To the editor:
The baseball world feels emptier after I learned of the passing of Mr. Baseball, Jerry Patterson. I like, thousands of other young guys knew Coach Patterson from our experiences at Patterson Field. When people talk of Fort Dodge, Iowa, Jerry Patterson and Patterson Field often are mentioned.
On many Sunday afternoons over the years, I am sure many young people left Patterson Field with grass streaks on their jerseys after a diving catch or perhaps a dirt stain on their game pants after stealing a base or scoring on a squeeze in the "sevvvvvvvventh" inning as Coach Patterson would say.
Those stains and marks left on the uniform were temporary. I would guess though, that many more than not who had the opportunity to play and coach teams at Patterson Field left with a different kind of mark ... a permanent mark left on your heart. No amount of laundry cycles and washings can remove that permanent mark left on your heart. This mark shows an unrivaled passion for the game of baseball that was shared by Coach Patterson.
I was fortunate to have coaches and a dad who took our teams to Patterson Field to experience that passion for the game. We often times hear about how coaches are part of a "coaching tree." Can you imagine what Coach Patterson's "tree" looks like today with the number of people that he impacted throughout his life?
Thank you Mr. Patterson for providing myself and thousands of other people a chance to tap into that passion and learn to love the game. I can't help but think of those signs as you leave Patterson Field that read, "When baseball is in your blood, the call of the ballpark is forever."
When I learned of his passing this morning, a quote by Bart Giamatti came to mind and described how many are feeling about Coach Patterson's passing ... "The game of baseball. It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone."