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'Is football playing
Along the river shore,
With lads to chase the leather,
Now I stand up no more?'
Ay, the ball is flying,
The lads play heart and soul ...

From: "Is my team ploughing..."
A. E. Housman (1859-1936)

     
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1963 LU Baseball-Coach Tony Packer       Add a comment
Click to see (14) comments below from ... Blade, Fred Braun-Brown, Dan Turse, Blade, Winchester, Bennett, Bob Gifford, Blade, Brown, Bennett, Walley, eduardo-chaos, Brown, richard packer,
The 1963 team, was supberb - but that's just my opinion. Tony Packer was a wonderful coach, mentor and friend. Doubtless it was the mix of all together, but in addition to knowing the game, Tony was fun to be with. His Stengel-like manner, genuine care and kindness to all provided the most cherished of experiences. Being part of this team was, above all else, a joy. Kneeling L. to R. - Bob Gifford, Ed Winchester, Walt King, Fred Braun, George McMeans Ben Rushong, Ernie Remig Standing L. to R. - Tony Packer (Coach), John Denoia, Ken Woodcock, Bill Bowman, Don Stanton, Rich Mannik, Vern Hawkins, Pete Bennett


Comment from: Blade - Brown: Is moving from third to first an improvement?
Newt, By the way LU has given Bennett a web site of his own. Click: Official Bennett bio
Reply
        Reply to Blade from Fred Braun-Brown - At our tender age, it might have been a necessity. My sequel to the story or perhaps the title of a country and western song might be....third base looked better when shortstop was already occupied. Reply
        Reply to Fred Braun-Brown from Dan Turse - Re the article about baseball: What is the significance of subject, Parker's Minions? Reply
        Reply to Dan Turse from Blade - Tony Packer was Lehigh’s basketball and baseball coach for many years. Not only did he change his own name, originally Paczkowski, he mangled nearly everyone else’s too. Thus Bennett might have been Benning; Braun was Brown; Winchester was Westchester; DeNoia was Doyle; Rushong was Rushontz; etc. The players retaliated by calling him “Parker”. Everyone seems to have had fun anyway. Reply
        Reply to Blade from Winchester - I don't remember being Westchester, I was "Lefty" along with a few other lefties. Dave Usilton comes to mind. But above all I remember what a joy it was to have Tony as our coach. His batting practice curve balls, his bunt/hit and run signs (there was something about the count and how many outs there were), And the away trips to Colgate and anywhere toward the metro NY area when we always enjoyed those wonderful post-game meals. In NJ we always stopped at Snuffy's just off of Rt. 22 in Scotch Plains. That was before it was Pantagis, when it was the absolute best, most delicious, most authentic - when it had unique character. Tony allowed one beer per person as I recall. Somehow for a table of four there was always an illegal number of empty bottles. We had our own Casey Stengel, even better. Reply
        Reply to Winchester from Bennett - Don’t forget Staunton. Reply
        Reply to Bennett from Bob Gifford - Pete, did you know that Yogi had passed away. Giff. Reply
Comment from: Blade - Received from a friend... For all you baseball fans, you will probably never see this again.... What happens when switch hitter faces a switch pitcher ( This is the first time I have ever seen a 'switch pitcher') The switch pitcher uses a glove with six fingers and two webs so he can change golve hands... Reply
        Reply to Blade from Brown - Trying to picture in my mind what Tony would have said if one of us (as Sophomores) had shown up in the Spring of 1961 with the ability to pitch from both sides. Reply
        Reply to Brown from Bennett - Forkball! Forkball! Reply
        Reply to Brown from Walley - As far as pitching goes, I know nothing. I'll leave that to Ed. He's the only guy that I know that was ambidextros in every sport he played. But asking Coach Parker (Packer) what to do, I am quite sure that he would ask "what's the count?" I would respond "2 and 1". His response would be "Well do it!" Absolutely no help at all. Hope to see everyone at the reunion. Walt Reply
        Reply to Walley from eduardo-chaos - Though I was never a switch-pitcher I was tempted to switch arms somewhere around the 14th inning against Rutgers.
But – trying to imagine a scenario – if I was ambidextrous (I’m impressed, Walley can spell this? I copied his spelling) and faced a switch hitter, I would do the following: hide the ball inside the glove, other hand behind my back. I’d face the batter, both heels on the rubber. The batter would have to step into the batter’s box. Seeing the glove he would line-up accordingly (glove on right hand, bat right). Then quick I’d begin the wind-up, in this case throwing right – too late for the batter to switch. I’d deliver a sharp curve. Probably the batter would belt it out onto Packard Avenue anyway.
Or, if this didn’t work I’d just keep switching until the floodlights came on out in the right field corner.

About that time Tony would feel the need get on his tractor and circle the infield and light up a Chesterfield, Sheska would shout from the edge of the stadium that he was closing the equipment room door – then louder, “Drop all rolls in the laundry bin outside the lockers,” everyone would think, “Cool, another pair of socks and another tee-shirt.”
Leck, watching from the driveway above the third base side would mumble something about needing a drink, Halfacre next to Leck would be shouting “Atta boy hardnoser,” every time I switched hands, Rushong nodding in the dugout and still with bootblack on his face leftover from last night’s Fiji party would finally pass out completely brusing his forehead falling onto the floor, a call would go to Doc Havach. Havach would emerge briefly at the end of the stadium tunnel, but then retreat and back into the shadows and never appear again. Rushong would sleep through the night. Staunton, never leaving his crouch, would dutifully give a new sign with each arm switch, the best infield in the northeast (Brown, Benne, Kingie, McMeans) would continue its chatter far into the night. Like Staunton, Walley would turn to the outfield with every switch, holding up index and pinky, and shout “Two down gang.” Giff would nod. Only three fans would remain – Yano, Milton and George McMeans’ father. McMeans senior would send a message to the dugout that dinner at the Grotto was on him for all - if and when the game ended.
I wouldn’t take the bait. I’d keep switching.
Finally Yano and Milton would leave to go study, but they would meet Lark on the way up the hill, get in his car and end up at Bruno’s. On their return Lark would run into a tree just before the Chi Psi turn. Both Yano and Milton would receive concussions in the accident and their academic prowess would be severely diminished rendering them as mere mortals like the rest of us. Thereafter they would become a bit strange prompting the frat brothers to label them “Chaotic.” … to be continued.
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Comment from: Brown - Too bad we didn't take notes of the three years with Tony. Not sure if we could have made it into a short story, a cartoon or comedy for the Mustard and Cheese. But, it certainly would have provided more than a few laughs for those of us who knew him well. Reply
        Reply to Brown from richard packer - To all of you that played for my father, thank you. I know he fondly remembered all of you throughout his life. I remember the many days spent shagging balls in Taylor, no left field wall, and traveling on the bus with many of you as a little kid (somewhat spoiled)but having the fun only a son of a coach could have. Reply
Related photos

from Tower Society Letter 2010

Tony's Hall of Fame inscription
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