Around the bar at Kreutz Creek Valley VFW Post 7045, Gene Crumling was known as Lefty.
He tended bar there for longer than a lot of people could remember, and was pretty good at it. He was entertaining, a friendly guy, always had a story, and was known as a huge baseball fan. Lefty loved baseball. More than anything.
A one-hit wonder, they call players like him. They attract followings - baseball fans scour volumes of stats seeking out players who only had one hit in the big leagues - and Lefty was no exception. Until the day he died, last Saturday at age 89, hardly a week would go by without someone writing to him and asking for an autograph. He'd received requests from as far away as Japan. He got requests for autographs from current major leaguers.