My dad was a really humble guy.
I knew he was a pretty good all-around athlete when he was younger.
I know he was a really impressive pitcher with a ridiculous knuckleball. I know first-hand because when we would throw the ball around in the yard the ball would dance like Lionel Ritchie in the Dancin’ on the Ceiling video when he would unleash the knuckler.
But he never talked about it. I would ask him, but he would speak in really general terms. My mom told me how good he was, but my mom likes to brag about those people closest to her so it may not have made such a huge impression.
Not until SulliSister, Kelly, and I were clearing out our storage unit after his death did I find old newspaper clippings, trophies and awards detailing his accomplishments.
It didn’t matter to me that he played at NAIA Sterling College, not Texas. It didn’t matter to me that he was from little ‘ole Grant Park, Ill., not Naperville. The home run hitting trophy from his youth days, the 12 or 13 varsity letters and the press clippings from the Wichita newspaper summarizing some big days for Fritz Sullivan were so cool to see (I’ll try and grab and scan them for a future post). I don’t have them in front of me, but in one box score on the agate page my dad pitched a hell of a game, had a couple hits and RBI in a win over Wichita State (Go Shocks! – That’s for you Garrett)
When he did tell old stories about train rides from Kankakee to Dodge City and playing baseball I thought it was so cool. But I wanted more and he always kept those stories brief.
I can’t wait to tell my stories (some of which are Class A) to our children—I don’t have the humble gene from my dad; I really think I’m awesome. (just like SulliMom and my mom!)
What do you think the youngster will say when they watch and hear my voiceover (the first voice you hear) on the Bobak’s Sausage Race that played during each Bears game this season?