Hank O’Neal has a fondness for the game of baseball — he says in his book Sincerely Ty Cobb, recently released by TCU Press, that just thinking about baseball magnifies the happy times and suppresses anything bad.
“I just remember the long sunny days when I had but one thing on my mind: to find someone, anyone, to catch the baseball I always had in my hand — someone who’d not only catch it, but who’d throw it back and let me hurl it at them again.”
His love for baseball started as a child hearing stories of his grandfather Curtis Austin (C.A.) Christian and the great baseball legend Ty Cobb. Christian and Cobb were teenagers together in Royston, Georgia, and then were semi-pro teammates around 1899-1900.
After his family moved to New York in 1954, Hank hung around MacArthur Stadium and “pestered” players of the Syracuse Chiefs. During this time, he also began writing letters to major league players, both active and retired. Ty Cobb, who was known as the “nastiest man in baseball,” was kind and supportive with Hank and they became pen pals in 1955.
Click the headline link above to read more of O'Neal's inspiring story.