Didn't sound too comforting to me. But they're young, Milt can hit, they'll work it out. Whereas I was left wondering—what do I take away from this cruise?
In my heart I had hoped that Bob Feller, with whom I go back so far, would tell me something inspirational. But he got off the ship at San Juan, had to go appear somewhere else as a legend.
Fortunately, his wife of many years remained on board. Quietly warm and elegant, with just a bit of a whaddya-gonna-do smile, Ann Feller liked it, I think, when I told her what I couldn't tell Bob: that he was my earliest living hero. And as if she knew what I needed, she started to talk about him.
"If you tell him I said this, I'll deny it, but he's kind of a klutz. Two years ago he broke his leg, and he knocked over everything in the house with his crutches."
"How did he break his leg?" I asked.
"He was doing the Lord's work—he was putting up the Christmas star on the roof, and then he came down and said it was just a little bit crooked. It wasn't really crooked, and nobody but us sees it anyway, but he went back up and fixed it and came back down, and it had gotten dark and there was some ice on the driveway.... And I heard washing noises in the garage.
"I called out and said, 'What are you doing?'
"And he said, 'I think I broke my leg, and I'm washing the cars before it swells up.'
"One of the young pitchers said he was thinking of taking a few months off and doing nothing, but Bob said, 'No, don't do that, your muscles will atrophy.'
"Bob has planks nailed to a tree in the yard, and he throws against that—for when people ask him to throw out the first ball. You know, sometimes guys can hardly throw it anymore, and he wants to be able to get it out there. Bob always has a ball in his pocket, so whenever he goes by the tree with the planks, he can throw against them for a while."