It's been 35 years since George Grant graduated from high school. In that long-ago summer an essential farm worker left and George was unable to quickly find a replacement. He had to forego college and give up his dream to play professional baseball. The top priority was to keep the farm running. His brother Roy was still in high school.
It takes more than a year to find a replacement farm worker and by then George and Marcy Caldwell, his high school sweetheart, are married and managing the farm as a successful family business.
Even though George couldn't leave the farm during those years, he and Roy continued to practice baseball. As he ages, George's pitching speed and accuracy improve. He still gets tingles in his hands and arms and he still sees a baseball flying through the air in slow motion.
Finally, when George is 54, he and Marcy, accompanied by Roy and his wife Sally, go to Phoenix for a spring vacation. It is still winter on the farm but the Cactus League baseball spring training season is in full swing in the Valley of the Sun. They plan to enjoy the warm weather and watch some baseball games.
Unknown to George until he arrives in Phoenix, Roy arranged for him to give a pitching demonstration to a professional team. The players, managers and owner of the team are impressed with George's speed and accuracy as a pitcher. When he steps to the plate as a batter, they are even more impressed. The team owner gives George a contract to pitch for his team for the last two weeks of spring training.
When an injury to a pitcher sidelines him for the entire season, the owner signs George to a contract. The result is a baseball season beyond the wildest expectations of the players, coaches and owner.
About the Author
Jay Henry Peterson grew up as a farm kid on the northern Great Plains. He milked cows, handled beef cattle, hogs and chickens and spent many hours on tractors and other equipment planting and harvesting small grains, corn and soybeans.
He began writing as a teenager, creating whimsical poems and stories to amuse his high school classmates. Most of that unpublished writing has been lost. After being passed around by his classmates, much of it was wadded up and tossed in the trash basket in some classroom.
He often wrote sports and feature articles for his high school and college newspapers. His college years were interrupted when he was called to serve in the United States Army, a time that included a year in combat operations in the swamps and jungles of South Vietnam. He returned to college after the service and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
During a professional career of more than four decades as a printing and publications executive his writing was largely confined to business projects.
Jay Henry Peterson is retired. He recently returned to writing for pleasure, this time concentrating on short stories and novels. He and his wife live in Arizona.