Sep 5, 2022
As a young girl growing up in tiny, rural Throckmorton, Texas in the mid-1950s, memoirist Addie Beth Denton ("108 Stitches: A Girl Grows Up With Baseball") had only a vague understanding of what her father and uncle did for a living - except that they seemed to always be talking about baseball.
Only as she grew older did she come to realize all that discussion - not to mention her bevy of annual summertime excursions to professional parks all over the country - was much more than just a passing family curiosity.
In fact, she discovered that her uncle Harry Craft had not only been a respectable big-league outfielder with the Cincinnati Reds for nearly six seasons (1937-42) before joining the Navy in the war effort - but was now in the midst of a fledgling managerial career that saw him skippering numerous New York Yankees farm clubs, as well as two of the majors' newest: the 1955 Kansas City As (relocated from Philadelphia) and the 1962 expansion Houston Colt .45s.
Along the way, Denton recalls innumerable childhood brushes with baseball greatness - Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Billy Martin, Rusty Staub - all of whom credited Craft for his valuable tutelage during their careers.
And unwittingly willed a lifetime of memories and love for the game for a certain Texas farm girl.