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A Red Sox Legend, and some old friends

08/24/2007

Philadelphia/West Goshen, PA. The Power Tour road trip started with an event at one of the great independent bookstores in the country, Chester County Book & Music Company. Joe Drabyak, one of CCBM’s booksellers, had invited me there, and another staff member — David English — has interviewed me for his web radio show a number of times.

Tough to decide what the highlight of the event was for me — there were several. Three great college buddies of mine – Peter Evans, Doug Stuart, and Dick Dupuis — showed up to razz me and try to trip me up with embarrassing questions, but I’m sorry to say after so many book signings I’m not so easily tripped up. Peter and Doug sang in the Yale Whiffenpoofs with me; Dick sang in the Whiffs a year ahead of me.

Then there was Elise Parker (the mother of one of my college roommates, Sumner Parker), who used to make dinner for Sumner and me at their house in New Haven when we couldn’t take dining-hall food anymore.

And —OK, maybe this was the highlight — another audience member was one of the great major-league baseball players of all time: Mickey Vernon, who played for the Boston Red Sox in 1956 and 1957. (My hometown team, in case you didn’t know.)
Mickey Vernon, who was named by Bill James as one of the best first basemen ever, was a two-time American League batting champion — he beat Ted Williams for the title in 1946, at .353, and did it again in 1953. (OK, he played for the Washington Senators a lot longer than he played for the Sox, but I’ll claim him.) He holds the major league record for career double plays at first base (2044) and really should be in the Hall of Fame.

And his daughter, Gay Vernon, is famous in Boston herself: a radio host and “personality” on Magic 106.7, and a friend.