I won't take you all the way back to the very beginning of Dorothy's love of baseball, but let's step back to 1931. On May 26th of that year, the city of Davenport opened a new stadium. At the time, it was called Municipal Stadium. On opening day, Dorothy and her Dad were in attendance along with about 2800 other fans. For the next 76 opening day games, Dorothy has been in the stands, cheering her home team. Yes, that's SEVENTY-SIX consecutive home openers!
Dorothy, who I call "The First Lady of Baseball," is almost 91-years old now. She has watched as players have worked their way from Davenport to the Major Leagues. She is able to say that she has seen over 200 young men make it to The Show. Jim Bunning pitched here for the Davenport Tigers, went on to be one of the greatest pitchers in MLB, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in the late 90's. He's the only Davenport veteran to be elected to the Hall so far. Dorothy smiles when you mention his name. "He was SO good on the mound," she says.
Another player who is near and dear to Dorothy is a guy named Jim Edmonds. Cardinals fans might recognize his name! Jim played in Davenport in the mid-1980s and has had a long and illustrious career since. Of course, Dorothy is looking forward to the possibility that another of her favorites, Colby Rasmus, might replace Jim in a season or two. Dorothy has a slightly different memory of another young player who came through John O'Donnell Stadium. His name is Albert Pujols, but when he played here, he was the "bad guy" since he played for Peoria.
Some of the more recent players to work from here to the bigs include Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel, Pat Neshek, and Dennis Dove. Each name has a story and gets a smile from Dorothy. She has kept a scrapbook for about 70 years. It's complete with autographed photos of most of those who have played here. She is especially fond of any player that will take time to come for an afternoon visit to look at just a small part of her scrapbooks. I believe that it would take weeks to scan through the entire collection.
Dorothy's love and knowledge of the game led her to a 20-year career as office manager for various teams that called John O'Donnell Stadium home. She has also been "mom" to many players as she provided housing and home cooking to the team over the years. Just as a reminder of how many years Dorothy has been a part of Davenport baseball history, let me list the men who have served as President since her first game at John O'Donnell: Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. Yes, that's 13 of our 43 Presidents!
You can find Dorothy at most games now in her wheelchair at the top of section eight. Everyone who stops to say "hi" gets a wave, and a flash of her beautiful smile. Don't expect her to give you her undivided attention, though, unless you stop between innings. She doesn't get to attend as many games as she wants; she has been in a nursing home healing for the last seven months after a fall broke her hip. Her faithful friend, chauffeur, fellow baseball fan, and husband of nearly 50 years is Frank. He has taken on the role of nurse as Dorothy's health fades. But just look into their eyes and you see two lifetime baseball fans whose love for each other is about the only thing that goes beyond their love for the game.
Whatever you believe, I would ask you to pray for, think good thoughts about, or just remember Frank and Dorothy Wulf.
Here's a one of a kind chance for ALL Cardinals fans!!! The Swing of the Quad Cities Fan Club is raffling an authentic David Eckstein Autographed Cardinals Jersey! Tickets are only $5 each and are being sold at most home games through June 16, 2007. The drawing will be held on June 17, 2007. The winner does not need to be present to win. Proceeds will benefit the club which works hard to support the players during their time in Davenport. They will also be making a donation to the Dorothy Wulf Wheelchair Lift Fund to make it easier for Dorothy to be able to continue to attend games at John O'Donnell. For Scout.com readers, you can buy tickets through the mail! Just write your name, address, and phone number on a 3x 5 card, and send it with a check made out to the Swing of the QC Fan Club, 2019 Main St, Davenport, IA, 52803. Multiple entries are encouraged; just send $5 and a 3x5 card for each entry. All entries must be received by June 16, 2007. Please include a note that says you saw this announcement on Scout.com. Thanks in advance, and good luck!
Now, for this week's field report; as readers of the message board know, I've been unable to attend many games recently as I fight off a bad spring cold. The team has been up and down, as they have been all season. In Wednesday afternoon's game this week, Brandon Buckman went 3-for-4, Mark Shorey and Christian Lopez each collected two RBIs. Chris Grossman hit his first home run of the season, a solo in the second. Luke Gorsett and Jared Schweitzer each contributed as well.
I am disliking the eight-man starting rotation less and less. It's been debated well on the message board, both pro and con. I wonder if my tolerance for it is just a matter of getting used to it, or if I like seeing two "regulars" in each game. With the warming of the weather, I think it's time to see which pitchers have the arm strength to go deep into the game. The first starter in each game seems to be throwing longer. Tyler Herron went 5.2 innings Thursday. Time will tell, I suppose.
Rather than sound like a broken record again, I'll forgo the "Swing and a Miss" section this week. The ones who have been hot still are. The ones who are not, still aren't.
Jon can be reached by email at email@example.com. Your comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome.
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