Board: Major League Baseball
My in-laws dropped by for an extended visit, which gave me a chance to talk in-depth with my 79-year old Father-in-law, Don Sponholz. Now, Don lost his biological Father at age three , and so was raised by his Mother, Grandmother and aunt/uncle…that is, until Chicago White Sox trainer “Packy” Schwartz came into his life by marrying a girl he had dated in his youth—Don’s Mom.
Don was large for his age…and a good ball-player ( first base )….and Packy was the White Sox trainer…so, one really neat result for this high school ball-player was to actually suit up in a Chicago White Sox uniform and take batting and fielding practice with them during parts of the 1947, 1948 and 1949 seasons…awesome for a teenager!
Talk about memories! A few that came from Don as he looked back over the team rosters that I found on the internet were:
Frank Papish: Who could really “neigh” like a horse.
Dave Philly: Whose remedy for “jock itch” was pouring 100% pouring 100% alcohol on his privates.
Rudy York: Who was a big American Indian and played first base.
Bob Kennedy: Who has a nicknamed “cannon arm”.
Luke Appling: Who was really a terribly nice guy…..unless he got upset with management, in which case he would purposely foul off dozens of balls to cost them money.
Gus Zernial: Who was a “gentleman’s gentleman”…but often told Packy he would hate to meet his kid ( Don ) in an alley ( like I said, Don was big for his age.) As Don explained it to me, after practice, all the players walked back to the showers/locker room through an area where fans could ask players to sign baseballs, etc. Well, Don was in a White Sox uniform, and big for his age, and was asked for his autograph…so on about 10-12 occasions that he can remember, he signed balls for fans. More than likely, other players signed the same ball…or his signature could be solo; no way of knowing.
So, my quest is simple: what better present to give this gentle, intelligent man than a “memory ball” from what had to be some of the happier times of his young life? If anyone out there knows of a “Don Sponholz” baseball ( single or paired with other White Sox players ), please let me know…and help complete a lasting memory for this 79-year old Navy veteran and Father of five.
Also, if anyone knows good baseball websites that I can post this too, that would be helpful