A Pinch of Fenway Dirt
This letter came today from one of our volunteers, Michael McMahon.
I want to share with you pictures of this beautiful baseball tribute I found at The Wall. I saw it in the VVM Kiosk when I arrived Thursday morning. My guess it was picked up by a Ranger Wednesday night. It is a glass jar containing a baseball, and “a pinch of Fenway Dirt.” The label said it was left for a man named Roy Gleason. His name is not on the Memorial, but I did not find that unusual. When I came home, I wanted to see if I could find his story and Googled his name. I found this on Wikipedia and similar information on other sites:
Roy William Gleason born April 9, 1943 in Melrose Park, Illinois was a Major League Baseball player. He played in eight games for the Los Angeles Dodgers late in the 1963 baseball season. He was used primarily as a pinch runner but he had one official at bat and hit a double. In 1967, he was drafted by the military. He served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War and earned the Purple Heart.
After his return from Vietnam, he again played in the Dodgers’ farm system, but his war injuries had impaired his baseball skills and he never made it back to the major leagues. Roy Gleason remains the only U.S. combat veteran and former Major League Baseball player to receive “Special Congressional Recognition” for being awarded a “Purple Heart,” a World Series Ring and holding a “Perfect” Lifetime Major League Batting Average. He also remains the only professional baseball player who after first playing in the Major Leagues was later drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to the front lines in the Vietnam War. (Biographer, Wallace Wasinack, author of the book “Lost in the Sun” ….Roy Gleason’s Odyssey from the Outfield to the Battlefield”)
As a baseball fan, I never heard his story before, now I’ll never forget him.