THE MOTTLEY CREW REVIEW
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BASEBALL, FAMILY, AND THE RICHMOND VEES CELEBRAT ING MY SON ’ S B I RTHDAY WI TH BASEBALL
But one of the reasons he was a fan had to do with their farm system. While the Yankees have always been a New York team, one of their farm teams wasn’t native to New York but, rather, to Richmond, Virginia. The Richmond Virginians were a Class AAA minor league team in the International League from 1954–64. In 1959, they become the farm league for the New York Yankees, and the Richmond “Vees,” as they were affectionately known, made it to the Governors’ Cup. In the ‘60s, however, the team entered a downhill spiral. Attendance had sunk to 101,853 fans for the entire year, a 60% drop from its peak in 1957. After 1962, the club was sold off to a grocery store owner and was sold, renamed, and moved to Toledo two years later. While the team may not have been the best, they did foster a Yankees fan community right here in Richmond. This included my father. He shared his love of the Yankees with me, and I’ve shared it with Andrew. The Vees developed the early talent of several critical Yankee players, including Tom Tresh, Al Downing, and Joe Pepitone. While we have a lot of Braves fans in the area from their own farm team being stationed here, you can still spot a few Yankees fans from the Richmond Vees’ years. Most of my son’s friends are surprised by the Yankees’ Richmond connection and will usually ask him more questions about it.
When my son, Andrew, made it back to Richmond for summer break after his freshman year in college down South, one of the first things he said was, “Dad, we should go to a Yankees game this summer.” That got my wheels turning, and, on a beautiful night in the Bronx in early August for his 20th birthday, his wish became a reality. The first base seats were close in and right behind the Yankees dugout. The tickets were a splurge, for sure, but it was priceless when Andrew, who insisted on not being told where our seats were located until we walked in the stadium, first realized how close we were. His smile lit up and a big, “pretty cool, Dad,” came out. That was all I needed to see and hear. What followed was an up-close show of the Yankees taking down the Red Sox 6-4. Our biggest takeaway was just how HUGE Aaron Judge is in person. He dwarfs everyone on the field. My family has always been Yankees fans. I have vivid, fond memories of curling up on the couch with my dad and watching the classic games against the Dodgers in 1977 and 1978. My love for the Yankees has never died. It’s been passed on to Andrew. Some of his friends in college are from New Jersey and New York. When they heard he is a Yankees fan, they wondered why a kid from Richmond liked the Yankees. Here’s the full story. To start things off, my father was a Yankees fan. I guess a lot of American kids his age were Yankees fans in the ‘50s and ‘60s because, well, the Yankees were awesome.
museums, and ate some fantastic meals. One of the best things we did was rent bikes and tour our way around Greenwich Village and lower Manhattan one afternoon, stopping for lunch at John’s of Bleecker St. That was a blast! But the beat down of the Red Sox in Yankees Stadium was the perfect finish. While my Dad watched greats like Tom Tresh and Al Downing in the Richmond stadium, we had the chance to see modern All Stars like Aaron Judge up close and personal that night! Someone said something about a storm and, sure enough, a flash of lightning lit up the sky. Just as the game ended, a summer storm hit us, and the rain came pouring down. We ended the night hanging out with a bunch of New Yorkers in the concourse of Yankees Stadium debating when to make a sprint for the subway station. After being challenged and dared, we made the dash, got completely soaked, and rode a very crowded subway full of soaked and happy Yankees fans back down to Manhattan. If you have a love of baseball or a sport you share with your kids, let’s chat about it next time you’re in the office! I always love talking about baseball and swapping parenting stories. -Kevin W. Mottley As the top of the ninth inning arrived, a cool, strong breeze burst into Yankees Stadium.
Our guys’ trip to New York was fantastic. We took in some sights, visited a couple of
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