Letter to the editor: Baseball moments captured on ball
Although I appreciate the kind words of Jimmy Lupo, a former Helper businessman now residing in Salt Lake City, in the article concerning his bout with polio (Trophy ball rewards player's fight to overcome polio, Sun Advocate, July 16, 2009) in 1952, I believe some explanation is in order.
We had just completed the first year ever of Little League baseball in Carbon County that year when Jimmy and another of our players, the late Wayne Dimick, contracted the dreaded disease. In October a group of us noticed that a major league baseball exhibition game had been scheduled in Denver immediately following the world series that year. Eddie Lopat, a talented pitcher, had recruited a number of major league stars to go the Japan for a series of exhibition games. The game in Denver was scheduled as a stop over on the way to Japan.
We, Mike Kanderis, Burton (Peewee) Davis, both now deceased, and myself made the trip to Denver on a train to see the game. There may have been a fourth member, but if so, I just can't remember everything at my age. I took along two new baseballs, hoping to get some autographs on them from some of the players to give to these two young polio victims.
This took place long before Denver secured the present major league team, the Rockies. We had good seats down close near first base and during batting practice we drew Lopat's attention and explained our mission. Graciously, he took the balls as the players went into the dressing rooms to get ready for the game. When they came back out he brought the balls to us, each autographed by all the players on the team, players of top notch stardom at that period of time.
It is with a great deal of satisfaction to me in hearing of Jimmy's appreciation of this little deed in helping him overcome the effects of the polio that struck him down at such a young age. Of course, Wayne Dimick is gone now. But if he were still living, I am sure he would feel the same way Jimmy does.