Memories of the Game

Cover Up Those Legs, Please by Dick Meister


By: Dick Meister

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"...I haven't forgotten, either, what seemed at the time to be the greatest humiliation of my entire life. As a matter of fact, I think it still stands as the greatest humiliation of my entire life.

What could be worse, after all, than having to play baseball in short pants? I mean real baseball against real baseball teams wearing real baseball knickers and in front of real baseball fans. Imagine that! And me an 18-year-old certain he was headed for the major leagues.

It happened in the summer of 1951. The team with the short pants was the Talmage Sluggers, considered to be one of the best of Northern California's many semi-professional teams, one the major league scouts watched closely.

  Pictured on the left is Dick Meister

The Sluggers literally went Hollywood. The Hollywood Stars, desperate to increase attendance at their Pacific Coast League games, had broken baseball's decades-old dress code the previous summer by exchanging baggy flannel knickers for short flannel pants. Hollywood got the attention it was after. People flocked to Coast League stadiums to gape at the knobby-kneed Stars.

If it worked for the Hollywood Stars, it might just work for the Talmage Sluggers. Besides, it was hot in Talmage -- the short pants would help. Thus the Sluggers ordered a batch of the peculiar pants from the Stars' supplier.

It worked. At home or away, lots of people turned out to watch us play in what the local newspapers invariably pointed out as our " Hollywood uniforms."

The underdressed Sluggers won most of the games, too. But, oh, the painful scrapes suffered from sliding into bases bare legged. Oh, the whistles and jeers and wisecracks from the grandstands and the opposing teams' dugouts. I'm not claiming it had any effect on my playing. Not at all. Some of you might wonder, though, why it is I never made it to the major leagues..."

Copyright (c) Dick Meister

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