13 Runs and Uncle Al

Sometimes the number 13 isn’t so unlucky. It was lucky for the Mets on Friday when they trounced the San Francisco Giants 13-1 after exploding for a franchise record 12 runs in the third inning. More fortunately for me, it reminded me of my late Uncle Al.

Uncle Al was a friendly and pleasant guy, a World War II veteran, a New York Giants turned Mets fan, an early riser and a hardworker.

Growing up in Brooklyn in the 1970’s, I saw my uncle (who was also my Godfather) frequently as he would often visit my family on his way home from work. He and my Aunt Liz didn’t have children of their own but he was the kind of uncle who’d actually play with us when we were little and I’ll always remember the treats he’d bring to our home from the the Crescent Street Bakery (the bakery is gone now and unfortunately they took the chocolate pudding cake with them). He introduced me to the pre-Rupert Murdoch New York Post and he always seemed to have the late edition of the New York Daily News with the late game boxscores. Oh, and he taught me about the “13 run pool.”

Sitting around the table in the kitchen (I’ve learned from personal experience that a lot happens around the kitchen table in Italian households), and scanning the boxscores from the Post or the News, I remember my uncle mentioning the “13 run pool.” Evidently, the locals in the neighborhood bar had a pool where someone would win the pot if a team scored 13 runs. I couldn’t tell you the size of the pot or how the participants selected their teams or if my uncle ever won that pool. What I do know is that more than 40 years later, whenever a team scores 13 runs,  I think of my Uncle Al and the 13 run pool

One thing I know, if there’s a 13 run pool in heaven, I hope he collected on Friday.






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