See the full interview with Dave Bristol here.
If baseball is “fathers and sons, playing catch” as it has often been suggested, it’s easy to imagine Dave Bristol playing catch with his son, Lance.
Dave managed the Reds, Brewers, Braves, and Giants; Lance was a high-school baseball coach and is now a middle-school principal. I talked to Lance recently about Dave’s induction into the Reds Hall of Fame, and the affection the two share – for each other and for baseball – is obvious.
“The Induction Weekend was the two best days of my life,” Lance said. “To see how those guys [former Reds players] still take to him, after 50 years, is amazing.
“And he still feels the same way about them.”
“It’s uncanny how they still talk and still communicate,” Lance told me. “They might go a year without talking, but they pick right back up. It says volumes about how they communicate.”
Lance was a bat boy for the late-1960s Reds teams.
“To get to be around those guys — as a kid, Rose and Bench and Helms were all so good to me — and to see them again after all these years!
“It was as much fun for my sister Cissy and me as anyone,” he said.
I told Lance that the RHOF induction was long overdue for Dave.
“To see him get his due, it makes us awfully proud,” he said. “He appreciated being in that Hall of Fame more than any of them — I’m sure of that.”
When Lance coached baseball, his father was right there with him.
“I coached a high-school team for five years, and he was at the ballpark with us every day — every game, every practice – he took it as seriously as any big-league job he had,” Lance said. “We played for the state championship, and he was just as amped-up for that as the World Series.
“He doesn’t give you lip-service about the game. He loves it, and I admire him so much for it.”
In that, Lance, you are far from alone.