April 24, 2012

A baseball tale from 1943 involving the Chicago White Sox' Luke Appling

One of the charms of baseball is the little stories that can only have happened in our national pastime. Here is one from 1943 that I found in a book by Janice A. Petterchak, "Jack Brickhouse, A Voice for All Seasons."

Future Hall of Famer Luke Appling, who went on to win the American League batting title for the Chicago White Sox that season, had been asked by the American Red Cross in his hometown of Atlanta for some autographed baseballs. They were to be used in a fund-raiser to support the war effort.

As Brickhouse tells the story, "Luke asked the Sox for a couple of dozen baseballs. While he was getting ready for batting practice, he got the word that club vice president Harry Grabiner had turned him down -- 'Can't spare them.' Luke sent the messenger back to Grabiner to tell him, 'You better come out and watch my batting practice.'

"Grabiner went and watched as Luke fouled 12 straight pitches into the seats. On the last one, Grabiner yelled, 'You've got them. You can have the baseballs.'"

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