A Special Memory

It was after Sunday dinner, about 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon that we arrived at Mr. Felt McElroy’s house. He had invited my daddy and me to come and play baseball with him, his son Don, and a few of Don’s friends. I can remember only two of the friends, Lawrence Nelms and Billy Tate. It seemed that this was an every Sunday event for them.

In the back of their house there was a large cow pasture that was already marked with base pads. You could tell that this was not the first time they had played there. There were distinct paths between each base and a large worn area around home base. The other players had their own gloves. I had a glove, but Daddy had to borrow one.

We played for about an hour and a half. I didn’t get a hit but had a lot of encouragement from everyone. Although I was the youngest player there was no mercy shown. The sun was quite hot. We got dirty and sweaty so we all climbed into Mr. McElroy’s car and he drove to a swimming hole on Flint River, near their home. We spent the next hour “skinny dipping” in the cool river water. This was a new and very special treat for me.

It was around 1946 and the Atlanta Crackers played at their stadium on Ponce de Leon. Mr. McElroy and Don frequently attended their games. I believe they had season tickets. Seeing that we enjoyed our visit with them that Sunday afternoon, they asked Daddy and me to go to a Cracker game with them. We had box seats right behind first base and Charlie Trippi was playing on first. He had just graduated from the University of Georgia where he was a football star (later a member of the Football Hall of Fame). He had also played some baseball in college. Mr. McElroy said he had been hired to play with the Crackers as an added attraction because he was so famous . I had followed the University of Georgia football games on radio and Charlie Trippi was a hero of mine. For years I kept the scorecard Daddy bought for me that night.