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1977197819791980198119821983198419851986198719881989

HAMMAN DISCOVERED PAIGE, HANK AARON AND OTHERS
Thursday, October 10, 1985

PIX #1 - Leroy Satchel Paige

PIX #2 - Hank Aaron

PIX #3 - Casey Stengel and Ed Hamman...photographed at the New York Mets training camp in St. Petersburg, Florida...many years ago.

In the first of this series about Ed Hamman and his career in baseball and basketball, brief mention was made of Leroy "Satchel" Paige, a friend of Ed's from both of their earliest days in baseball. Because of their long relationship in sports, a few paragraphs are in order to explain the depth of their friendship and some of the interesting highlights.

When Paige died at age 75 in 1982, Ed recalled many things about his friend. Their paths had crossed many times. They had worked together in the Indianapolis Clowns, and later with the Globetrotters.

WHO BESIDES PAIGE COULD HAVE?...

"What other pitcher at age 41 started a career in the major leagues?"...Ed recalled in reminiscing about Paige.

"What records he (Paige) might have established had he entered the major leagues in 1927, at age 21. I batted against him while a member of the House of David team in 1927, when he already possessed a splendid fast ball, a fine curve and perfect control, plus cunning".

"In 1947, as an entertainer on a nationwide tour, as a gag I went to the plate in batting practice against Satchel...and he still had a splendid fast ball, a fine curve, perfect control and he had added his famouse hesitation pitch. I laid a match down as a target. With the catcher giving him a target over the match, he threw perfect strikes over the match".

PAIGE WITH INDIANS IN 1948

"By 1948, with the color line broken, and at age 42, Paige entered the big league with the Cleveland Indians as a rookie. He helped them win the American League championship and the World Series".

"In 1967, Satchel was with the Indianapolis clowns and still pitched three innings every day. He still had an amazing fast ball for a player of 61".

"Later, Paige joined the Atlanta Braves as a coach".

Hamman had given Paige his first break in pro baseball...a job with the Indianapolis Clowns. Even though Paige was getting up in years for a ball- player, he continued to pitch three innings a day. But, Ed often had trouble getting Satch to show up at work on time.

PAIGE LIKED TO FISH, CLOWN, PLAY BALL

"Many times Satch would fish at the closest river to the ballpark. At the sixth inning, I would go to the river and pick him up and rish him back to the ballpark to pitch the last innings. He was already in uniform", Ed recalled.

"Sometimes he would give the fish to the umpire as a joke. We wise-cracked together a whole lot. Satch and I shared a million laughs", Ed still recalls.

Hamman recalls that Dizzy Dean once said about Satch, "He could throw a ball into a tea cup". Satch was credited with a keen mind and knew what players could and couldn't hit.

One thing that Hamman knew about Paige, that few others knew was that his family was very dear to him. Also, that he was a committed Christian. Today's ballplayers will be glad to know that too.

"I learned a lot of things from Paige", Hamman says, "from traveling around with him. He always said, "Never look back, someone may be gaining on you"".

By this time in this series of articles, readers will know Hamman had a longtime friendship with many of the greats in the baseball world...some of whom have already been named and talked about.

In one of my exchanges of correspondence with Ed, in which I had to pry some of the information out of him (he didn't want to be accused of bragging he mentioned a recent telephone conversation with Bill Veeck, in Chicago, one of his old friends.

Another of Ed's old friends was Ted Turner, owner of the Atlanta Braves. Ted had great respect for him for what he did for Satchel Paige, by giving him a job to accumulate enough time to draw a major league pension.

FOUND AARON AND STARTED HIM ON HIS WAY

The accompanying photo shows Ed with Casey Stengel, another old friend. And still another Hank Aaron, who Ed started in baseball with the Clowns. Aaron wrote his thanks to Ed in 1973:

"Dear Ed: I want you to know how very much I appreciate the concern and best wishes of people like yourself. If you will excuse my sentimentality, your letter of suuport and encouragement meant much more to me than I can adequately express in words. It is very heartwarming to know that you are in my corner. I will always be grateful. I will try to live up the expectations of my friends".

Ed recalls that one year after he signed Aaron up with the Clowns, he was sold to the Milwaukee Braves for $10,000.

It took me quite a while to learn that Ed's Indianapolis Clowns was the only team in baseball, other than in the majors to be included on set of the popular, collectible baseball cards.

REMEMBERS FOSTORIA AND THE REDBIRDS

Hamman still cherishes fond memories of Fostoria. In one of his letters to me, he recalled, "I visited Fostoria in the early 1940's, thinking I would spend two days, but wound up spending 14 years. Had been all over the U.S. and found Fostoria one of the friendliest towns I had ever been in.

Ed also remembers the Red Birds baseball team here..."Fostoria had an outstanding baseball team handing exhibition. What an infield they had... Billy Beason at first, Tony Lucadello at second, George Rader at shortstop and Russ Kerns at third. Russ later played with Balitmore. Tony could really do the chores at second, and at the plate I never saw him strike at a bad pitch. Any wonder he became an outstanding scout. They had a great hitter and team player in outfielder Johnny Kreps".

"The Review Times was always kind to me with publicity, and when Bill Veeck had me perform at the 1940 World Series in Cleveland, many Fostoria fans attended the games".

Two Fostorians that Ed remembers very fondly are Clarence Swick, deceased, and Ray Coburn. The three of them often met at Swick's well-known "little barbership" at 214 S. Main St. Ed says those two gave him advice and confidence to make the decisions that led him into his career in baseball and entertainment.

A piece of memorabilia Hamman has kept for many years is a clipping from The Times, when his good friend Coburn ran for mayor, defeating his opponent easily with 1,728 votes. Ed sent the clipping to me to show to Coburn. Coburn became the first Democratic mayor in many years, the last being Ed Kurtz.

Friendships Ed has also cherished for many years are those of Marge and Jo Gehring, 612 Cherry St.

READER FEEDBACK REVIEW TIMES GOT TO MAINE FAST

The name Fred Iler has appeared in Potluck repeatedly recently.

When the first installment about Ed Hamman was published Oct. 3, Rose Peiffer 432 College Ave., immediately sent to Iler a copy of that article, since Iler knew Hamman.

Friday evening, Oct. 4, Iler telephoned me and said he had already received it. Iler then gave me the name and address of a Payne resident who could provide additional data about the life and activities of Hamman.

Since the series of three articles about Hamman is already completed, that contact will be used later for "Reader FeedbacK"

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