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A Mom who Never Threw Out Baseball Cards

I figured since I did a tribute to my father on the anniversary of his passing, I might as well do one to my mom on the anniversary of her passing.

On March 15, 1999, my mother Susan Jane Halling Hanns passed away after losing a battle with lung cancer. She was just 6 months shy of her 60th birthday. Now my mom did not have the influence that my dad did in becoming a baseball fan(Im not even sure how much my mom really liked the game) but she did play an important role in my growing interest in the sport. That role was more in the form of support. But thats the way my Mom was with me.

I think because I was her first, she doted on me more and given that my brother and sister were both more independent minded and outgoing that I was, I think she felt I needed something to give me more confidence in my abilities. Just a couple of years earlier, when I was 8 years old, I developed an interest in the Presidents, partly because Cocoa Puffs had cards of the Presidents on the backs of the boxes and was also offering special posters of all the Presidents. When she saw how much I was interested she would buy me books on the presidents and American History. I remember the grocery store we went to used to sell them on a week by week basis. Of course, she was a big history buff herself so I think she was happy to see one of her kids sharing an interest.

I still enjoyed the Presidents, but 2 years later when I developed an interest in the Cubs and baseball in general, she was there to help me out. She went to the library and found books about the history of baseball. I still remember the very first baseball book my mom ever got me was The Glory of Their Times. This narrative featuring the voices of old time players couldnt have been a better introduction to someone looking to understand the history of the game. It was only years later that I learned that it was considered a classic.

I also remember my first book about the Cubs, it was Jolly Cholly, Charlie Grimms autobiography, very entertaining book by a colorful Cubs manager.  She would continue to bring me books and buy me books on baseball, and it helped increase my love of the past history. I dont know if i can say that my love for the history came from that, but I dont know if I wouldve been as motivated to learn if it wasnt for my mom.

Maybe the best baseball book my Mom ever bought for me was the Baseball Encyclopedia. It was like the entire statistical history of baseball in one felt swoop! I cant tell you how many hours I spent looking up player profiles and season stats. And my mom was also very  supportive when I started buying baseball cards. At one point I had a huge box I would drag around all over the place stuffed full of baseball cards. I always hear about these guys talk about how their moms threw out their entire collection and I would think, "Wow! There are moms who would do that? Clearly my mom could be considered 'cool' !"

After hearing those horror stories, I have to say how much I truly appreciated what my Mom did for me. I dont know if she ever really took to the game me and my dad loved talking about all the time, but she did tag along a few times to games we went to. Of course, one of those games was Milt Pappas' no hitter and my Mom admitted that she had a little crush on the swarthy, mutton-chopped pitcher, no surprise that she took several pictures of him.

In her later years, when I watched the Cubs, I noticed that my Mom had suddenly taken more of an interest in the team. Maybe it was because of Sammy Sosa, he was a pretty charismatic guy or perhaps Ryne Sandberg. But she seemed to have accepted my love of the Cubs. It even got to the point where I could talk baseball with her, not unlike the history discussions we would share over the years and maybe thats how she reconciled my interest, that it was all about history. When she got sick, it became about making sure I knew about the familys history.

Watching her body deteriorate was hard, especially considering that just a few months earlier she was reuniting with my father, though she was the one who stayed home while me, my dad, my nephew and my brother had one last Cubs game together. While the Cubs were getting ready to start the season in March 1999, I was preoccupied with my mom. When I lost my mom it was very hard because we were much closer than me and my dad were. But looking back, while I miss her every day, I also appreciate everything she did for me. And, yes, not the least of which not throwing out my baseball cards. Thanks Mom for being so cool!

By cubs_an_appreciation
Friday, 16 Mar 2012

 

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