Sunday, June 28, 2009

Salvatore Bando, My Paisano

When I was growing up, the Oakland A's ruled the baseball world (until free agency destroyed the team). On a team filled with superstars and super characters, third baseman Sal Bando was the Captain and my favorite.
Bando was a 4 time All-Star during his 16 year career. He hit .254 with 242 home runs, 1039 RBI's and 982 runs scored. Those are pretty good numbers, especially for that era. Bando finished his playing career with the Milwaukee Brewers, where he also served several years as GM.
I met Bando at Waukesha Sports, where he was appearing with Ted Simmons, another of my childhood favorites. There are very few times I would drive 60 miles to meet a ball player, but I could not pass this combo.
Bando was extremely friendly. Much like I felt about Tony Esposito when I met him, I felt that Bando was like an Italian father. He was respectful and commanded respect by his mere presence, but he was also nice and talkative. He spoke fondly of the old A's. He seemed genuinely touched at the things people said while greeting him. It was a great experience meeting Bando.
Sal Bando and me in Waukesha, WI-Summer 2007.

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