The story goes something like this.
My dad used to make house calls as a veterinarian; “Home Vet Service” was his business. The Reboris were his clients and he was at their house taking care of their cats. On the stove a marinara sauce was simmering and Dad commented on it. Mrs. Rebori gave Dad a sample of the sauce. He loved it. She then offered to write down the recipe and Dad did not pass up this opportunity. For the last 25-plus years, my Mom has been cooking “Rebori sauce.”
I told that story to Dante as we walked to the baseball field at Springfield Catholic High School. His parents were Dad’s clients. He laughed and commented that his wife makes the same sauce, too.
Today is Dante’s birthday. It is also his son’s birthday. They’ll celebrate tonight with a sushi dinner and blueberry pie.
“And hopefully an Orioles win,” Dante said.
Dante’s Orioles and my Royals are battling for the crown no one wants — Worst Team in Baseball.
He’s been a die-hard Orioles fan since 1961. Dante’s best day on the field was probably his junior year in high school when he broke up a no-hitter. But his best day in baseball might have happened at the age of 12 when his dad drove him to Municipal Stadium so he could see the Orioles in person for the first time.
“They were playing the KC Athletics in a doubleheader. Dad humored me and let me loose as soon as the stadium gates opened. I had a notepad and hung out by the Orioles dugout getting autographs. The Orioles were taking infield practice and Luis Aparicio threw me a practice ball. I’m almost embarrassed to say that we played ball with it later. At least there wasn’t an autograph on it.”
That same day, pitcher Dave Vineyard gave Dante a broken fungo bat. And if that wasn’t epic enough…
“The next thing I know, I’m in the dugout. Hank Bauer was the manager and he kicked me out before the game started. What a fantastic day!”
As we played catch along the right field line in the only relatively cool part of today, Dante told me another story, this time connecting a current Orioles player to Springfield.
“It started because I was wearing my Orioles hat to a Springfield Cardinals game.”
I laughed when he said that because I often wear my Royals hat to Hammons Field, usually in support of the NWA Naturals.
Dante became friends with Clay Joseph whose sons played ball at Hillcrest and whose grandson, Caleb, is a catcher for the Orioles. I had no idea of the connection.
At the top of Dante’s big dream list is to visit Italy, closely followed by seeing the Orioles play in Camden Yards.
“I’ve been to some spring training games, but never seen them play in Baltimore.”
The Orioles split the doubleheader when he attended the game in KC. Maybe Baltimore needs to bring Dante into town for good luck.
Dear Caleb Joseph,
In the ridiculous hope you read this, swing for the fences in Dante’s honor today and send him the homerun ball as a birthday gift because the Luis Aparicio ball is long gone.
I bet he’d gladly give you the recipe for an incredible marinara sauce.
Happy birthday Dante and Emilio Dante!