To get up to speed on this posting please see my last posting. A brief summary is at a store in Naples, FL I met Ms. Root, whose father’s uncle was Charlie Root. He was the pitcher who in the 1932 WS pitched the ball that Babe Ruth supposedly pointed to the centerfield stands prior to the pitch. On the next pitch the Babe deposited the ball into the centerfield stands.
Ms. Root’s father told her that his uncle was really bothered about the called shot and being remembered only for yielding the “called shot of Ruth”.
Later on, I looked up the statistics compiled by Charlie Root. He had a fine career winning over 200 games. In researching him further I found out he was asked to play himself in the 1948 film about Ruth, he turned it down when he learned that Ruth’s pointing to centerfield would be in the film. Charlie Root said, “Ruth did not point at the fence before he swung. If he had made a gesture like that, well, anybody who knows me knows that Ruth would have ended up on his ass.”
Now back to the gentleman who joined our conversation. After saying he was a former baseball player he gave his name as Henry Devincent. He told me he played in the Cincinnati farm system for two years, 1956 and 1957. He continued his story by saying for most of the time he played in Class D ball which was the lowest class of minor league ball at that time. For those who don’t know it at one time the minor league system consisted of several classes. From lowest to highest it went as follows. The lowest being D-ball followed by C-Ball, B-Ball, A-Ball, AA-Ball, AAA-Ball. In 1957, he announced his retirement and in his final game hit a home run. After arriving at the dugout a teammate asked if he was still going to retire and he said I am off to medical school. Today at the age of 78 he is a retired physician. He then went on to tell me stories mostly about Joe DiMaggio and his relationship with Mickey Mantle.
I will recount from memory some of the things Henry told me as we sat outside the store in Naples, Fl. When Mickey Mantle arrived in 1951 from his minor league team to the big club he was given the number 6. The number you were given corresponded to your locker number in the clubhouse. Since Joe DiMaggio wore number 5, his locker was next to Joe’s locker. When Joe saw that all Mickey had was dungarees and a shirt, he told Mickey this was not the Yankee way. Mickey said he had no money. Joe reached into his pocket and pulled out three 100 dollar bills gave it to the clubhouse attendant and told him to take the kid and get him a couple of suits. Joe always addressed a rookie as kid. Mickey always addressed Joe as Mr. DiMaggio. He did say that on road trips Joe always ate in his hotel room and never went out with the guys. Whenever any reporter asked Joe how was it to be married to Marilyn Monroe, Joe got real upset and walked away without answering. In those days being a baseball player was considered a part time job. In the summers, many players worked at places like UPS. Henry told me after two years in Class D ball he saw no future in baseball and took off for a more profitable career in medicine. He knew Robin Roberts, the Hall of Fame pitcher of the Phillies, whose highest salary was $32,000 for a season.
My wife exited the store and I said goodbye to Ms. Root and to Henry Devincent and thanked both of them for a most enjoyable 30 minutes.
Yes, baseball follows me wherever I go.
|Stan “The Stats Man” said…
Nikolai: Yes, Class-D existed until about 1963. A good book to look at is “The Class-D Encyclopedia” by John Bell. Remmember, for a long time there were only 16 teams in the Majors and very little if any TV coverage. Class-D helped to bring baseball to many cities.
October 29, 2012 09:03:05
I’m curiou about class D baseball. How many guys made it all the way from there to the majors. Then again, back then minor league baseball was probably a bigger deal, and a bigger draw in its own right.
October 28, 2012 03:15:05
|Martin E. Cobern said…
“If he had made a gesture like that, well, anybody who knows me knows that Ruth would have ended up on his ass.” Now THAT was the way to play baseball, without all the prima donna b.s. from today’s “stars.” Mr. DeVincent’s story sounds a lot like Doc Graham’s in Field of Dreams.
October 20, 2012 12:56:54