Dad was born in 1945 in Wilmington, Delaware, which is quite close to Philadelphia. His father died in 1951 when he was five years old, almost six. He went to live in Philadelphia at a boarding school for "orphans," which in practice at the time meant fatherless boys. His mother had a home near Wilmington and he only saw her occasionally, until she died when he was 13, making him a true orphan. Her home passed on to one of Dad's aunts. That aunt lived there for about thirty years, until she got sick and moved in with her daughter circa 1990. When that happened, Dad was invited over to go through some of the things in the basement. He brought home some stuff, I think including an old model train set, but mainly a few boxes of his father's books. He bought some bookshelves and put his father's books in the living room. They stayed there, largely untouched I think, for a couple of decades, I would say.
Now that Dad is gone, Mom is staying in the house but has in mind that she might sell eventually. She wants to be ready if she does sell, and has been getting rid of some old things. She gave most of Dad's father's books away, but saved one for me: The Story of Bobby Shantz. But it couldn't have been his father's book since his father died in 1951 and the book was published in 1953. I think this must have actually been Dad's book when he was little, and even though he lived at the orphanage/boarding school, maybe his mother gave it to him when he was home sometime. Anyway, so much is lost to history. But for sure Bobby Shantz was a Philadelphia star, Dad was a little kid in and near Philadelphia back then, and this book came out of his mother's house and eventually made its way to me many years later.
|1975 Topps Mini 1952 MVPs, Bobby Shantz and Hank Sauer.|
Finally, I'll mention connections to another player I've featured recently, Curt Simmons. I've shown the 1955 Bowman and the 1956 Topps cards of Simmons recently. Simmons was one of the 1950 Phillies Whiz Kids. Shantz and Simmons were both important pitchers of the 1950s, both in Philadelphia and further afield, both won World Series with other teams, both were multiple-time All-Stars, and both are on the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame. Both are also from the Philadelphia region originally. And both are also still alive. They did an interview together a few years ago and it's available on YouTube. I'll close out this post with that YouTube video; thanks for reading.