Aug 20, 2010

Making the dough

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See that big handsome fella up there messing with the dough? That's Gia's father, during his time in the Army in 1965. The reason for the baseball glove is that he was signed with the NY Yankees at the time and some Army reporter was doing a piece on him and his stint at Fort Gordon. It may have just been the photo and a quick blurb.  You can read the blurb on the back of the photo over there on the right.

That was something that the Yankees did during the Vietnam War. They would arrange a safe assignment for their players who found themselves draft eligible so that they wouldn't get hurt fighting in the war. Gia's father wound up in the kitchen, a learning experience that helped him out later on in life when he and his family opened up a restaurant that they ran for 15 years or so. 

Unfortunately, he still got injured during his time in the Army.  Every day they had to exercise and train and during the drills one morning he tore something in his shoulder.  So at 22, his pitching career was basically over without ever making it to the big leagues.  But he had some great times with the Yankees in the minors and during Spring Training. Got to hang out and play ball with Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Whitey Ford.  Threw batting practice to Joe DiMaggio (I can't even imagine...).  Pitched an exhibition game at Yankee Stadium.  Went 24-11 with a 2.60 ERA while in the minors in places like Fort Lauderdale, FL, Idaho Falls, ID and Columbus, GA.  Was proud to call Roy White, Bobby Murcer, Mel Stottlemyre and a bunch of others friends.  Beat future Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins just about every time he faced him.  Good times.

Next week, he and Gia's mother are moving away to South Carolina.  We are gonna miss both of them.
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Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Seriously...Joe DiMaggio walked up to him after practice one day and said "Hey Bob, throw me a few".  I would have crapped myself.

14 comments:

RW said...

Onion in the baseball glove - nice Town Ball reference there!!

sybil law said...

That is seriously awesome!!

B.E. Earl said...

RW - Few things are as mysterious or wonderful as the origins of baseball in America. Imagine trying to hit an onion? Or field it once it's been hit? (And the photographer probably had no idea about town ball. Just a ballplayer working in a kitchen is all)

Sybil - Ain't it? :)

Avitable said...

I love little stories like this. My relatives are borrrring.

B.E. Earl said...

Adam - Generally, so are mine. Except my father's father. He passed away before I was born, but from all accounts he was quite the character. A professional gambler, he was friends with WC Fields, Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart. I would have loved to have heard his tales.

Slyde said...

you crap yourself daily, anyway...

white rabbit said...

Great pic - good story. I thought maybe the baseball glove was for catching the dough but what do I know about these things?

That's another rhetorical question. Don't answer that.

B.E. Earl said...

Slyde - Not true. Sometimes I go a whole week.

Wabbit - I wouldn't dare answer. ;)

Heff said...

Something tells me he MIGHT have encountered Marilyn Monroe a time or two...or am I OFF by a few years ?

B.E. Earl said...

Heff - She was in Spring Training with Joe D in 1961 and then she died 1n 1962. Bob didn't join the Yankees until 1962, so he missed her. Too bad.

limpy99 said...

"Hey Bob, throw me a few".

Yessir Mr. DiMaggio, right after this erection subsides

B.E. Earl said...

Limpy - I asked him about Mickey Mantle too. He said he wasn't as big as he thought he was gonna be. Same height as Bob, and Bob was bigger. But he said that Mickey was so well put together...he just looked like a ballplayer should look.

Kate said...

Wow, you married into royalty! Your Gia has got some serious bloodlines! (I remember the post about her uncle the jazz musician.. )

B.E. Earl said...

Kate - Well, ahem, we are living in sin as of right now. :)