My father, Virgil Nipper, has taken my brother Jim and me to baseball games all of our lives. We grew up at Shelby, Morgan, and Centennial Parks where dad played for various amateur teams, or where he coached our teams in the Larry Gilbert and Connie Mack Leagues.
When Dad was not coaching, he was there cheering us on and offering encouragement.
I remember him taking us to Sulphur Dell. I must have been around 7 or 8, which would mean we were there in 1957 or so, and even later before the Nashville Vols baseball team was disbanded and the ballpark became an empty hole in the ground.
In his travels while we were in school, Dad was able to attend games in various cities: Yankee Stadium, Tiger Stadium, Dodger Stadium, Comiskey Park, and Municipal Stadium in Kansas City where he saw Roger Maris hit his 51st home run during his magical 1961. We have enjoyed professional baseball together, too, sharing a beer and a hot dog at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, and Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati.
It goes without saying that baseball has been a part of our lives for a very long time. Selling for New Era Cap Co., the cap manufacturer for major and minor league teams and professional baseball teams around the world, has given us very special opportunities, too. Many of our visits to ballparks has been tied to a sales trip or sales meeting.
My sons Doug and Chris have made it to games, too. Doug was with Dad in their visit to Comiskey, he and I have been to Atlanta, and Chris and I attended games together in Cincinnati, Atlanta, and a couple of years ago we attended the St. Louis vs. Texas World Series Game 6 together.
Our hometown team, the Nashville Sounds, currently play in Herchel Greer Stadium, a lovable but deteriorating old stadium just south of downtown. The latest news is that a new stadium will probably be built near the old Sulphur Dell site, and the Nipper baseball family couldn’t be happier.
Which brings me to this frivolity; a few days ago my Birmingham baseball friend, Skip Watkins, called my attention to a special image for sale on Ebay. I could not resist, and I made the purchase. Take a look below and see if you can tell why. It’s not a family photo, but it still makes sense to me (click on it to see it in a larger resolution)!