Basically, we had always been told that my grandfather "almost played for the Red Sox" but that the Marine Corps got in the way. Which was basically what happened, but it's still great to now know the details :) In short, my grandfather was an awesome baseball player. He was on the high school team in 8th grade and was the youngest player at the time.
Near the end of his 10th grade year, my grandfather was asked to go to Boston to participate in a Red Sox tryout camp. *Tenth grade*!!! Crazy. He was recommended by his high school coach selected based on how he had been performing in high school baseball, and only he and one other player from his League were at the tryouts.
|Me, my dad and my grandfather at a Greenville Drive (our current local Red Sox farm team) baseball game in 2007|
He spent two days at Braves Field and was then invited to Fenway Park for three more days. The other player from his League was not invited, so it appears that he made the first cut ;)
During the three days at Fenway my grandfather went through infield and hitting practices, and on the last day he participated in a game with the other men who were trying out. When tryouts were over they told him that because he had two more years of high school they couldn't take him just yet, but that they would be watching him.
Unfortunately - in a way - a Marine Corps recruiting officer arrived at my grandfather's high school, looking for guys to sign up for the reserves. My grandfather signed up as soon as he turned 17, in January 1950. They told him he would be able to finish school, but a mere four months later, in May 1050, he was asked to report to a Marine Corps meeting in Springfield, Massachusetts. When he arrived he was told that he would have to leave for boot camp in June - and that he wouldn't be going back home. He asked about finishing high school, but was merely told, "Son, you will finish your schooling in the Marine Corps."
In the end, my grandfather was released from the Marines early - in 1952 - thanks to a bill that had been passed. But by that time it was too late for the Red Sox, especially as he had yet to finish high school. He did that, but he never became a major league baseball player.
That's okay with me, though...who knows how things would have turned out or if I would even be here if he had ended up with the Red Sox :) At least it's a cool story!