Almost exactly two years ago, July 20, 2013, I wrote of the quest of Leigh Ann Young to find a recording of her father's voice.
This is relevant to us as Cubs fans because Young's father was Verlon "Rube" Walker, a Cubs coach from 1961 through 1970. In fact, he was a member of the original "College of Coaches," and stayed on the coaching staff after that bizarre experiment ended. He was going to be named pitching coach for the Cubs in 1971, but died of leukemia only weeks before the season began. He was just 42, and his daughter Leigh Ann was just three years old, too young to remember her father or his voice.
She thought that her dad's voice might have been recorded on an interview at some point during his Cubs career and that's what my 2013 article was about, to help put the word out to find a recording, any recording, of Verlon Walker's voice.
There's a happy ending to this story, and I'm pleased to be able to bring it to you. After searching all over the country, a recording of Verlon Walker's voice was found -- in his hometown. From Leigh Ann Young's blog, here's how it happened:
My mother contacted Joe Parker, a local pastor who knew my father well. He remembered that my father had invited Bobby Richardson, New York Yankees 2nd baseman and fellow Southerner, to speak at South Lenoir Methodist Church in 1966.
This service was broadcast on WJRI, Lenoir's local AM radio station. Joe Parker had a recording. My mother had it transferred to a CD. On the recording my father introduces Bobby Richardson. His speech lasts 1 minute 10 seconds.
ESPN's Keith Olbermann, who also did a story on Leigh Ann Young's quest in 2013, updates it in this video. You can hear the 70-second clip of Verlon Walker's introduction in this six-minute piece, which is well worth watching:
I'm guessing there might be a little dust in the room where you're watching this video, that might get in your eyes as you do. That's okay. It did for me. There's more from Leigh Ann Young's blog:
I'm not done.
I will continue my quest; listening to stories, finding images, searching for more audio/video, and completing my book.
Most importantly, I plan to share what I have learned with other women plagued and blocked by grief, urging them to embark on their own soul mission.
AND I have a date with Bobby Richardson. I will let you know how that goes.
Bobby Richardson will turn 80 years old next month. I hope he's got many stories of Verlon Walker to tell Leigh Ann. I'm thrilled for her that she's found what she was seeking, and for the way it has changed her life.
And when I wrote the original story two years ago, I told you all I'd let you know what happened. Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did.