Two moon shots on the same day

Believe it or not, my clearest recollection of the first moon landing 40 years ago today happens to be a baseball memory? I spent the afternoon of July 20, 1969 at Anaheim Stadium enjoying a doubleheader between the California Angels and the Oakland Athletics before heading home to watch Neil Armstrong take that first step on the lunar surface.

Obviously, I don't remember a lot about the two games, except that a young outfielder named Reggie Jackson launched his 37th home run of the season in the nightcap on the way to the best home run (47) and RBI (118) totals of his career.

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The moment that really stands out came between games, when the Big-A scoreboard (which now stands in the parking lot of the refurbished ballpark) displayed a crude blinking-bulb representation of the lunar landing module touching down and informed the crowd that "We Have Landed On The Moon." The crowd of more than 17,000 (I had to look the attendance up) erupted in a large ovation and, for the first time in my 13-year life, I couldn't wait for the second game to end so I could get home.

That night, I watched Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin (left) exit the module in glorious black-and-white and then stood out on the sidewalk looking up at the moon, hardly believing it was true. I was pretty sure at that moment that we'd be traveling to other galaxies in my lifetime, but the Cubs haven't even gotten to the World Series since then.

Thanks for indulging me on this walk down memory lane. I actually got a little misty thinking about it.

NASA photo

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