Monday, February 21, 2011

The Other Old Timers

Shank writes a good column every now and then. His weekly CNN / SI effort is one of them.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- I arrived in Florida for spring training last week and the first order of business was visiting with Joe Corchran and Tommy McLaughlin, longtime clubhouse workers for the Boston Red Sox. The guys behind the scenes carry the institutional memory for every big league club, and time with Joe and Tommy is always time well spent.

"Did you hear that Ernie Tyler died?'' Joe asked.

First I'd heard of it, I told him.

"A big deal in Baltimore,'' said Tommy. "A very big deal.''

Indeed. Tyler first worked for the Orioles during their inaugural season in 1954. He was an usher at the old Memorial Stadium on 33rd Street for six seasons before he took over as umpire attendant in 1960. Ernie took care of the umps' laundry, their cleats and their meals. He filled ticket requests and arranged for cabs. If they needed directions to Pimlico, Ernie could handle that, too.
Since Shank covered Baltimore in his earlier days, it's safe to say he knew Ernie and writes this in honor of him. I'm not quite sure what to make of one of Shank's better columns comes as a result of an event like this one; probably because stressful events concentrate the mind?

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