HAMMOND | Harold Hull is often quick with an irreverent joke and an easy laugh, but there is one thing the 72-year-old Hammond native and resident is dead serious about.
The national anthem.
"We decided that we've seen far too many people butcher it," Hull said, "so we decided there was a need to perform a more traditional reverent version.
Hull is a member of Remember When, a local quartet formed in 2007. The group consists of Hammond Tech alumni and armed forces veterans, including Bill Schmidt, Mike Whitmore and Bob Luther. At the Cal Ripken Major/60 World Series, the quartet – or trio as Luther was unable to attend – sang the national anthem as part of the tournament's Armed Forces Day on Monday, which honored current armed forces members and veterans.
With Hull serving as lead vocals and Schmidt and Whitmore backing, the group belted out of stirring rendition that could have superseded any public address recording -- except maybe one. In 2011, Remember When performed that anthem at a benefit at the Jean Shepherd Center for Sergeant First Class John Masson of Lake Station, who was severely wounded in Afghanistan.
"Our sound man (Paul White) recorded that performance," Hull said, "and we're in the process of making DVDs featuring it."
The quartet released a 10-song compact disc in 2011, which may be purchased for $10 at all the groups performances. Remember When performs from 3 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the St. John Bosco Church Picnic, 7122 Columbia Ave., Hammond and the Rock and Rail Fest from 5 to 6 p.m. Aug. 30 at Main and Broad streets in Griffith. Proceeds go to local charities.
HOME RUN COUNTDOWN: Early in tournament, a discussion began on whether this year's event would set a Major/60 record for home runs. The mark of 78 appears safe going into the final game, since 53 homers have been hit through 24 games.
Going into the WS final, Kingsbridge, N.Y., led the 10-team field with 10 homers, three of which from left-handed slugger George Valera. Semifinalist South Lexington, Ky. finished the tourney with nine as Brendan Hord, Gavin Hall and Jared Gadd each had two.
Crown Point had seven going into the championship against Kingsbridge, as Nick Geisen led with four.