The Day LeRoy Tucker Batted Against Preacher Roe
About three-and-a-half years ago, I wrote an obituary for the old major league baseball pitcher from my region of the Ozarks, Preacher Roe, and a few days ago, my literary friend LeRoy Tucker had occasion to read it . . . and respond:
I got to thinking about those old days just as I do a lot anyway but this caused me to think about Preacher Roe more. He taught school, Phys Ed, which meant coaching but I think he did a little classroom also. That was at Hardy. I was in Ash Flat. Lots of lies have been told about that rivalry, lots of fights that never happened. We were a friendly bunch. We knew each other well and there wasn't a single fight. Ash Flat almost always had the better team. I've always believed that winning the state tournament as in [my fictionalized story published in] Climax 1 made them feel invincible.Well, put them together and tell them to everybody . . . or fictionalize them in a Climax 2 collection! Even if most folks these days never heard of the Preacher, they'll be entertained by your stories.
On one occasion we played baseball. Preacher was there passing through between spring training and regular season. We started practically begging him to pitch. He did it. I actually played a game against Preacher. He gave each of us one big fat pitch. I hit a soft line drive right back to Preacher. Willy Oyler got into his and knocked it a mile. That was it. Much later I was told that Preacher couldn't throw hard, no fast ball. It sure seemed fast to me. I could hear it hiss as it passed. Big wide curve. Of course he wasn't really throwing hard that day.
I have lots and lots of Preacher Roe stories. They were told and retold for years.