My wife Karin and I were recently visiting my family and friends in and around Johnston. My mother, Annie Lewis Hall, and my brother Cliff, reside in The Saluda Nursing Center and we were pleasantly surprised to find Mother almost back to normal after a bout with pneumonia. Cliff required a full update of all his nieces and nephews. I also updated his file of caboose pictures that I take as we frequently travel. The visit had many highlights, but I’d like to describe a special experience.
An unexpected call from my good friend, Arnold Dobran, led me to a baseball game at Strom Thurmond High School against Batesburg-Leesville. Not only did I get to see many old friends and make new ones, but my love affair with “America’s Game” that had almost been destroyed by years of pro players using steroids, performance enhancing drugs, and revolving rosters was rekindled. At the first crack of bat meeting ball, I was immediately reminded that there was a place where young men still played the game for love of the game. When I closed my eyes, I could see my father, Bill Hall, arriving at my high school games without fail. He loved baseball as no one I’ve met before or since could match. I vividly remember being a bat boy for Johnston’s Peach League teams in the late 40’s and 50’s. Names like Ted Petoskey, Ap Powell, Haney Floyd, Sam and Nat Pardue, Bettis Herlong, “Inky” English, Bill Gamewell Smith, Olin Yonce, “Doc” Clark and many more filled my mind with fond memories. I attended Strom Thurmond’s winning playoff game against Mid Carolina and followed the other playoff games on the internet. Thank you to the Strom Thurmond baseball coaching staff and players and congratulations on an outstanding season.