The anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, it’s becoming clear, will not slip by unnoticed. The New York Times'
weekly science section weighs in with its coverage today, including recollections from people (Gloria Steinem, Freeman Dyson, Tracy Kidder) who watched the landing from here on Earth. My
favorite contribution comes from New York Mets pitcher Tom Seaver, who remembers watching the landing in a bar in Montreal with his teammates after a doubleheader there. He writes that seeing Neil Armstrong on the moon made the Mets believe that “something magical could happen,” even the Mets winning the World Series.
Seaver’s story evoked old memories. I’m a little fuzzy on the dates, but I seem to remember spending much of July 1969 driving cross country with my parents, brothers and sister. I was just a little kid at the time, but what I remember is that two big events shared airtime on the car radio during the long drive: Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game and the Apollo 11 moon landing. I recall my dad trying to explain to me that we’d sent men in rocket ships to walk on the moon, and I remember also trying to figure out what this had to do with the baseball game that everyone was trying to tune in on the radio. The two events have ever since been linked in my mind. To this day, I cannot read a word about the space program without thinking of St. Louis Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst.
This year’s All-Star Game is tonight and I’ve promised my son that we will watch it together. Red Schoendienst won’t be there, but I’ll probably think of that family car trip forty years ago when I spent so much time looking up at the sky.