From the diary of a girl born in 1912.
My dad is not much of an athlete, but he loves to watch baseball games. We always go to the church-sponsored baseball and softball games here in Mocksville. The whole family goes, and sometimes we take a picnic. Those are fun times for all of us, but especially my father. Since we live in town, it’s pretty easy for all of us to walk to the games. If it gets late, somebody will give us a ride home in their buggy. I asked my dad why he liked baseball so much. He told me the most surprising thing. We ride the train to Winston to go to our dentist, Fred Anderson. I always dread going, but he’s a funny guy that makes me laugh and helps me realize that I really should take good care of my teeth.
“Dr. Anderson played big league baseball years ago,” dad told me.
“I think you’re teasing me. Nobody from around here could do anything that well,” I said.
“Oh, but you’re wrong. He and I went to school together, and I have a scrapbook I kept of his sports career. Would you like to see it?”
My father went upstairs and finally came back down with an old scrapbook he found in the attic. “I would cut articles out of the paper, and he sent me some souvenirs sometimes.”
As I looked through the pages, I saw lots and lots of numbers. I had never realized that baseball involved so much arithmetic. I learned that Dr. Anderson was born in 1885 in Calahaln and played his first professional ball game in 1909 when he was 23 years old. He was the pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. The scrapbook had a picture of him when he was young and playing ball. He dropped out for a while and finished dental school, and he was a dentist in Statesville.
But in 1913, he went back to the Red Sox team and played ball on that team for three years. In 1916, he joined the team of the New York Giants. His last game was on Tuesday, July 9, 1918. It was played at Weeghman Park in Chicago. He pitched almost all of the game, which went to ten innings. The final score was New York Giants, 7, and Chicago Cubs, 6. He struck out 2 hitters. He didn’t score when it was his turn to bat, but he helped win the game by pitching well.
I didn’t understand why this was his last game, but my dad told me that the World War had begun. So Dr. Anderson joined the United States Army Dental Corps. He served at a military base in the United States to help soldiers with their teeth.
After the war, he became a dentist in Winston. I sure am glad he didn’t get hurt playing baseball or during the war. I’m going to tell him that the next time I go see him.
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