By Joseph A. D’Ambrosio JR

 It was because of my dad that I fell in love with sports. He brought home my first glove when I was 5, a big  brown catcher’s mitt. He bought me my first bat, a big Norm Siebern model from Sears. He put up a hoop in our driveway and would shoot hoops with me.

 On August 7, 1962, my dad and my two uncles took me and my three cousins to my first Major League game, the Yankees beat the Twins 14-1 and Tony Kubek, in his first game back after serving in the Army,  hit a 3 run homer in his first at bat of the season. Ironically, my WTIC colleague Bill Pearce was also at that same game and we talk about it in the  newsroom.

 Dad was a Yankees fan and a New York Football Giants fan. My mom had to have Sunday dinner on the table at 12:30 because we had to be done with our meal in time for us to sit in front of the TV and watch the Giants kickoff at 2 pm.

 I know that I got my work ethic from Dad. He worked two jobs, as a Special Deputy Sherriff forHartfordCountyand then as a night watchman at the A&P Warehouse inEast Hartford. It was because of that job that I would get every baseball card every year from 1959 to 1965. I would read every stat on the back of those cards and we’d talk about the different players.

 And I also got my sense of humor from him. Dad wouldn’t tell jokes but just some of the comments he would make would crack me up. Just another thing we shared.

 Dad died suddenly in August of 1987, and I never got the chance to tell him how much I loved him and how much he meant to me. Father’s Day always makes me think about him and how much he influenced my life.


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