When Grandfather was 13 or so, playground baseball/softball — it just depended who showed up with what kind of ball and bat — began to invade his young life.
He remembers one of his novice catastrophes: a baseball went right over his glove and banged him on the nose. But he shagged fungos by the hour (look it up, whippersnappers) and increased his expertise as he grew and gained speed afoot.
About 18 or so, it was hard to get a batted softball, no matter how directed, to land in front of, to the side or beyond his glove.
Hitting prowess came later, as he joined this-or-that organized softball team, sometimes two at the same time.
His best year was 1960. He played left field (had been in center, but the rotator cuff in his throwing arm was painful junk by then, and the shorter throw to home plate from left field suited him better) and his US Patent Office softball team won the District of Columbia area-wide softball tournament. He batted .460 that year.
That part of his agglomerate life ended circa 1965, when he pulled a groin muscle while base running on a cold, damp spring day.
Now, 60 years later, the trophy is a metaphor: broken bat and corroding inscription …
About the Author: RD Blakeslee is an octogenarian in West Virginia who built his net worth by only investing in that which can be enjoyed during acquisition and throughout life, as opposed to papers in a drawer, like stocks and bonds. You can read more about him here.
Photos: Courtesy of the Blakeslee Family