Thursday, June 18, 2009

Master Handicapper and Grandmaster Friend

Richard Ramaskwich shown here holding twelve $100 bills after an afternoon at the races in Wheeling, WV, during the summer of 1989.

My "Frannie the Racing Greyhound" blog is dedicated to my late friend, Richard "Bomber" Ramaskwich. My decision to start talking about him was stimulated by a poster named BarbaroFan on the greyhound handicapping forum sponsored by greybase known as H.A.W.G. I'll let the exchange of posts introduce our hero...

My first post to BarboroFan included this note about Richard: "One of my friends from Milford recently passed away. He and I visited dog tracks all over the U.S. between 1970 and 2000. I miss him very much. This blog will allow me to mine some of the memories."

Barbaro Fan wrote back: "I think I knew Richard Ramaskwich through a friend in the Sports Memorabilia business - if I remember he was a baseball card collector and one heck of a good tenpin bowler! Saw him frequently at Rayham and Lincoln. When I saw the name on the blog it rang a bell...God Bless Richard!"

My response: "You aren't referring to Billy Hedin by any chance, are you? When Billy was in high school, Richard and I stopped by his house in Marlboro to trade baseball cards. We saw him many times at BBC shows after that.

Yes, he was a fantastic bowler, as consistent on the lanes as anyone I ever met. We bowled in many leagues and tournaments together over the years. We also frequented Raynham and Lincoln (and quite a number of other puppy venues as well).

One time Richard and I bowled together in Cincinnati (Hoinke Classic), but he was so intent on getting to Tri-State Greyhound Park in West Virginia that he set a land speed record betweeen southern Ohio and Wheeling so that we could bet the afternoon double.

Richard taught me the golden, silver and bronze rules of gambling. As a result, I owe him thousands of dollars that I might have otherwise lost.

Golden Rule: Never bet money that you can't afford to lose.

Silver Rule: Gambling and alcohol do not mix.

Bronze Rule: Don't bet every race.

Thanks for the validation and, if you see Billy, tell him I hope he is well."

Barbaro Fan: "Yes I am refering to Billy Hedin, Baseball Card collector and Show promoter, and a friend of mine since High School. I was talking to him today on the phone in fact. He's been married since 1995 and lives in nearby Framingham.

If you were with Rich at the track and saw Billy, chances are that I was the other guy that was with him. I used to call Rich "PBA" out of respect to his tremendous bowling talent.

I'm laughing at that story about going to Tri-State, Rich could get excited at times about going bowling or at the track!

Feel free to use my comments on the blog...

Small world, isn't it!!!"

Richard Ramaskwich bowling at the Hoinke Classic in Cincinnati, OH, 1989

There are so many stories to tell. I'll start by saying that we met in September 1955, on the first day of second grade, and became the closest of buddies for a very long time. I have three special memories that I will share in brief and then I will leave the details and other excursions for another time.

(1) On Father's Day 1958, Richard's father was planning to take him to the Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park vs. the Detroit Tigers. At that time it wasn't necessary to purchase tickets in advance. Richard insisted that his father bring me too. It turned out to be a game for the ages as Jim Bunning pitched a no-hitter. I was 9 years old and I remember it like it was yesterday.

(2) In 1967, we attended game #2 of the World Series together. The Red Sox played the St. Louis Cardinals. Jim Lonborg pitched a 2-hitter. We were in our late teens, but we had waited our entire lives to see the Sox in the Series.

(3) We co-invested in shares of a couple of racing greyhounds. We drove to Hinsdale, NH, to see one of them called Mount Budapet break her maiden. She is the #6 dog in the photo below. It was pretty exciting to be on the "owner" side of the game for a fleeting moment. And it was pretty funny when our royalty checks came. We each got $1.80 for our share of the purse after expenses!

We got our first taste of greyhound "ownership" by purchasing shares in Mount Budapet, shown here(#6)just before winning her maiden race at Hinsdale, NH.

For more, go here.

Note: As the sixth anniversary of Richard's death approches (he passed away on June 27, 2003), I am moving this post over here to my main blog. I still miss you, old friend.