, we have come to bury the bat”.

Paying homage in front of it's final resting place
Paying homage in front of it’s final resting place

And so we did, in a grave dug between Hill 1 and 2. Herbie conducted the service and, at its conclusion, I posed in sorrow at the bat’s final resting place.

If you look carefully at my right knee, Herbie had carved a Jewish star headstone with the inscription, ”A Bat, Born 1949, Killed In Action, July 28th 1958”.

Only Herbie could think of such an appropriate Saginaw sendoff.

July 28, 1958

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