Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Sunday Funnies

Kirby Higbe — one of the heavies in last spring's Jackie Robinson movie, "42" — published his memoirs in the 1960s. Here's one of his stories, which happens to feature Clyde Sukeforth, who also figures in "42" as the scout-coach who brings Robinson to Branch Rickey and teaches Robinson to play first base. Higbe is pitching for Moline in the Three-I League, working his way to the majors:


I was throwing against Clinton, Iowa, one night, and throwing hard. I had struck out 13 in five innings. Clyde Sukeforth, their manager, was telling his hitters to get up there and hit. He said, "I can hit Higbe with one eye closed." In the sixth inning his catcher got in an argument with the plate umpire, and before Clyde could get between them, the catcher was thrown out of the game. So old Clyde, a fine catcher, had to come in to catch. His players said, "Here's your chance, Skip. Close one eye and let's see you hit him." Clyde came up in the seventh with a man on second and two out. I got two quick strikes on him. His boys kept hollering, "Skip, close one eye!" I threw him a high hard one. As he ducked out of the way, the ball hit his bat and went over the third baseman for a base hit.

Clyde said, "Boys, I told you I could hit him with one eye closed."

One of them said, "You done better than that, Clyde, you hit him with both eyes closed."

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