They Made Me Toe The Line!

Published: Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 09:39 AM.

            Band of Brothers……naw, none of them would ever say that. It was just college baseball. And we came from all over. Mike Scheunemann was from Carlsbad, California; Chap Wasson from Falls Church, Virginia; Bill Davis from Illinois; Rick Mathews from Seattle; Gary Sims from Mowbray Mountain; Bob White from up near Cleveland……you get the idea.

            We didn’t have hardly anything in common. Except, maybe surviving! The University of the South is located on a wind swept plateau forty miles or so west and a couple of thousand feet higher than Chattanooga, Tennessee. It could get colder than all get out up there! And, since it was an all boys’ school back in the late ’60’s when we were playing, it could be “way passed lonely”. You throw in professors that lectured faster than a speeding bullet and expected you to memorize the entire syllabus the first day, it could be a little intimidating. Ok, it could be a lot intimidating!

            Baseball was a much needed outlet for most of us. Of course, some were there because the football coach (who doubled as the baseball coach) made them play. I reckon he wanted to keep an eye on them. Or he felt like we needed a little more beef when the fights broke out.

            We spent hours after hours on that ball field from February into May whether we wanted to or not. We answered to names like Dootsie, Chappy, Under Dog, Blue Steel, Bambi, Corky, Mighty Silly Tommy Tilley, Loony Scheuny and “The Prune”.

            We built a fire in the dugout on extra cold days. We raked an infield that was so brick hard you couldn’t make a dent in it. A slide into second base was like throwing your body across a slab of concrete. We ran endless laps around an outfield that seemed to grow longer as the season progressed. We took road trips in a couple of old Checker limousines that looked like something out of “Bingo Long and The Traveling All-Stars”. And we had to endure Bobby Akin reminding us how good he was… every practice, before and after every game, at every meal, on every road trip and any other time that he was awake.

            We had each others’ backs. The day I got my Dear John letter John Popham met me at the first base line, “She must have finally gotten a good look at you in the daylight.” John Stewart added, “You didn’t send her a recent picture by chance.” Rick Van Orden strolled by singing, “It’s just a matter of time”.

            Teammates to the end!

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