Curt Walker: A Timeline into Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day 2018, Everyone!

16.5 years after the fact, Rob Zimmerman (R) receives the induction plaque awarded to his great-grandfather, Curt Walker, by the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in December 2001.
**********
Photo by Bob Dorrill

If they asked me, I could write a book. But they didn’t ask. So, we will settle for a small column on the rich subject of Curt Walker as a timeline into the even taller topic of how culturally bound up the game of baseball was to so many of us when it came down to having a good father figure available when it came down to having a working father figure present in our lives — in some form, or forms — during our critical early time as innocent, but loving-needful boys and girls.

I had to look no further than my own father and his childhood experience to see the waves of paternal need placed into motion in my dad’s life by the loss of his own father early in life. In May 1913, at the age of 2 1/2, and as the 3rd oldest of four children born to William and Elizabeth McCurdy of Beeville, Texas — and only boy — my grandfather William McCurdy died of TB, leaving his family in the hands of my very strong grandmother, but without his presence as a model paternal presence. Grandad was the founder. publisher, editor, and principal writer of The Beeville Bee, the town’s first newspaper.

As a result, Dad got shipped off to boarding school almost as soon as his school age days began. It was there that he discovered his skill and affinity for baseball, a game he also played on the sandlots of Beeville every summer that he was home. It was an interest among the boys of Beeville that found strong reenforcement in the fact that three other slightly older town boys had played their ways to the big leagues by 1925.

Melvin Bert Gallia (YOB: 1891; MLB: 1912-1920), Curt Walker (YOB: 1896; MLB: 1919-1930), and Lefty Lloyd Brown (YOB: 1904; MLB: 1925, 1928-1937, 1940) were the native Beeville trailblazers to big league ball. Because of his own enjoyment of hitting, and also influenced by the fact that he shared the same BL/TR outfield post, easily converted Dad into becoming a big fan of Curt Walker, a condition which apparently worked fine for Walker, who became something of a 14 years older big brother figure to Dad as the two men’s friendship grew over time.

The presence of baseball gave Curt Walker and my dad the basis for a relationship that would last a lifetime. From the late 1920s summer times of Dad and his buddies going down to the Western Union or the Beeville Bee-Picayune offices to get the late afternoon scores for the Cincinnati Reds because that was Curt Walker’s team — to all the cups of coffee they shared later as grown men regular customers of the American Cafe — baseball was healing cultural water that brought new strength to areas of life that could hurt so bad.

Rob and Stacy Zimmerman of Charleston, SC included Houston on their family roots tour of South Texas to participate in the induction materials luncheon ceremony at the Jax Bar and Grill on Shepherd, held as part of our June SABR meeting.
**********
Photo by The Pecan Park Eagle

We owe a debt of gratitude this Father’s Day to Rob and Stacy Zimmerman of Charleston, South Carolina. Had Rob’s pursuit of information, lost and found, about Curt Walker, the man who turned out to be his great-grandfather, we may have lost the opportunity forever to have been reminded of why baseball is so important to the strength and structure of American culture. Had Stacy not been the patient life partner to Rob that she very obviously is, he might have been inclined to have abandoned the pursuit after we almost got together for a transfer of these awards to him years ago.

To that, I must say this about our newly found brother and sister, with a salute to the service they have each put forth in commitment to the rest of us:

“Nothing can stop the U.S. Air Force ~ especially when its aims are supported by patience and resilience!”

A tight framed 8×10 bust of Curt Walker from this September 1919 photo of his brief stay with the Yankees at the tail end of his rookie season was also presented to the SC couple during the ceremony, along with a few other historical goodies and a round of Curt Walker stories. – Photo compliments of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library Collection, Cooperstown.

In addition to the 2001 Curt Walker Induction plaque from the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame. Rob Zimmerman accepted possession on Saturday, June 16, 2018, of an 8×10″ tightly framed facial profile of 23 year old Curt Walker dressed out as a 1919 New York Yankee. He also received a replica copy of Curt Walker’s 1926 Cincinnati Reds cap, a signed copy of Curt Walker’s Louisville Slugger bat, and a few books to read on Houston baseball history.

December 15, 2001. The Curt Walker Louisville Slugger bat was signed by Will Clark and all the other living fellow inductees from 2001, plus MLB stars likes Bobby Brown and Texas League icon Bobby Bragan. (Photo by Bob Dorrill.)

The room of our Saturday meeting overflowed with love, appreciation, and good feelings yesterday. And that’s as it should be. Today, Ron and Stacy are in Beeville, where my brother John McCurdy will show them where Curt Walker once lived – and then take them to Glenwood Cemetery to see where Curt Walker is buried.

Baseball is the great uniter of different people, even rivals, who are bound together – even in difference – to the importance of historic connectivity – and our shared commitment to the great game of baseball as the saving grace of us all.

Peace. Love. And Play Ball!

And Happy Father’s Day too!

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Tags:

2 Responses to “Curt Walker: A Timeline into Father’s Day”

  1. Fred Soland Says:

    Bill, it was a great presentation yesterday and a fitting tribute in your column today. And best of all, it was great to finally meet you!!

  2. Michael McCroskey Says:

    Great job, Bill. As I said in the meeting, Rob Zimmerman was visibly moved during your presentation while both discovering previously unknown facts about and viewing artifacts from his Great Grandfather and enriching his knowledge of his family heritage. It was a very special day for both him and our SABR chapter.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: