Emerging Writers. One Big Leaguer’s Story
On Baseball, Growing Up and Making a Difference
One Big Leaguer’s Story. Episode 1
It was the summer of 1950 and Johnny Remson, III, was playing his last professional baseball game in the St. Louis Cardinals system. Johnny’s father was slowing down and he needed Johnny back home in Georgia to help work the farm along with his three brothers. Johnny was needed by his father, and like Johnny’s father had done for his own father years ago, Johnny was going to do what needed doing.
Johnny had made it to the big club and stayed a while, but for the last few years he was assigned to the Cardinals top minor league team. His skills had clearly diminished and he wasn’t getting any younger, Johnny would like to joke. Personable, knowledgeable and patient, he was the perfect mentor for the team’s up and coming talent and he gratefully relished the role he was given. His family had nicknamed him Try when he was still just a little tyke and it stuck, for whatever he attempted he tried and tried and tried and always gave it his best.
You might remember Try’s grandfather, the eldest Johnny, who had fought in the War Between the States and somehow returned home in one piece to tell about it. He had lost Emily, his childhood sweetheart, when he set out from rural Georgia that day to go to war, only to find her again after so many years and so much that had happened in both of their lives. Well past the age of having that big family they had always wanted, Try’s grandfather and grandmother Emily had become parents nonetheless. Emily had been midwife to an ailing young woman who had just lost her husband in a farm accident. The child was their first, but the woman died in childbirth, leaving the baby boy an orphan and without any family. Try’s grandfather and grandmother adopted the boy who would later become Try’s father.
Try had fond memories of his grandfather and Sam, his grandfather’s lifelong friend, who continued to farm their places together along with Sam’s sons and later his grandsons and Try’s father, until they could do it no more. On those hot summer nights when supper was done, they would sit out on the porch and listen to the baseball game, it was always the Cardinals, no other team for them. Try’s grandfather and Sam would tell them war stories while the game played on the radio. If Try had been asked back in the day, he would have had to admit that while he loved the war stories, he loved the Cardinals and baseball more. Although the Cardinals played so far away from his farm, Try was determined to go see them play one day. And he did. He always liked to say that they were too poor to afford to go see the Cardinals play, so he had to become a baseball player himself to do it!
“Hey Try! How are ya?” And quickly Try was awakened from his reverie by the newspaper reporter who followed the major league Cardinals most of the time. The two had become friends. “Hey Nate, not with the big club today? How come?”
“Try, I wanted to wish you well and ask you something. Well, I’m wondering if you would allow me to write your story, from start to finish. I’ve admired you since I was a cub reporter and you were a rookie with the big club. I was never good enough to make it myself even though I worked my hardest like you always have. You have been such a great role model and mentor your whole career and most of all such an outstanding person. What do you say Try?”
“Well Nate, I would be honored to have you write my story if you think it’s worth writing.”
“Great Try, just great! How bout we do this, we can talk once a week after you get settled back on the farm in Georgia. I’ll write up what you tell me and then you can read it and make changes. And we can keep doing that until we’re done.”
“Sure Nate, but I don’t think it will take too long. What do I have to say about myself that anyone would actually want to know?”
“Plenty Try, plenty.”