I’ve decided to write a series about memorable former teammates of mine throughout the years…..PL
Every so often I look back at my playing days of softball and catalog all the experiences. I want to write a book about it all.. The wins…the losses…the up and downs …every speck of dirt..every drop of beer! The outrageously fun times and the agony of defeat. I played the game competitively for 18 years and not one teammate did I play more games with than Matt McPeek. From when he was just a kid playing his first competitive ball for Doogan’s/DeMartia Cartage to becoming a mainstay on our Sheet Metal Tech team and beyond..to Coed, Sunday Mornings, Sunday Nights…Matty was always there.
As quick with a joke as he was turning a double play…he was an unselfish player… a consummate teammate. Doing whatever our teams needed to do to win games. That’s a mentality he brought to softball after a successful baseball career that saw him play at Euclid High School and the University of Akron. He played shortstop some and some outfield but it was second base where he made his mark on the game….making big plays at big times in big games no matter where he was on the field. He and his older brother Brian set a ASA national record by turning 11 double plays at 1995 Worlds in Battle Creek, Michigan. He worked hard at the offensive side of the game…because a transition from baseball is never as easy as it should. But he become a steady bat …a great situation hitter who owned the right field line. It didn’t matter if we were playing in Euclid or Kansas or the moon he was always there and always ready to play.
My favorite Matt story ,well beside the summer job he gave me by having weekly poker games at his house (man that was great couple of years! $$$ lmfao),was in 1999 in Canton, Michigan. It was the USSSA Nationals, back then you had to play in the Nationals in order to receive your berth in the Worlds. We didn’t play all that well the weekend and found ourselves in an elimination game in the late afternoon hours of Saturday. The game was against a team from Michigan and anyone that ever played the game knows…its hard to win in Michigan against Michigan teams (cheating is an art form!!) We found ourselves in a dogfight…a real game of attrition and reached the bottom of the 7th up a couple of runs. We got a quick out but after a couple of hits there was line drive single to left field that our third baseman Ricky Stevens dove to try and corral to no avail. One run was in as our left fielder Tommy Braddock came up throwing trying keep the tying run off third. He uncorked a perfect throw right on the third base bag …unfortunately nobody was covering said bag and the ball rolled into our dugout allowing the tying run to score and the hitter all the way to third baseball. In the aftermath of that play Tommy was standing near the infield and a voice rang out “COME ON…USE YOUR HEAD!” imploring Tommy to not have thrown the ball. The next few minutes are stuff of legend…as Tommy turned around yelled “WHAT DID YOU SAY FAT ASS?” he got no response…”HEY I’M TALKING TO YOU!” he doubled up…it was then that I began to realize that he was directing his fury at me. Confused I said in a very Di Nero kind of way…”You talking to me?” “YES…big mouth!” Tommy shouted. Saw now it was on….but it would have to wait until we walked the bases loaded and they hit a sac fly to win it. Tommy and I didn’t shake hands with the other team ..no we decided to “discuss” the goings on of five minutes earlier. What made this even more awkward was Tommy was my roommate on the road and WE DROVE TOGETHER. So after a brief but LOUD discussion I finally had to break it to him “that I didn’t say it!” He thought it was me because it came from the right side of the infield…but it wasn’t …it actually was MATT!! lmfao… He had said it and when a caught the blame he just let me take it!! lmfao Once Tommy realized it wasn’t me he bought dinner that night and I’m not sure he ever got Matty back…but I’m sure Matt slept with one eye open for a while…lmfao..
That is just one of hundreds of stories about Peek I could tell. I was lucky my time in the game was made better because of #13…even he chose to press his luck sometimes lol! Oh the stories I could tell…but i’ll save them for the book!!