Dear Grandpa Izzie,
Every April, when the Tigers usher in Spring, I think of you and your joy of baseball. I wrote this little children’s story for you, about Mark Fidrych, a great Tiger pitching sensation who arrived on the scene a few years after you died in 1970. He had a zany personality, just like you. You’ll be happy to know, I’ve passed on your love of baseball to my two sons and now to my two granddaughters.
PS. if you run into Ernie Harwell, or listen to him in heaven radio, be sure to say hi and tell him we miss him.
Why wouldn’t Grandpa Izzie watch Sesame Street with me?
All he would watch on TV was stupid baseball games. When his team, the Tigers were not on TV, he’d walk up and down the street, listening to the games on his little transistor radio.
He’d always get mad at those Tigers and call them bad names, like Schtunks.
So when one day he offered to take me to a real game, I didn’t want to go.
“I want to stay home and watch my favorite Big Bird on TV.”
“But Robbie,” Grandpa said, “Big Bird is pitching for the Tigers today!”
“No Way, grandpa. You’re just teasing me.”
“No Robbie, he’s really pitching and he’s gonna really be there in person, and he’s going to be big, so big. And I’ll buy you a coke!”
Now I was curious. Maybe it could be true. So, we hopped into his big old orange Buick and off we drove.
Tiger Stadium was huge and all green inside. The guys were yelling and selling hot dogs and cotton candy.
And Grandpa was not kidding. Sure enough there on the little hill was Big Bird.
Sure he was wearing an orange and white suit, but the yellow hair was flying out from under his cap.
And he was funny like Big Bird. He talked to the ball.
He bent over the mound and cleaned it like it was a garden.
He threw the ball so hard that the boys with sticks would swing and miss it. Sometimes the penguin behind the plate would yell “stee-rike” or “you’re out” and everybody would stand up and cheer for The Bird.
Or they’d sing “Bird Bird Bird. The Bird is the Word!”
Once they even sang about peanuts and crackerjacks. And they all counted to three just like Kermit did on Sesame Street.
When we got home, I loved baseball almost as much as Sesame Street. Grandpa even helped me write a letter to The Bird and he sent me back a picture, addressed just to me. I put it on the wall in my room, right next to the real Big Bird.
I’m hoping to publish this story into a children’s book, but I need an illustrator and a publisher.
Please pass on any resources you may know to help me get this book published.