Bill’s great home run

Published 12:32 pm Thursday, June 20, 2024

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My late brother Bill was one of the white boys who played baseball at Harmon Field. I only learned about Harry Dallara when he lamented that the black boys were not allowed to play at Harmon Field. I have no idea who made that rule or even that it existed.

I want to tell you again about the white guys who played baseball with Bill. Among them was Robert Barber, Homer Durham and Bill Llewellen. Bill wanted to pitch, but Manager Barber often put him at first base because with his long arms he could catch those wild throws and put the batters out.

Bill hit one of the longest balls ever hit at the Field. I have told before of measuring it; we took Bill’s friend Joe Dedman and my 100-foot tape. We had to guess where home plate was in those days, but the refreshment stand still stands. That ball bounced off the roof of the stand!

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We measured some 565 feet, which is a home run in any park. Mr. Vining duly reported the games by the RALs. Bill told me that they were the “Ragged-A** Loafers” and their battery was often the two Bills: Goodwin and Llewellen.

The Dodgers scouted Bill, but he was only a tenth grader, so they told him not to play football, and promised to be back. That is akin to telling squirrels not to climb trees. Of course Bill went out for football (he loved that game as much as he loved baseball), was injured in a game, lost his fast ball and much of his control, so that was that.

Our late Uncle Wallace Goodwin played baseball for the Hartford team. He had played for the Mooresville team when we lived there. Wallace joined the Navy when WWII began. Bill joined the Marines. Bill was doing his conditioning run at Harmon Field when he suffered a heart attack and died there, where he had spent so many happy hours in his youth.

Father’s Day is here; so was D-Day 6 June 1944. The kids of today know nothing of D-Day, but it is a vivid memory for many of us old folks—especially those who participated. Too many of them are buried in Europe, where the local citizens tend their graves with great respect and TLC.

My Fran is observing her 89th birthday on the 29th. Her Doc sent her a rollator, but I used it because she did not. Dr. Viar has now prescribed one for me, so I opted for an Air Force blue one. I use mine to go everywhere now.

The men of White Oak filled up the bus for a trip to Southern Manners, in their remodeled building that used to house Brannon’s restaurant. We also filled a room there, where the hostesses kept our coffee cups full and took really good care of us.

Driver Kevin Vees was a good shepherd, herding his charges around the restaurant. I especially appreciated his guidance, opening doors etc. for me. All that coffee had to go somewhere, and Kevin was there to see to the doors and get me onto the bus.

So endeth another chronicle of my new life as an OLD person. I no longer try to keep myself and my family out of this column. I see my readers as friends who can be expected to enjoy these references to our friends. Welcome to our world, y’all (that’s everybody who reads this)!                           


Garland would like to hear from you at 828-859-7041 or garlandgoodwi,