I Gave It My Best Shot

Summary: Jeff Metcalf's memoirs.

Disclaimer: Homefront characters belong to their creators. No copyright infringement is intended. No profit is being made.

Author: Tracy Diane Miller

E-mail address: dedicate this story to Sharon and to all Homefront fans . Regardless of whatever path life takes you, may you always find a way to accentuate the positive throughout that journey.

Chapter 1: The Early Years

For as long as I could remember, I wanted to play baseball. My brother Hank used to say that I was born to play baseball. I don't know about that. All I know is that I never really thought about doing anything else.

Mom said that I had a God-given talent. She'd always say that she would cheer for me when I hit the ball clear across the field, so far away that it could touch the Heavens. A flash of sunlight would illuminate the sky and break through any cloud-cover day. That would be Dad, smiling, so I'd know that he was watching me on that field giving the game all that I had. So I know that he was proud of me.

Even when I missed hitting the ball or I dropped a fly ball, Mom insisted that she was still proud of me, as was Dad, and Hank, Linda and Ginger. They were all proud of me because I had given it my best shot.

I'm not a writer. I'm just a guy from River Run who somehow ended up as a Cleveland Indian. Mr. Boudreau said that all ballplayers have stories to tell, stories that people wanted to hear. And when you live long enough, the stories are not just yours alone anymore, but a part of history. I suppose that's true I'm forty years old, kinda scary that the young fellas playing ball now will look at the events in my life as history.

Anyway, this is my story.

One more thing: about the pictures in this book- that was all Mom, Linda, and Ginger's idea. You know had dames can be, all sloppy and sentimental sometimes. Especially Mom. She wanted to include all of my baby pictures. I finally was able to talk her out of including one picture in particular. What is it about mothers thinking snapshots of their naked babies are cute? Good Lord!

My childhood was great. We didn't have a lot of money, but we were rich in love. Dad worked very hard to provide for us. I don't have many memories of him because I was so young when he died. But I remember that he bought me my first baseball bat and glove and he'd toss me a few balls when we were out on the front lawn. The glove was too big, or maybe, I was just too small. But I loved that glove because it reminds me of my dad. I still miss him.

Church was very important in our lives. We weren't perfect, but Mom raised us to be good Catholics. Our faith got us through some very rough times, first with the crash of '29. I was only five at the time and too young to remember much about that, except that Dad lost his job that year and it was hard getting by; and later, when Dad died and Mom had to go to work for Sloan Industries. She worked long hours and was dead tired when she got home, but she always managed to put a nice supper on the table. Afterwards, we'd all go into the living room and listen to the radio.

Hank was the best older brother a guy could have. After Dad died, he spent a lot of time with me, tossing a baseball around. He was the first person that I told that I wanted to become a professional ballplayer when I grew up. He didn't laugh. He didn't tell me it was some screwy little kid's fantasy. Instead, he continued to help me practice and insisted that someday, I would be on a ball field hearing the roar of the crowds. He was certain that I'd be bigger than Babe Ruth. And I believed him, the way a little brother should believe his big brother.

The only problem was that Hank had this jerk for a friend, Charlie Hailey. Charlie would take Hank to their secret clubhouse. That was the only place that Hank said I wasn't welcome. Charlie had added that the clubhouse was for "men" not little runts or mutts. That was what Charlie called me, "Mutt". He said that I was like this little stray, this little "mutt" that always got in the way. Good Lord, I hated that nickname! And to this day, Charlie still calls me "Mutt".

My sister, Linda, she was swell...well, as swell as girls could be. Ginger was Linda's best friend. I didn't like Ginger very much when I was little because she talked too much about movie stars, boys, and makeup. She didn't know anything about baseball! I thought that she was the screwiest girl that I had ever met (not that I knew many girls). We had nothing in common.

Ginger is now my wife, so you might say that we learned to like each other and found more than a few things in common.

Mom taught us the difference between a lie and a mental reservation. Lying was a sin, but a mental reservation was okay because it wasn't really a lie.

When I was nine years old, I wanted to see King Kong. Mom didn't want us to see the movie, but she let us visit our Uncle Palmer and Aunt Irene. It was Uncle Palmer who took us to see King Kong.

Seeing King Kong...Good Lord! Now that's a story that I won't ever forget!