As a player, Lou was dominating, but one thing he couldn’t dominate was a mountain; obviously, the confidence of a kid that grew up in the flatlands of Florida couldn’t overcome the power of Mount Baldy, although Lou fought back best he could. Lou teaches us how to size baseball cleats, the “pitching pennies” way of trading baseball cards, and the pick-up games he played with his friends.
Phil, his brothers, and friends had many adventures that you will enjoy reading. How many high school baseball teams will load the entire team into a pickup truck to travel to an away game? What happened to the truck, the team, and Phil during this trip is something you’ve got to read; I even had other Pros mention they had heard this story before and admitted they never experienced something like this. Phil talks about his first experience with pizza, learning how to throw a fastball with one finger (obviously not the best method), and Phil’s tendency to break his friend’s equipment.
If you’ve read anything about the early days of baseball, you know there were a lot of shady, under-the-table deals made, and the 1899 National League season was no exception. To get the Louisville ballclub out of the league, several of the team owners had colluded to change up the league schedule, eliminating the Colonels Sunday games and costing the team over twenty thousand dollars in revenue, a large enough sum that would financially cripple the team. Through some shrewd negotiating, Barney survived the uprising brought against him by the other team owners.
It’s game night; I’m in line to meet Boog, I’ve got my elevator pitch prepped, and I’m ready to go. By this time, Mrs. Kelly had headed for the hills, too afraid to watch me elevator pitch Boog (by the way, if I haven’t mentioned this already, yes, we have the same first name, and yes it’s spelled the same too). I’m up next, and as I approach, Boog’s looking for me to hand him something to sign or for someone behind me to take a picture when … I gave him the elevator pitch of the year, the Ralphie Red Ryder full proof pitch, and what happened next would go down in the annuals of Just Like Me.
Nicknames play a big part in the youth culture, and when a nickname sticks, it’s yours forever. Now, the nickname Whitey didn’t come about when he was a kid; even though he was a toe-head, it was Relly … he was tagged with the nickname Whitey while playing in the minor leagues. Of the other players I’ve interviewed, such as Boog Powell and Hawk Taylor, they’ve had colorful nicknames and a funny or entertaining story of its origin. With Whitey, the entertaining story isn’t how he got his nickname; it’s how he ended up with his God-given name of Dorrel Norman Elvert Herzog.
The kids organized the town team Lois played on; they didn’t have coaches or a formal league, they just scheduled their games with other town teams, and instead of asking a parent to drive them to the game, they would walk to whichever field the teams had agreed to play on. Lois credits those games and the players having the responsibility of organizing games as very important in her development as a baseball player.