Three Generations Of Baseball Fans Take Field In Harleton - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Three Generations Of Baseball Fans Take Field In Harleton

Maybe more than any other sport, baseball is a inherited love. It's passed down from generation to generation. For one family in east texas, baseball today was an excuse for a family reunion.

The backstop has always been the backdrop for the Armstrong family. Saturday, three generations of Armstrong men took the field for the first time.

Ron Armstrong Sr. retired in 1995 after a thirty-five year career as a college and semipo umpire. At his son's suggestion, he came out of retirement for one more game, to ump a tournament game in Harleton for Ron Jr. and grandson Austin.

"Austin's always heard of me spending all my time at the ballpark," Ron Jr. says, "and Grandpa umpiring for as many years as he did. He's never gotten to see his Grandpa umpire a baseball game, and it's going to be really exciting for all three of us to be on the field at the same time."

Baseball has always been a major part of the Armstrong household, a tradition passed down from father to son, generation to generation.

"He'd come pick me up after school, we'd go to where he was umpiring," Ron Jr. says. "There'd be a 6 o'clock game, an 8 o'clock game, I'd chase foul balls, bat boy, ran the scoreboard, just grew up at the ballfield."

"I hate to say it," Ron Sr. laughs, "but I postponed a wedding one time for a whole week when I married my second wife. They asked me to call the high school all-star in the Astrodome."

"Of course, I'll never live that down with her."

She did forgive Ron Sr. and they're still married. And after all, what else could you expect when you marry into a family that lives on the diamond?

"We live and breathe baseball," Ron Jr. says. "We watch it together, we play it together, we talk about strategy and rules and positions, fundamentals. We talk on the cell phone from here to Houston. It's a big baseball family."

In Ron Sr.'s 35 year career, he's umped games for guys like Roger Clemens, Andy Pettite, and Chuck Knoblauch. He said he wouldn't have worked his grandson's game if it were a regular league game, but since it was a tournament, he didn't mind.

Reid Kerr ( reporting.

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