When Talmage Boston played junior varsity baseball at Staples in the early 1970s, he could not have imagined where he’d end up 40 years later:
Opening day of the season. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. Sitting atop the Green Monster.
With Dave Harrison, his old baseball coach.
Most people forget JV sports. But when Talmage — a commercial trial and appellate litigator in Dallas, and aTexas Monthly “Super Lawyer” with a sideline as a baseball historian — published 2 books on the sport, he sent them to Dave.
They reconnected. Last year, when Talmage spoke at the Great Fenway Park Writers Series, he had a nice reunion with Dave, and former teammates Randy Avery and Trip Blair.
But that was just batting practice, compared to last week.
I should mention here that Talmage — who, as yet another sideline, has written extensively on Teddy Roosevelt — is very friendly with Ken Burns. When the filmmaker and fellow history buff invited Talmage to New Hampshire for a screening of his new documentary “The Roosevelts,” Talmage had the makings of a once-in-a-lifetime (unless you’re over 100 years old) trip.
He spent his first day with Dave and Marianne Harrison in New London, N.H., where they’ve lived for the last few years.
After a couple of days in Walpole with Ken Burns (and TR, FDR and Eleanor), it was off to a speaking engagement at UMass-Lowell about Talmage’s latest book, Raising the Bar — about “iconic figures who have brought integrity and honor to the legal profession.” (I know, I know…)
Still, that was just warmup.
Last Thursday night Talmage attended the Great Fenway Park Writers Series’ 100th anniversary dinner at the Hotel Commonwealth, just across the Mass Pike from Fenway.
Famous Bostonians like Peter Gammons and Congressman Ed Markey recalled their favorite memories of the legendary park.
Mike Dukakis did too. When he was governor, Democrats and Republicans played fast-pitch hardball against each other in Fenway. Now, he said, there aren’t enough Republicans in Massachusetts government to field a team.
Yet that was still the early innings.
On Friday Talmage picked up tickets for himself, the Harrisons and the Averys at will call. Incredibly, their seats were on top of the Green Monster — one of the most cherished spots in all of sports.
Under bright blue skies, the Red Sox celebrated their park’s centennial by inviting all former players onto the field. Each — including Bobby Doerr and Johnny Pesky, both in their 90s — was announced individually. Each took his old position on the field.
Talmage’s favorite — Carl Yastrzemski — was last. Talmage — and everyone else in the sold-old stadium — had tears in their eyes.
“Sitting there, on top of the Green Monster, with my old high school coach, and friends from that team — I just felt like the world was my oyster,” Talmage says.
Almost immediately, he headed back to Dallas. A wedding — and work — beckoned.
But after that week, Talmage Boston hardly needed a plane to fly home.
Dan – wonderful story and so well written. I loved seeing The Harrisons (Miss Overbay before she became Mrs. Harrison) again. When does Talmadge find the time to write — and about such a wide variety of subject matter?
Talmadge doesn’t sleep.
Beautiful story, Dan. Have always loved Talmage. (We were in the same English class at Staples.) He’s a wonderful writer, as are you. I’m thrilled by his success. I’ll have to pick up a copy of his new book. Very cool to see the picture of Mr. Harrison, his wife & Lauriston.
Several years ago I read Talmage’s baseball book about the 1939 season and its significance in the evolution of the sport. It was very well done–he’s a true Renaissance man. PS–If you’re ever looking for great seats to the Texas Rangers, I understand Talmage has some wonderful connections for that as well.
Dan, great story, great reunion. It amazes me that the thread that connects all of us to Westport is still so strong after so many years and distance between all of us. Thanks for putting this out there. It evokes happy memories for me.