Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics


The Catcher’s Mitt

The owner of the catcher’s mitt was born on October 16, 1882 and was named James Francis Wilson. He was called Frank. I never knew him personally because he died before I was born. What I know of him I know from my Dad. Frank was his father and Daddy loved him dearly.

Dad had this to say about his father and baseball.

Until the depression started in 1929, Dad played semi-pro ball for the company he worked for. He was an excellent catcher, and had played with many of the future major league stars. He had progressed up to Triple A Ball with both Beaumont of the Texas League and Milwaukee of the American Association, but was prevented from going on to the majors because of his size; he was only 5’8″ and 152 pounds. He was a better defensive catcher than Mickey Owens, and a better hitter then Wade Killefer, but he was just too small. The then New York Giants did have his contract in perpetuity though.

When cleaning up the house to sell I found a metal box. I had to break the lock to get it open to see what was inside. It contained My Dad’s baseball gloves from the time he was a child until he retired and no longer played. I distributed the other gloves to my brothers and niece but I kept the catcher’s mitt. Dad had very little from his Dad but that mitt traveled around the country with him.

I would have loved to have known my paternal grandfather. In knowing my Dad though I got to know this grandfather. Dad’s sisters said that Dad and his father were very much alike. They had to double check when one walked into the room to see which one it was. They looked and sounded so much alike that it was difficult to tell them apart at first glance.

Dad got his love of sports from his Dad. I got my love of sports from him. Being an only girl I loved to play catch with my Dad. He taught me to throw a baseball and softball as well as a football. When you are an only daughter with a sport’s nut Dad it helps to be a tomboy. To this day I love to watch sports.

Dad took us to many baseball games when we lived in the Bay Area. We cheered on both the Giants and the A’s. We watched football every Sunday. Dad was a huge Raiders fan but he also watched the 49ers.

When I look at that old catcher’s mitt it brings back memories of my Dad. It also connects me to a man I never knew but still love. My Dad loved him dearly and that is good enough for me.

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James Francis Wilson

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Dad and I

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The Catcher’s Mitt

On This Day In History

On this day in history an earth-shattering event occurred. Jack Lloyd Wilson was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. What do you mean it wasn’t an earth shattering event? He was my Dad and that makes it a pretty momentous occasion.

Dad never had it easy in his life. His mother died when he was a very small child. His stepmother was out of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales (think Snow White and Cinderella). He put himself through school. He worked in the CCC camps to support himself. He made it on his own. He made it through with a sense of humor that bordered on the bizarre. He was always generous, especially to his children and only grandchild. You can read his life story in his own words here.

I became my most politically active when I went away to college. Through phone calls and long letters Dad listened to me, gave me advice, and most of all never, ever told me to stop. I know there were times when he was terrified at his head strong daughter out canvassing the street trying to get signatures on a sensible gun control legislation. I know he was worried that my very vocal support of equal right for the LGBT society would put me into the kind of dangerous hatred that we see constantly about Gay rights.

One of the most important things my Dad taught me was to have an open mind. He encouraged me to read and we happily traded books throughout our life together. Dad and I had the same fascination about the paranormal. After poring through numerous books we decided to go with Hamlet when he said “there is more in heaven and earth Horatio then is dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Dad was a true middle-of-the-roader when it came to politics. He was amused by my liberal politics and would debate me about my ideas not to try and talk me out of them but to make sure that I thought carefully about them and was certain that this was my philosophy.

He was very proud of me and the science fiction conventions I ran because I donated all profits to charity. He was proud to realize that he had instilled in his only daughter a desire to help the peoples of this planet as well as the planet itself.

He was my best critic when it came to my art and writing. He was my biggest fan when it came to my cooking. I was visiting for a week and as always I cooked that week. He took me to the grocery store and introduced me to some of his friends who he ran into. He said, “This is my daughter Michele. She is the finest cook I have ever known.”

My Dad was a World War Two veteran. I wish they had finished the WWII memorial in his lifetime. I would have loved to take him to see it.

It is the little things I am remembering today especially his sense of humor. I remember taking him to the first Star Wars movie. His first comment on leaving the movie was “target practice at 0800 hours.” I remember having an extra ticket to see John Denver and asking him along. I thought he was just being kind since my car was on the fritz and he was driving but on the way home he started talking about how much he loved John Denver’s music and how happy he was to have seen him live. I remember his asking if I wanted to throw a football or play softball with him. He was never sure what do with an only daughter and was thrilled when I turned out to athletic. Only one of the four boys turned out that way so Dad taught me all the sports he loved. I remember the “uncola” glass at my Aunt’s place one Easter. 7-Up had come out with an upside down coke glass as a promotional. Dad called out to me “Michele quick put you hand under the glass the bottom just broke.” I did and he laughed so hard he almost dropped the glass.

So happy birthday Dad. Keep beating Mom’s relatives at cards up there like you did down here. I love you and miss you so much.

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