DEC: THE BASEBALL GURU ARTICLE FROM
Sixteen years of ONE MORE INNING: Part three
In the last installment I talked about some of the ballplayers and their families that I had gotten to know close to the 17 years that I have published One More Inning. I focused on the ones that were no longer with us.
Homer Peel was one of the first.
Homer played for about five years with the Giants and for the most part was a sub. He averaged about 100 to 200 times at bat and ended up with a batting average around the low .220s.
He was so thrilled to hear from me and I was so thrilled to hear his stories about life with the early Giants, that we became instant friends and continued our friendship for over four years. I have chronicled some of his stories about Hornsby, Youngs, Peckinbaugh and others in past issues of OMI so I wont repeat them here. I will mention though that his stories of Hornsby being roughed up by gamblers in the dugout because of gambling debts were priceless!
There came a period where I hadnt heard from him for awhile and then I received a letter saying he had just come back from the hospital after having suffered a minor heart attack, The doctors assured him it wasnt serious and as soon as he felt a little better he would call me.
I never heard from him again.
I wrote to Sal Maglie a few years ago asking for his autograph. I received a letter back from his wife mentioning that Sal had been in a coma for over a year. She went to great length to assure me that if Sal were conscious he would have been very pleased to send me his autograph and would have been so happy to know that fans still thought enough about him to write. She also said she would answer any questions I may ask of her about his career and that I should write to her or call. I called, we talked, and continued talking for about a year. She told me how he adored his grandchildren and how baseball meant so much to him and how hard it had been for him to give that all up. I also learned that most of his adult life his health had been fragile and the present coma was a reflection of that.
And then she too was gone.
About 15 years ago there was a reunion
of the 1951 Giants in
We left the house and Willard and I continued corresponding with each other. A few months later Mary was gone and he seemed to be very shaken up about it. We continued talking for a while longer and then I didnt hear back from him.
He passed away in 2005.
So many memories. So many people I had grown found of and that have enriched my life.
Goodbye to Cliff Mapes, Homer Peel, Dick and Ivy Bartell. Barbara Maglie, Sibbi Sisti, Lloyd Merriman, Wayne Ambler, Jimmy Reese, Ken Raffensberger, Mel Allen, Billy Johnson, Mrs Doris Gee. Willard and Mary Marshall, Steve Howe, Bill Stafford, Jim Spencer, Hal Reniff, Eddie Layton, Billy Hitchcock, Ray Noble and others whose names dont come to mind now.
You all touched my life for a brief moment and Im grateful to have been part of it.