Friday, June 01, 2007

He played with Red

Thursday was a long day -- too many miles, too many meetings, too little sleep.

However, the trip was made worthwhile when I paid a call on Mr. Don Crawford, now of Des Moines and formerly of Cascade.

Mr. Crawford might be the only man still living to have played a baseball game involving Hall of Famer Red Faber, the subject of my recent biography. He contacted me recently, after learning that I had written the book. I was able to provide him with newspaper accounts of the game, including the box score.

The game was played in Dubuque in October 1933. It was an exhibition game featuring Faber, the veteran White Sox pitcher from Cascade, after what turned out to be his 20th and final Major League Season. Faber was 45 years old.

Crawford, meanwhile was just 18 years old when he played third base and batted first on the Cascade team for which Faber pitched.

Now 92 years old, Crawford doesn't remember much about the game itself. He does recall that the contest was in danger of being rained out. However, they got the phone call that the weather had cleared enough for them to come to dubuque. On the drive between Cascade and Dubuque, the fabric roof of their automobile tore, and a couple of players stood on the running boards, holding down the flapping roof as they traveled down the road.

Crawford's parents moved to Des Moines a few years later, and Don continued to play club ball. Never professional material, he went on to a long career with the Internal Revenue Service.

One of the great pleasures of writing the Faber biography is getting the opportunity to become acquainted with people I otherwise would never had occasion to meet. Don Crawford, a real gentleman, certainly is at the top of the list.

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