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Memory Ball Quest

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  • Memory Ball Quest

    Hi All!

    My in-laws dropped by for an extended visit, which gave me a chance to talk in-depth with my 79-year old Father-in-law, Don Sponholz. Now, Don lost his biological Father at age three , and so was raised by his Mother, Grandmother and aunt/uncle…that is, until Chicago White Sox trainer “Packy” Schwartz came into his life by marrying a girl he had dated in his youth—Don’s Mom.

    Don was large for his age…and a good ball-player ( first base )….and Packy was the White Sox trainer….so, one really neat result for this high school ball-player was to actually suit up in a Chicago White Sox uniform and take batting and fielding practice with them during parts of the 1947, 1948 and 1949 seasons…awesome for a teenager!

    Talk about memories! A few that came from Don as he looked back over the team rosters that I found on the internet were:

    Frank Papish: Who could really “neigh” like a horse

    Dave Philly: Whose remedy for “jock itch” was pouring 100% alcohol on his

    Rudy York: Who was a big American Indian and played first base

    Bob Kennedy: Who has a nicknamed “cannon arm”

    Luke Appling: Who was really a terribly nice guy…..unless he got upset with
    management, in which case he would purposely foul off dozens of
    balls to cost them money.

    Gus Zernial : Who was a “gentleman’s gentleman”…but often told Packy he would
    hate to meet his kid ( Don ) in an alley ( like I said, Don was big for
    his age )

    As Don explained it to me, after practice, all the players walked back to the showers/locker room through an area where fans could ask players to sign baseballs, etc. Well, Don was in a White Sox uniform, and big for his age, and was asked for his autograph…so on about 10-12 occasions that he can remember, he signed balls for fans. More than likely, other players signed the same ball…or his signature could be solo; no way of knowing.

    So, my quest is simple: what better present to give this gentle, intelligent man than a “memory ball” from what had to be some of the happier times of his young life? If anyone out there knows of a “Don Sponholz” baseball ( single or paired with other White Sox players ), please let me know…and help complete a lasting memory for this 79-year old Navy veteran and Father of five.


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