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TCBA Almanac

Dick Gorney

As reported by Bob Wood on April 18, 2011

With the loss of Stu McCorkindale this week, and with a prompting from Marty Fiehl, I decided to make an effort to "find" Dick Gorney.
            "Look him up on Facebook" was the Commissioner's suggestion. 
 Thanks to the Internet, I first found an article (see link below) in the Huron County View where the local Rotary club had honored Dick, a retired rural mail carrier, with their annual "Paul Harris Fellow Recognition" award in November of 2010 for his work coaching softball, basketball and baseball for 53 years in the local community.
            While in one sense it is true that Dick doesn't spend long in one spot, he is still in Harbor Beach, Michigan (without a computer - well, his wife Barb has one) with the same address and phone number (but a new area code).
            And, after a couple of phone messages, I was delighted to receive a return phone call on Sunday evening from the namesake of the TCBA Retro League's Gorney Division.
            He had just returned from a trip to South Bend, Indiana and Notre Dame University, where he had taken a half dozen of his current softballers for the afternoon to see the Women's team (31-7) compete, and give his young charges a tour of the campus.
            Retired since 1995, Dick is now 72 years young.  He is a great-grandfather and is expecting another great-grandson this August.  He and his wife, Barb, are preparing to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this June 10th and are proud of their two sons, Gary and Mike, who both live in Illinois, northwest of Chicago, and their two daughters who live in Toledo and in Boise.
            Always slim and trim, Dick is bothered by occasional dizzy spells, brought on by sudden movements, but has pills to take for that.  Often misdiagnosed as a heart attack (he used to carry nitro-glycerin pills), he's learned to recognize the symptoms earlier.  He also had cataracts removed this last year and was back on the road within two hours of the surgery.  The worst of his physical tribulations was a kidney stone, just 1 mm in diameter, that bothered him this past December.  He said he would rather have given birth to a child than to have had the stone.
He is still coaching and still challenged to find enough children in the rural area to field a team at times.  This year’s softball team has only eleven young ladies - and four of those are entirely new to the game.  He was delighted to find one family that has TEN children that are interested in athletics - kind of the Huron County version of Major League Baseball's DiMaggio/Molina/Delahanty tribes.
        Barb is still very involved with photography and enjoys traveling.  She's been to China to help a friend with an adoption, and to Europe on multiple occasions.  Dick doesn't fly and always has a team to coach, but enjoys the recaps and pictures that Barb brings home.
       I asked him what he does in his spare time.
While he did sell his stamp business, after nearly 40 years of collecting/selling/trading, he has taken new collecting interests.
The daughter in Toledo annually gives him a ticket to the Jamie Farr Sylvania Women's Golf Classic for Father's Day.  Dick spends a week at the tournament, on the course 5-7 hours a day.  He started by buying tournament promotional golf balls and asking the lady golfers to sign.  He has now nearly filled six full cases (49 balls per case) with autographed balls the size of hail stones, and just needs the "rookie" crop each year to add to his collection.
     Expanding the idea, Barb has pitched in to help.  She'll take a picture of Dick and the individual golfer, have it developed into an 8x10 at Walgreen's, and Dick will ask the golfer to sign it the next day (or the next season).  That's been an exciting adventure and made for another nice collection.
     Dick also will visit Notre Dame about half a dozen times a year for football or softball games.  He's had the opportunity to meet, and collect autographs from such celebrities as Ara Parseghian, Lou Holtz, Digger Phelps and several other Irish heroes.
He and Barb drove out to visit their daughter in Boise last year, traveling 7000 miles in a five week trip and visiting 19 states.
     Dick asked about APBA.  I told him that there had not really been a game upgrade since he retired from the postal service in 1995.  Dick has enjoyed using the Negro League cards from the Game Company --- still with the dice.
We shared updates on old TCBA names of the past, and Dick was delighted to hear that so many of the charter (and nearly charter) members of our group are still involved in the TCBA.
     We commiserated over the evils of cancer and Alzheimer's Disease.  Dick's younger sister fell victim to the latter recently.  Thankful for his health and family, Dick promised to consider any invitations to summer baseball get-togethers, and, if he ever retires from coaching, a trip to Lancaster (Grantville) for a TCBA convention.


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