He still watches every game, and offers a running commentary. He knows about the prospects working their way up through the minors. He knows the stars of this year’s team, Lester and Beckett and Big Papi and Gonzo (“a great hitter,” he says of Gonzalez). Not that he’s overly impressed, of course.
“I’ve met Williams, and Joe Cronin,” he says with a wave of his hand.
Of course the pitch will be an amazing experience, he says. He’s been training for a year. But when it’s over, it’s back to life. He has an apartment and great friends at a wonderful assisted living center called Brookhaven in Lexington. His social calendar is busier than mine, and probably yours — there are poker games, bridge nights, lunches and dinners with pals. Last week, he did a five-minute standup routine at a comedy improv night. He says he killed.
“It’s important to have things to look forward to. Everyday I have something,” he says. “I don’t look to the past, though I enjoy thinking about it.”
Lexington is about 12 miles from Fenway, but still his life is as woven through the city of Boston as Beacon Street. Schools, jobs, family, friendships — they all happened here.
So on April 14, Bill Hogan, 100, will step onto the baseball diamond at Fenway Park.
His four children, including my mom, will be at the game. I’ll be there cheering as well, one of 13 grandchildren watching from the stands. My wife will be there too, and our three kids will join the band of 18 great-grandkids, ranging in age from 15 to 2 months, rooting him on. He’ll throw his pitch, and, I bet, smile and wave. And then he’ll look forward to the next day, leaving yet another incredible memory for all of us.
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