Saturday, July 13, 2013

Whazzup?

In my last blog I apologized for being somewhat lax about posting anything. I thought I would update you and let you know whazzup. Previously, I mentioned that I was occupied with writing my book and doing a column for the Kenosha News. Well, things haven’t changed very much. I finished the “My Turn” column and it will appear in the Monday July 22nd edition of the local paper. I am just about done writing a chapter about umpires for my book. 

I would have completed it by now, but this past Monday night something came up. I had a phone conversation with Jim Fulmer, president of the Kenosha Softball Hall of Fame. The 2013 induction ceremony for the Hall is Sunday July 14th at 2:30 at Lincoln Park during the Rotary Tournament and Jim needed help. The 15 inductees had to be notified about the ceremony and bios needed to be written for each of them.

Being the dutiful committee member, I sighed and told him that I should be able to take care of 10 of the 15. I knew it would be time consuming and take me away from writing my book, but these individuals deserved to have something written for them. So, I sucked it up and got to work.

I was right. I didn’t finish the last bio until late Thursday night, but it was worth it. Heck, it was even a bit rewarding.

I had the opportunity to personally speak with Howie Latshaw, Bill Johnson, Tom Blaziewske, Gene Willems, Kris Allison, Jack Zimmerman, Ernie Pascucci, Bruce “Hollywood” Meyers and the wife and son of the late Sam “Finney” Perry. The only person I struck out with was Richie Baumgarten. Seems he was “otherwise occupied”. Oh well…

The reason I said it was a bit rewarding is that it was a joy talking to these Hall-of-Famers. Not just because they were great ball players, undoubtedly, they all were. It was also gratifying to hear how excited they were to receive this honor. Finney’s widow, Carmella Perry couldn’t stop crying the first time I spoke to her.

Another reason that this was beneficial was that I was able to gather additional valuable material for my book, courtesy of Ernie Pascucci and Jack Zimmerman.

It was pure bliss to sit and reminisce for an hour about the “old days” with 86-year-old Pascucci at my house. The icing on the cake was when the “Distinguished One” loaned me an album chock full of photos and newspaper articles. You can rest assured that several pieces of this memorabilia will make it into my book.


I can’t begin to describe how anxious I am to interview Zimmerman in the very near future. This guy was not only one of the most talented softball ballplayers around, he was also one of the most colorful characters there was. He told me can’t wait for me to call him back so he can tell me some of the stories from his days of not only playing softball but also the years he starred with the semi-pro Racine Raiders football team.

One final reason this project was worthwhile was that it gave me cause to get in touch with other Kenosha Softball luminaries, such as Glenn “Rock” Evenson, Jimmy Gentile, Leon Rosko, and fellow HOF committee members, Gary “Wizard” Peterson and Pat Hegewald. When it comes to bullshitting about softball, it doesn’t get any better than Jimmy G and Hegs. These two guys are the best, bar none.

Well, that’s whazzup. Tomorrow I will hopefully finish the umpire chapter. I believe Sorensen’s Mfg. will be next up. Then it has to be Jack Zimmerman. Man, I can’t wait. Until next time…from the booth. 

2 comments:

Leplume said...

You're a busy busy bee! But it all sounds like cool stuff too! Good luck with the book! :)

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

Thanks, MB!