Bronx, NY: As many of you might already know, I run a guesthouse in the South Bronx several blocks South of Yankee stadium. The guesthouse is the first guesthouse in the South Bronx, established long before AirBnB and other similar companies began.
The idea to open a guesthouse came from a conversation I heard from two Anglo men in one of the bars across from Yankee stadium close to two decades ago. They both were commenting how they had to travel up to Yonkers where they were staying in a hotel after the game. I knew there were no hotels in the South Bronx and the only one, the Stadium Motor Lodge on Sedgwick Ave, near what was then the 44th Preceint was not a place that anyone would dare stay. It was really isolated. This was a time before UBER and trying to get a cab to go there was not easy and there was no public transportation nearby. Thus, I realized that there was a need for a place for people to stay near the stadium, Therefore, when I finally bought my house, I did not think twice about making four of the bedrooms available for tourist.
Unfortunately, it was easier said than done. What I thought was a certain easy market was not the case. I totally forgot that outside of my borough, the image of the Bronx and particularly the South Bronx was terrible. If not for the Internet and European tourist who are very practical and would venture outside their comfort zone for a decent, economical and good location place to stay I would have never succeeded. I state all that history to bring you to the present.
Today Mi Casa Tu Casa Guesthouse is one of the most popular places to stay with tourist coming from all over the world. In the last two years we have been getting the tourist that I thought we would be getting 15 years ago, Yankee tourist. We have had many and they all have different stories (some I have written) as many had never been to the Bronx. However, I want to mention my most recent guest. His name is Mike “Carl” Terry.
Carl as he likes to be called loved staying with us so much so that he promised to return and invited my wife and I to visit him in North Carolina. Carl came to attend the Yankee – Boston series. He is an avid Yankee fan and was suited up with Yankee gear from head to toe. He attended every game. In between Saturday’s doubleheader he returned to the house and we were able to chat a bit. I asked him how was it that a guy from North Carolina turns out to be a staunch Yankee fan. Carl explained that he was the nephew of one of my favorite Yankee players, Jim “Catfish” Hunter. Catfish was a baseball player from 1965 to 1979. He played for the Yankees from 1975 to 1979. He was the first pitcher since 1915 to win 200 games. When he was traded to the Yankees from the Oakland Athletics. I was a teenager and I was in seventh heaven when Steinbrenner signed him as we Yankee fans wanted a winning team to compete with the Baltimore Orioles that had dominant pitching.
Carl gave me insights about a great humble man that I as a young teenage fan was never privy to except that he was my favorite player. I like Hunter not just because of his pitching to help the Yankees, but he always came across like a decent, humble guy. Carl verified all of that to me. “Uncle Jim was the same guy from the beginning to the end, he never allowed the money he signed for then (whopping $2 million) to change him.” He continued, “he moved up to a bigger moderate house and that’s all, no mansion, no living above the humble man he was.” He teared as he spoke of his uncle, Catfish Hunter. He also shared trivia data. He told me his uncle passed on 09-09-99.
He finished telling me that before Catfish signed with the Yankees he was a A’s fan and only switched to the Yankees when his uncle signed with them
It was a pleasure having Carl stay with us and share some stories about his uncle. Carl also verified something that I have been seeing more and more of, there is a growing number of fans that follow a player, rather than a team. He also verified that baseball brings people together.
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