Classifieds Business Directory Jobs Real Estate Autos Legal Notices ePubs Subscribe Archives
Today is October 6, 2015
home news sportsfeature opinion fyi society obits multimedia

Front Page » July 16, 2009 » Carbon Sports » Trophy ball rewards player's fight to overcome polio
Published 2,273 days ago

Trophy ball rewards player's fight to overcome polio

Print PageEmail PageShareGet Reprints

Sun Advocate writer

In 1953 12 year old Jimmy Lupo of Helper was struck with the all but vanquished disease, polio. At the time this was serious condition which typically rendered it's victims paralyzed and doctors in Salt Lake told Lupo that if he was lucky enough to walk again, it would be with a cane. While this news was devastating to Jimmy, his then baseball coach Walt Borla came through for him, traveling to Denver with a baseball that he would have signed by baseball legends Yogi Berra, Nelson Fox, Eddie Lopat, Harvey King and numerous others.

"All of these guys made it to the Hall of Fame," recounts Lupo holding the baseball. "This ball inspired me, those players were really active in those days."

Walt or "Buck," as he known locally has been contributing to the sports section of the Sun Advocate since the 1950s, and started the Helper little league all-star team in 1952, a team that that included Lupo and would go on to Salt Lake turning heads the entire way.

"Buck designed our uniforms, they were so beautiful with blue and white stripes and Helper on the caps in blue," said Lupo. "When we got to Salt Lake, no one else had uniforms, we really stood out and there were so many people in the stands."

The Helper team however had an uphill battle because the three other teams present, one from Provo and two from Salt Lake had been in competition with each other all season and now had Helper in their sights.

"We beat Provo, but Buck really had to use his managing skills because it was an intense game, he pulled us over and says 'listen, do Helper proud'," remembered Lupo.

Although they lost the championship game, Lupo remained optimistic about the next year because he knew they would had a better shot at winning. However two weeks before the 1953 championship game, Lupo was diagnosed with polio and was rushed to Salt Lake for treatment.

Back then a trip from Helper to Salt Lake took nearly three hours and when Jimmy got to the LDS hospital there, as said above, the doctors were not hopeful for his condition. Lupo recounts his polio treatment procedures from being dumped into hot water, stretched three times a day, in addition to about about three to four hours of daily physical therapy.

When Buck heard about what happened to one of his players, he immediately headed out for Denver.

"Buck being the great man that he was, on October 11, 1953 goes to Eddie Lopat and had the whole team sign this ball, and came and presented it to me," said Lupo.

The ball reads "To Jimmy Lupo from Eddie Lopat's All-Stars, Denver Colorado Oct 11, 1953."

Lupo spent six months in the hospital with another four months learning how to walk again, and while he was never able to play baseball again, Lupo credits Buck with the fact that he can walk without braces or a cane.

Polio may have scared him, but he says he has learned to live with it and that to this day he can't imagine Helper without Buck.

"If more people were like Buck, we'd be in a better world," concluded Lupo.

Print PageEmail PageShareGet Reprints

Top of Page

Article Photos  
Browse / enlarge – (1 total)
Print photo(s) with article
Get photo reprints on CD
NOTE: To print only the article and included photos, use the print photo(s) with article link above.
Carbon Sports  
July 16, 2009
Recent Sports
Quick Links
Subscribe via RSS
Related Articles  
Related Stories

Best viewed with Firefox
Get Firefox

© Sun Advocate, 2000-2013. All rights reserved. All material found on this website, unless otherwise specified, is copyright and may not be reproduced without the explicit written permission from the publisher of the Sun Advocate.
Legal Notices & Terms of Use    Privacy Policy    Advertising Info    FAQ    Contact Us
  RSS Feeds    News on Your Site    Staff Information    Submitting Content    About Us