How many Ballantine employees remember?
In the late fifties and early sixties, Ballantine sponsored an
interdepartmental softball league, consisting of "A" and
"B" divisions, with six teams in each division.
I played third base for the Engineering Dept. However at times
we would team up with the Personnel Dept. due to the lack of players
in either department.
If my memory serves me correctly, our biggest nemesis was the
Trailer Drivers team. However, I believe it was in the late fifties,
we won first place in either our division or both divisions. Now
normally, at the end of the season the company would hold the Softball
banquet in the company cafeteria, complete with a great meal, professional
entertainment and followed by the presentation of the trophies to
the winning teams. This year for some particular reason, someone
in the Ballantine hierarchy decided to have the trophies presented
during our annual family excursion to Yankee stadium and prior to
the start of the ball game.
When we arrived at the stadium we were escorted down to the Yankee
dugout where we watched the players on the field go through a practice
session. Now a number of us had brought along a baseball and when
when the players returned to the dugout we passed them around, I
obtained autographs from the following players, Whitey Ford, Bobby
Richardson, Ryan Doran, Jim Coates, Gil Mc Dougal, Casey Stengal
and Phil Rizzuto.
Prior to the startup of the game, we lined-up on the third base
line. When Mel Allen, standing at home plate, announced your name
over the stadium speaker system, you stepped up any received your
trophy and a handshake from Casey Stengal.
In retrospect, when Mel Allen spoke over the stadium speaker system,
his voice would resonate or echo throughout the stadium. Also when
looking up at the grandstand, the fans were partially obscured by
a haze. This was apparently due to the lack of air movement and
the fact that a good number of people smoked in those days.
Incidentally these proceedings in their entirety were viewed on
All in all, an unforgettable day.