I have been wondering how celebrities get along with the fans who are constantly trying to run their lives.
I have about a dozen fans who have been loyal to me, and I sometimes have a battle with my ego over my popularity. Coming back to reality, I realize a dozen votes won’t get me a cup of espresso at the corner coffee joint. Then I realize some of those fans were Sam Lacy fans, and have decided it would be a good idea to watchdog me. So, for those fans and anybody else who have been suggesting that I get back on task, I am returning my attention to the “He Made a Difference” series.
Most of you who were fans of Sam Lacy only knew the Hall of Fame side of him. I think it fitting to reveal a more human side of my pop.
As the years passed, Sam’s exercise regimen consisted of going from the house to the car and driving to his office in Baltimore. The office was located on Eutaw St., and the climb from the first floor to the third floor where Sam had set up shop was like climbing Mt. Fuji to me when I visited. An occasional visit to the grocery store and a round of golf now and then rounded out Sam’s exercise program.
However, in the mid 1960s he was called upon to participate in a celebrity baseball game. The game pitted sports media personalities against Hollywood stars.
Sam was a lock to be chosen by the sports media team since he was a sought-after athlete among the barnstorming semi-pro teams of his youth. Sam had a better than average run with these teams, and nobody stopped to think that chasing a hot ground ball ain’t like climbing back on a bicycle.
Since Sam hadn’t stooped over to field a ground ball in 30 years, he decided it was time for him to get back in shape and it was my turn to conduct spring training. I would hit hot grounders to him and he would try to get his body in position to put a glove on the ball. After a few days, memories came back to his body and I thought he was doing ok.
When game day arrived, Sam looked at the line-up and saw he was playing shortstop. Things were uneventful for the first few innings, but in the third inning, Nick Adams, star of the TV series “The Rebel,” hit a sharp grounder his way. It was then that Sam discovered his feet had been planted in cement and a certain individual was getting in his way—all he could do was watch the ball go by.
At the end of the inning, Sam discovered that the cement had been removed and the guy who was getting in his way was Father Time.