I recently read the following article from author Charles Leerhsen on baseball great Ty Cobb. It underscores, for truth’s sake, the importance of original sources.
Some kids while growing up break an arm or a leg. I broke my head at Palmer Cove Park.
The park sat in back of Saltonstall School, between the school and the ocean. It was all field, baseball fields.
My dad was (and is) a huge baseball fan. He grew up following the Red Sox, Ted Williams, etc., and played the game in high school. And any chance that availed he would put a game together.
This day he rounded up a group of neighborhood kids, including me, for a game of hardball. In the team selection process my Dad and I wound up on different teams. It fell to me to pitch for my team.
I throw right-handed. My Dad is a leftie, so it is problematical pitching to him. And he is a strong hitter. I guess I got one over the plate that he really liked. And next thing I knew I was standing there on the mound and everyone was looking at me. And I didn’t know why.
My Dad had hit a straight as a bullet line drive that connected with my right temple. I hadn’t felt a thing. The ball was later found between the mound and third base, so my head had pretty much absorbed the energy from the ball.
My Dad rushed out to the mound, swept me up in his arms and carried me from the field.
We went back to the apartment first, but when the lump on my head swelled to an astronomical height he bundled me into the car and took me to the hospital.
There, an x-ray (not a fluoroscope) revealed that I was the proud possessor of a linear fracture, and that I would be spending the next few days in the hospital.
As you can imagine my Dad was upset and saddened that he had been the agent of my injury.
For me it was a watershed incident. My doctor ruled out any contact sports for the next few years. I did better than that, not enlisting in any contact sports until I was out of college. It was an open invitation to continue down the track of an introvert – the inner life of the mind.