Saturday, September 8, 2007

Stories [1]

I promised to share a story or two regarding my experiences in chatting with big league ballplayers which did not really fit onto any other blog. I've always been a ballplayer. It was kinda nice, meeting another ballplayer who was good enough to have hit the big time.

The first big league player I met and talked with was Chris Knapp. Remember him?
Didn't think so [sorry, Chris]. Pitcher, once struck out Reggie Jackson :-)

I went back and Googled Chris, found out he's as old as my sister, Jo Ann [1953, so five years older than I am]. This didn't mean anything at the time, but Chris was born in Cherry Point, North Carolina, home of the Marine Corps Air Station [and not a whole lot else, the actual nearby city is Havelock]. Came up with the White Sox in 1975 out of Central Michigan U
[we beat them 81-0 or something like that in '97] and had a couple of good years. Traded with Brian Downing and pitcher Dave Frost to California Angels for Bobby Bonds, Rich Dotson, and Thad Boseley. Wow! In '78 Chris won more games than Nolan Ryan, 14 - 10. Musta blew out his arm, as he faded into a 2-14 season with 6.14 ERA in 1980, his last year in the bigs.

I met Chris and his wife in the hospital, actually. You see, after his arm went bad, he worked at a horse farm in central Florida, and I had been attending the University of Florida up in Gainesville. I'd met a gal from Williston, halfway between Ocala and Gainesville, and the Knapps were from around that area as well. Both ladies were in a family way, and if I remember it correctly, we shared the recovery room after deliveries. Nice folks, too.
Kinda personalized the whole big-league player thing for me as I realized that they are people just like anyone else. Can't remember just what we yakked about, mainly kids and horses, stuff like that. My son, Derek, was born at the time. Nice guy, I like him a lot. Lost track of the Knapps after that, wonder what they are up to? Hope they are doing well.

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