Sunday, November 25, 2007
Those Helmet Sundaes
Yes, remembered fondly are those Helmet Sundaes of my youth. And, apparently, just as beloved by many other Fans--both young and old--of Our Washington Nationals today--even though they were never SOLD at RFK Stadium. During the late 60's at The Old Ballyard--you couldn't get one--as far as my memory can be jogged.
But, I remember vividly, High's Ice Cream Stores (Now that's a Brand Name only the above 40 Year Old Set will probably recall) offered a Washington Senators Ice Cream Batting Helmet in 1971 (High's preceded Baskin Robbins and 7-11 Stores until both of those franchises entered the DC Market for good--putting High's out of business. High's Ice Cream was CHERISHED during my youth). Fortunately, my brother Michael and I grew up in Alexandria, Virginia with a High's a short 10 minute walk from The Home of Our Youth. You can bet we picked up a couple of them. And, yes, I still have some today. Unfortunately, The African Queen and I can't seem to find the exact box that contains them. Only over the past few years, has Sohna realized The IMPORTANCE of those Washington Senators Mementos she so carefully stored away. (Sigh) Oh Well, one day--we shall come across them unsuspectingly. Thankfully, she's made a point of digging them out. Gotta LOVE!! The African Queen!!
Of course--Batting Helmets were a Novelty for Major League Baseball in the Hippie Era--Vietnam Era, of United States History, as well. Batting Helmets only became mandatory protection for hitters in the early 1970's. Full Fledged Batting Helmets with the Lone Ear Flap did not come into its own until 1975. In fact, when I began playing Little League Baseball in 1968, the only protection provided for the head was a modified two piece ear flap from a FOOTBALL HELMET with elastic bands that stretched around our little heads. No protection for the top of your noggin. Obviously--that wasn't enough protection--as by the time I reached the age of twelve--a full helmet with dual ear flaps was standard for Little League and High School Baseball.
Good thing it was--as when I began playing High School Baseball at T.C. Williams in Alexandria--one night I was absolutely NAILED by a 99 MPH Fastball off the arm of this young stud from W.T. Woodson High in Fairfax. For the life of me, I can't remember the young pitcher's name--but he was drafted and toiled in the Minor Leagues for a few seasons. That Boy THREW HARD!! His pitch was so ON TARGET to my head that night--it DRILLED a hole right into my Helmet KNOCKING ME OUT COLD. Brother Michael--still to this day--recalls how surreal the moment was. Old Number 17 (Michael) says there was not a sound heard ANYWHERE after I went down at Eugene Simpson Field in Alexandria (Our Home Field--T.C. has never played ON CAMPUS--even to this day). The Alexandria Paramedic (On Duty at the game) revived me after a few minutes and laughed--when after asking me if I knew exactly where I was-- I proclaimed: "Yeah, China--The World seems totally upside down right now."
And, yeah--that helmet with the hole in it, I kept it too. But, its also buried away somewhere with those plastic Helmet Sundae Cups. Including, an old fashion Baltimore Orioles Helmet Sundae. Black with White Triangle across the front with The Oriole Fun Bird from my Memorial Stadium Days. Those Helmet Sundaes were cool. And, like everyone else it seems, Sohna and I would LOVE to see the return of Curly "W" Helmet Sundaes to New Nationals Park. Honestly, there is just something SPECIAL about Helmet Sundaes.
Although Our Washington Nationals never sold Helmet Sundaes at RFK, one time--in the first three seasons of baseball at RFK STADIUM, Red Curly "W" Helmet Sundaes Were Served. Only Once. On June 11, 2006--Major League Baseball--having just concluded the sale of Our Team to The Lerners-- MLB held an ON FIELD Picnic after a Sunday Afternoon Game with The Philadelphia Phillies. This Picnic--for Season Ticket Holders--included a nice gift bag of Plush Nationals Blanket, Tan Curly "W" Cap and assorted goodies. But, on the field that afternoon--ICE CREAM was served in a Plastic Helmet. A Plastic Red Curly "W" Helmet. The African Queen and I picked up a few. One of those Helmet Sundaes is depicted at the beginning of this post. Another shot--below.
Yes, We Cherish Them. Hopefully--many more fans--Young & Old--will be able to share that same experience come 2008 at New Nationals Park. Helmet Sundaes need to became a staple for Our Washington Nationals. No Question About It.