My grandfather was still alive when I played my first season in the Astrodome. He came to a game with some of my relatives, and I hit a home run. That’s something I’ll never forget. My grandfather was such a big, big baseball fan. When I was a kid, he bought me my first pair of real spikes, the metal kind. My father had always bought me the plastic ones. My father and my uncles were all very good players themselves. Unfortunately, African Americans weren’t allowed to play pro ball back then, so they played on semi-pro teams in Bonham. I was always their batboy, and I had fun being out there and watching them, just picking up the bats. I can remember that field today; I can still see it. It was really nice, actually. It was near the high school—you know, the black high school.

Joe Morgan was born in Bonham and lived there until he was eight. He was a second baseman for the Houston Astros from 1963 until 1971, when he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds. In 1990 Morgan was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and he now works as a baseball commentator for ESPN and NBC. His fourth book, Long Balls, No Strikes (Crown Publishing), will be in stores this fall.