A GREAT view of the field at AT&T Park in Chattanooga during their pre-season open house!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Bobby Wilkins 1944-1945 Philadelphia Athletics

I sent a letter to Bobby Wilkins in late December of 2009. The very kind former Athletic sent me a very nice signed card a few days later.

Sadly, I recently heard that Bobby passed away on January 3rd of this year, 2010.

Then, just the other day, I received a letter in the mail from lawyer Arthur R. Carmody, Jr. of a law group. Mr. Carmody very kindly took the time to send me a note saying that he found my letter, and he was not sure if Bobby ever acknowledged it.

Mr. Carmody took the time to tell me a bit about Mr. Wilkins and his career. Arthur paints a great picture of his friend in writing his letter. I hope he does not mind my quoting most of the note.

"Bobby was a highly intelligent, kind and gentle person who left a legion of friends and supporters from his baseball career and, after 1950, was employed by the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office as a deputy. He qualified as a forensic investigator and prospered in that career. He was soon named the Chief Forensic Investigator and received state and national recognition in that fastly evolving field."

"In the late 40's Bobby was the shortstop for the Texas League Shreveport Sports. He was small of stature but quick as a cat and had a strong arm which let him easily go deep in the hole on balls hit to his right. He was a quick and alert base runner and always a threat to steal home, as he did in one of his first games with the Athletics. He was several times voted to the Texas League All Star team, his principle competition coming from Chico Carresquele of the Fort Worth Cats, who, unfortunately, was always behind Peewee Reese of the Dodgers."

"Bobby enjoyed talking about his days with the A's during World War II. He was signed by Mr. Mack before he was 18 years old and one of the teenage players who played during the war. Bobby's intelligence was recognized by Mr. Mack, who had him sit next to him on the bench. Bobby observed the manager used his straw hat to give players the signs and signals. Bobby had a clear recollection of the bad weather in Hot Springs, Virginia where the A's did spring training, in lieu of Florida, because of wartime conditions."

Mr. Carmody told me that he has a very strong connection to Kentucky and Kentucky sports himself. He is the grandfather of Art Carmody IV. Carmody was a kicker for the University of Louisville football team! He broke many NCAA scoring records and was the 2006 Lou Groza Award recipient!

"During his years there we made many wonderful trips to the great state of Kentucky and the town of Lexington, both of which I came to admire very much."

This is one of the few responses I have received not from the person I sent it to, but from one of their friends. It is very touching that Arthur wanted to make sure my letter to Bobby was acknowledge, and he wanted to make sure I knew a little about Bobby's career. I think that speaks volumes about Bobby and Arthur both.

I really appreciate Arthur Carmody Jr. writing to me about Bobby Wilkins, and about his own grandson.

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