A Cleveland Sports Memory I’ll Cherish For Life


Bill Selby.

Does that name ring a bell?

Well, this mediocre mid-2000s Cleveland Indians player carries a lot of significance for me. We are talking Rocky-Balboa-like significance and everyone knows how much those movies mean to me and my family.

In these past few days, I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of soul-searching. I had surgery on my left shoulder making even writing this article like going through a maze with a sling of sorts. However, I’m not looking for sympathy or anything like that because frankly, I’ve gotten enough from my wonderful family and friends…

Honestly, every person has that memory from the past that sticks with them. Now, this isn’t in reference to something giant and worldly but more so a memory that carries nuance to the individual. Something that if you went and asked a person walking across the street, they would shrug shoulders because it means very little to them.

Anyway, on July 14, 2002, something happened with the Cleveland Indians. The aforementioned Selby hit a walk-off grand slam against legendary closer for the New York Yankees, Mariano Rivera. The Tribe won the game 10-7 and it was truly an amazing moment (‘that memory’ for me).

I remember being a little boy at the time and watching this game at my Bubbe and Poppa’s (grandma/grandpa) house. When that ball traveled over the fence, I ran out of the living room towards the front door screaming, yelling and waving my arms (fully functioning at the time) all around.

The Indians had WON the game. Nothing else mattered. Life was perfect. I’m going to scream.

But then, it happened…

I slipped on the floor, fell face-first and banged my chin on said floor. I started to cry, in a lot of pain. My grandparents rushed to tend to their grandson on the ground.

This memory sticks with me.

Unfortunately, we lost Poppa Larry a few years back. I cherish the time with Bubbe Marilyn – an absolutely wonderful woman.

Now, Bill Selby finished his career a .223 hitter with only 11 total home runs and 48 runs batted in. Pedestrian numbers, at best. Yet, that one swing of the bat and hitting a slam off the greatest closer ever… sticks with me.

Life isn’t easy. You don’t need me to tell you that fact. However, Selby’s slam and my falling were a great representation of it all.

The good comes with bad, yet bad can be fixed with good. It’s a cycle.

Sure, my chin hurt like hell…but that doesn’t change the Indians winning, 10-7. That doesn’t change my loving grandparents taking me to Bob Evans for dinner after the game. Yum.

This fine morning that slam turned 20 years old and I wanted to write about it all. Enjoy your time with family and beating the Yankees, the Steelers…and the Ravens.

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