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The Boomer Story

The Boomer Story

Boomer Closeup

In August 1995, I took my 18U Marylanders team to play in the American Fastpitch Association (AFA) International Friendship Tournament.   During our stay, the team took a day trip to one of my favorite places on the earth, Venice Beach.   Many of my players got temporary tattoos, and picked up one for me – a really mean looking bulldog holding a big stick.   I think it really had more to do with a motorcycle style bulldog, drawn to look very mean, but my players thought it was perfect.   I wore the tattoo for the tournament, and had a great time with it.   The seed was set in my mind – I wanted a permanent one.   Of course, I wanted something that will be meaningful to me for the rest of my life.

In November of 1995, I got word that I would be inducted into the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame in 1996.   That is when I made the final decision, and I set everything in motion.   I took a photo of me in the ‘contact position’, and took it to a local artist.   She drew to my specification… “take this photo, and I want you to draw a very mean looking bulldog in EXACTLY this position”.   I think she did a great job, and I am very sorry that I don’t remember her name.

Then came the next stage, finding the right tattoo artist.   I visited several tattoo parlors, but as I walked into every one, I said to myself “I am not letting anyone I see in this place come near me with a needle”.   Some of those places and people were pretty frightening.   Plus, it had to be someone with great artistic ability, because it was a custom drawing rather than a standard template.

In June 1996, while searching the internet, I happened upon an article about tattoo conventions.   They talked about a huge international convention held in Dunstable, England…. Wherever that is…. The greatest tattoo artists from all over the world were there – and the top award, for “Best Tatooist”, was awarded to Kari Barba from Outer Limits in Anaheim, CA.

As luck would have it, I was taking my 1996 team back to Anaheim that year in August.   So, I called Kari, faxed her my drawing and we scheduled an appointment for the day after my arrival.   I liked everything about the original drawing, except the face… there was just something wrong with it.   Kari redrew the face for me, with a square jaw – wah-lah – perfect!   Let’s go for it!   Kari drew it on the outside of my right leg (so when I am coaching 3rd base, the team in the dugout can check it out) – I checked it in the mirror – I loved it – she finished the job in less than an hour.   I was pretty nervous going in, because this is my first and probably my only tattoo.   The instant I met Kari I felt completely at ease.   She is a very nice lady in addition to being a fabulous tatooist.   I never even flinched.

We had a ‘naming contest’ with my girls.   Among the candidates were ‘Tater’ – which is a nickname for a homerun, as in “you must eat lots of ‘Taters if you want to hit the ball out of the park” … ‘Big, Dumb, and Ugly’ – which I did not appreciate at all …. ‘The Big Boy’ … and one of my favorites “FarHitter” which the girls came up with – they thought it was hilarious when you say that name really fast several times, but I over-ruled the choice, and removed it from consideration.

Final name “Boomer”, because that is what it sounds like when he hits the ball – BOOM!