Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Jim Lonborg

There's a charity baseball game tomorrow night in Cambridge featuring former Red Sox pitching great Jim Lonborg, so Shank gets a column out of it.
Twenty-two-year-old Tim Kurkjian had a chance to bat against 61-year-old Bob Feller back in the summer of 1979. Kurkjian, now a popular baseball analyst with ESPN, was then a cub reporter covering the Alexandria Dukes for the Washington Star.

On that fateful night 36 years ago, media members were invited to hit against Feller, an aging Hall of Famer who was forever making a buck barnstroming across the USA.

“It was amazing,’’ recalls Kurkjian. “Bob Feller was my dad’s hero. He was one of the greatest pitchers who ever lived. And there I was, standing in the batter’s box, hitting against him in this pregame exhibition.

“He wasn’t throwing very hard. He was 61 years old! So I got a couple of hits.

“When it was over, they gave me a certificate with my name on it, which had some large print at the bottom. It said something like, ‘The aforementioned slugger acknowledges that if he had faced Bob Feller in his prime, the results might have been different.’ No kidding! I’m sure I would have lit him up when he was throwing 101 miles an hour in 1940!’’

All of which brings us to Jim Lonborg, a 73-year-old South Shore dentist who will be toeing the rubber for charity at St. Peter’s Field in Cambridge on Thursday at 7 p.m.

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