Yes, Bossy’s hometown team won the World Series last night, and yes, Bossy was up until midnight driving up and down vacated suburban streets beeping her car horn—but this post isn’t about that. It’s about the last time the Phillies won the World Series, in 1980.
Bossy was fourteen, and very into the Phillies team. Here are a couple of the reasons why:
It was a very exciting post-season, and the minute the Phillies clinched the 1980 National League championship, the city announced the method by which they would make tickets available for the upcoming World Series games, and this was the method: tickets would go on sale blisteringly early on a weekday morning at the stadium, first come first served.
Nevertheless, Bossy and her brother decided to rough these circumstances, except they did it on Bossy’s brother’s schedule, which went a little something like this: wake up when you’re good and ready to wake up. Prepare a pot of hot chocolate and a pile of toast. Dunk at will. Check the sofa cushions for loose change for the subway. Field a few phone calls. Grab your little sister who is skipping school, and head out the door.
Needless to say, by the time Bossy and her brother got to the baseball stadium there were lines around the block, and lines around the lines. But the atmosphere was festive, and so Bossy and her brother decided to lap the outside of the stadium anyway, just to people-watch.
Which is right about the time they heard a clatter and a rattle—and the next thing they knew, someone had thrown open a box office window directly in front of them. They not only purchased tickets for their family of four, but they secured the game they wanted: Game Six.
Fast forward a couple of weeks, and there stood Bossy’s family, in the very highest row of the baseball stadium, pounding on the tin roof with their fists as Tug McGraw struck out the batter, with the bases loaded, to win the World Series!
This moment was especially meaningful for Bossy because: Tug McGraw.
Bossy was completely in love with Tug McGraw. She was all-Tug, all the time, and everybody knew it. Enter Fern:
Fern is a friend of Bossy’s mom, and Fern is one of a kind. Or maybe she’s two-of-a-kind if you consider the character Brenda on the Rhoda Morgenstern show, because Fern resembles Brenda in many ways.
And Fern understood completely that Bossy was engaged to Tug McGraw. Bossy simply needed to iron out a few details, like meeting Tug McGraw. Which is why two months after the World Series win, Fern invited Bossy to attend a hospital fundraiser where Tug McGraw would be signing autographs.
Bossy dressed in her favorite nylon Bomber jacket, rubber bands cinched around the cuff of her jeans to reveal her high-top Chuck Taylors.
Bossy and Fern slipped into the end of a very long line, and watched as person after person stepped to the autograph table, where the routine was always the same: the person would sit beside Tug, looking straight ahead, and pose for a photo as Tug signed the card that would eventually hold the photo. Sit, pose, autograph. Sit, pose autograph.
Bossy was nervous, but she could see it would be over within a fraction of a second. Sit, pose, autograph.
Fern went first. Sit, pose, autograph. Then it was Bossy’s turn. She managed to inch her quivering legs toward the chair and she sat down. Staring straight ahead she prepared for her pose.
“What’s that?” said Tug, swiveling toward Bossy and pointing to something behind him. Wha? Sit, pose, autograph. Sit, pose, autograph—what was this break in Tug’s fundraiser routine, and why was it happening right when it was Bossy’s turn?
“What?” Bossy said, this time out loud, because she never was the type of girl to get the hang of Pardon?
“What’s that?” Tug repeated, pointing behind him, through the small space between their bodies.
Bossy turned to look, and as she did, Tug moved in and planted a sweet kiss right on Bossy’s smacker:
Now, Bossy knows what you’re thinking: if it was such an unexpected kiss, why does Bossy have her arm around Tug and why is Bossy’s mouth open and why is Tug McGraw kissing a 14-year-old girl when these days they arrest men for thinking less—and Bossy can’t explain even one of those things.
She only knows she later learned that her friend Fern told Tug she would donate a certain sum of money to the hospital foundation if Tug kissed Bossy. Because that’s the kind of friend Fern is—and that’s the kind of man Tug was.
Bossy misses you, Tug. The 2008 Phillies are smiling up at you.