Recent Splats according to Miz Yank

My father will give you the shirt off his back, or at least out of his trunk

My father has been coaching the American Legion Post 176 summer baseball team for over 25 years. He’s seen quite a bit in that time, as you can well imagine. He’s watched as a few of his kids made it to the big leagues, and he’s helped keep one or two out of an altogether different farm system, if you know what I mean. But what happened last Tuesday night was truly a first. Though I wasn’t there, I’ve pieced together an account based on text messages from my mother, one of our family’s more credible sources.

When my father arrived at Lee High School, the home field for Post 176 , one of the kids told Dad he didn’t have his shirt. The kid hadn’t just left his shirt at home, he’d lost it altogether. Instead of wasting time asking how the kid had lost his shirt –over-invested in the British pound, maybe? –my father went right into problem-solving mode.

Dad keeps the interior of his car very clean and its trunk full of baseball gear. That gear just happened to include the top half of a uniform. This would’ve been stellar news except for three things: 1) the shirt came from last year’s uniform; 2) it bore my father’s number; and 3) it may or may not have been laundered in the off-season. Because American Legion doesn’t play “shirts vs. skins,” the kid really had no choice but to take the field wearing my old man’s old shirt.

The kid once again had no choice when, a few innings later, the manager decided to make a pitching change and put him on the mound.

My mother was in the stands that night, as she often is. Though Mom’s normally a very attentive fan, it’s not clear to me whether she noticed earlier in the game that there were two Number 26s, or that one of them had a surprisingly youthful gait. But it certainly got her attention when the announcer said, “Now pitching for Springfield: Len Yankosky.”

For years I’ve heard my father say that, sooner or later, everybody on the Legion team winds up pitching; I guess he really meant it.

The announcer soon picked up on his lineup mixup and fixed it, making Dad’s return to the hill as brief as it was improbable.

Post 176 begins playoff action today. I wish I could be there, but I have to miss it because I’ll be making my official standup comedy debut (more on that soon). Who knows, maybe both of us will hit home runs today.

There's #26, talking to the umps about his wicked curveball.

There’s #26, talking to the umps about his wicked curveball.



  1. Sue Eggert says:

    I burst out laughing when I read ” now pitching…” As always, quite entertaining!!

    • miz yank says:

      Thanks, Sue! Sometimes the material writes itself, and this was definitely one of those times. 🙂

  2. Jay Fisher says:

    Coach Yank is the best, he always played off the more serious Coach Vax. It’s incredible they are still there as I played for them in 91 & 92! Some of my best baseball moments were with them & most of my favorite baseball stories! Back then the best played Legion…Coach Yank let you know he wanted you to battle, sometimes with some colorful language but all to make you better! I coach a lot like him with a touch of Vax! So many boys very lucky to have played for post 176, if they don’t know it now they will!

    • miz yank says:

      JAY!!!!!! I remember the years when you were on the team! Dad loved you. Means a lot to me that you took the time to read this and to write. I’ll make sure he sees it! (As you can tell, I write about him quite a lot. 🙂 ) Thrilled to know you’re coaching!

    • miz yank says:

      I also meant to ask: where are you now? I read your comment to Dad over the phone – Yank ain’t the most tech-savvy guy going, as you can well imagine – and he and Mom are dying to know. And so honored by your words.

      • Jay Fisher says:

        I am In Charlotte, NC. I actually came and threw BP at a Legion game 2 years ago and a couple years before that too and introduce my kids to Coach V and Yank. My son is 13 now so he’s playing still when those guys are (bummer) but I do email with V sometimes. I miss those days for sure, we had a pretty crazy group of good players! I hope LJ is doing well, tell him I said hi (I was the not so cute crazy Jay)! Does Coach Yank have an email, I’d love to send a pic or two…he’s had a ton of kids!

  3. Loved this. Reminds me of a story my husband tells about a girl when was a freshman running back at a Div II college. I might have to dust that off for a post. Hope you get out to a game soon.

  4. This definitely brought back memories of my childhood and playing ball!


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