Dannie Gross is an eight-year-old first baseman for the Purple Nightmares. Dannie lives in Berwyn but has been playing in Forest Park Little League since he was five. More importantly, Dannie and his dad practice baseball on weekends at a park in Oak Park. “My dad hits the ball to me and we play catch.”
On off days, Dannie goes to his friend’s house and they play against the two boys across the street. They play with a Whiffle ball, tennis ball, or rubber ball, because an “actual ball” would be a hazard to surrounding houses. Danny likes three things about baseball: “I like to find different ways to get people out; I like hitting, when Coach Al throws to me and its fun.”
Dannie is left-handed, which explains why he is positioned at 1st Base. “My teammates usually make good throws to me.” Batting left-handed is also an advantage for hitters, because they are closer to 1st Base. “I usually bat third or fourth in the lineup,” Dannie said.
Dannie also likes to watch Major League Baseball. “I watch baseball with my Grandpa.” His favorite team is the St. Louis Cardinals. It’s hard to blame him. The Cardinals are a powerhouse in the National League and many consider their uniforms, two birds balanced on a bat, to be the best in baseball. Dannie didn’t say whether he’d like to play professional baseball someday. He’s too busy playing pick-up games, organized games and watching how the pros do it.