18. The Ultimate Tiger Fan

18.  THE ULTIMATE TIGER FAN

Daddy and his brother Steve loved baseball.  After high school, they played for the Ionia team.  Steve was the pitcher, Daddy was the catcher.  When Daddy and I played catch in the driveway, I used his big catcher’s mitt and mask.

Daddy took me to see a Detroit Tigers game when I was little.  I only remember that Rudy York was the player Daddy pointed out.  Before we got TV, he always listened to the games on the radio.  He sat on the settle with his eyes closed, apparently asleep, but never missed a play.  Mom used to say she hoped the Tigers were not playing the day of her funeral. 

As a surprise, Mom sent a post card to Ernie Harwell, the legendary Tiger announcer of the day, that Bob Hicks, a fan in Ionia, was celebrating his 80th birthday by listening to the game.  Ernie read it on the air, July 8th, and we all yelled “Surprise!”

2 thoughts on “18. The Ultimate Tiger Fan

  1. Sue Sauer

    Delightful!!! Loved your Mom’s comment. Those were the good days, when the Tigers won more often. Great memories!

  2. Kim Grant

    My memory is not great these days, but I did learn how to catch with that weird catchers mitt in the attic. It was weird because
    the pocket in the mitt was only as large as the baseball making it really hard to catch a pitched ball. I believe it was my Grandmother Mimi that told me he was offered a chance to play for the tigers when he was young and in the Ty Cobb era, perhaps he was 15, but his parents said no because they believed he should finish high school. When I landed my first job in Corrections at the big house in Jackson, the big boss asked me where I was from and I replied Ionia. I was driving 81 miles one way to work and as we talked, I found out that he was driving 112. As we talked, he realized he was driving by the farm every day on his commute and asked if I lived in Bob Hicks old house and I replied he was my grandfather, and yes, I lived there. He told me that Gramp was the greatest athlete in Ionia history, one who was captain of the baseball, football, and basketball team. He won a state championship in the pole vault and many medals at the meets. He boxed in the golden gloves and in his toughest athletic feat, being a stretcher bearer in WWI. Gramp, being the humble person he was, never boasted of any of this, a true lesson for the trash talking that is done today. Thanks Unc for triggering some memories.

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