Farewell to Tommy and Eddie

In this terrible, terrible year we will stray a bit from the normal baseball thread today.

Tommy and Eddie were brothers. They were Brooklyn born wise guys, who I’ve known more than 2/3 my life. Eddie was my wife’s father and his younger brother by four years, Tommy, was her uncle.

Like many brothers they had similarities and they had differences and being such strong personalities, both were etched in stone.

Ed was a tough guy, an MP back in the service, a command and control engineering manager and VP. When I first met him my wife told me I needed to have a super strong hand shake and look him in the eye. I shouldn’t have worried as he was excited to sweep a college student studying engineering into the fold. Later on he would help me get my first engineering job, for which I will always be thankful. He was kind of an Aspie back in the day when no one knew what Asperger’s was and no one had watched Sheldon Cooper on Big Bang Theory. He was very set in his ways. He would never go to lunch with us after church on Sunday mornings because he had to go home and eat his peanut butter sandwich. E-V-E-R-Y–W-E-E-K.

Ed had gone to Brooklyn Tech and then to City College. He was in the same class as Colin Powell, who was so poor he wore his ROTC uniform everywhere. He grew up a few blocks from Chuck Connors the Rifleman, who played both professional baseball with the Dodgers and professional basketball with the Celtics. Back in the day, most of the Dodgers lived in among the folks in Brooklyn and he would see them often. The Dodgers were his team and after they split, he became a Mets fan when they were created in 1962.

Ed and his wife Vivian had seven kids and he decided he couldn’t afford to put that many through school up in New Jersey, so he packed nine people and a dog into the Plymouth station wagon and drove them down to Houston in 1971. And that is where I met his daughter Mary four years later.

Tommy was always a bit more fun loving than Ed. Not as serious, not as cheap (oh yes), but still a Brooklyn kid through and through. One of my favorite pictures I’ve seen of Tom was as a young man with a huge head of hair, a blindingly clean T-shirt on with a pack of cigarettes rolled into the sleeve. I wish I could go back and remove those cigarettes from his life.

Tommy became an accountant and he and his wife Ruth had five kids. They eventually moved out to the suburbs in New Jersey and he would commute in and out from his office in the Twin Towers. He was in the Towers when the first attack occurred back in 1993 and had to walk down 60 floors, but fortunately was retired when 9/11 occurred. He never drove a car his whole life, unlike his brother who became a daily commuter in Houston.

When they got older the brothers would talk often. Tommy would almost always start off the phone calls as a prank, pretending to be a repairman or someone selling insurance. (As though someone with a thick as a brick Brooklyn accent would be calling Ed’s house in Missouri City). Ed would complain that Tommy liked to talk too long and we told him to enjoy it while you can.

They both liked sports, including baseball. Ed would DVR the Astro games to watch the next day, but would only watch them if they won. We were up at Tom and Ruth’s house during the beginning of the 2019 Yanks – Astros ALCS and even though we were on opposite sides, Tom was always a good sport about it, even when Correa walked off game two.

Both of these wise guys taught me a lot about life and loyalty to wife and children and the inner toughness it takes to get up everyday no matter what is happening and earn that paycheck.

On Sept. 21, the younger brother, Tommy passed away up in New Jersey. At the time, his older brother Ed was in failing health too. This last Wednesday November 4th, Ed went to be with his brother.

I’m sure somewhere Tommy is talking Eddie’s ear off and he probably doesn’t mind at all.

34 comments on “Farewell to Tommy and Eddie

  1. Dan: Thanks for this. I fear that the kind of wisdom embodied by your father in law and his brother is irretrievably disappearing from our country. I appreciate your reminiscences and pray that you will be comforted by the knowledge that they lived life well and left many enduring memories.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. One of the fascinating things about Ed is that he had a successful but too short second act. His wife died in 2017 and he spent some time fairly alone in his house. We would see him almost every weekend – bringing in a meal, playing Scrabble, watching a movie. Then in early 2019 he floored us by telling us he had met and was having lunches with three women from a dating site. He settled on one of them and married Tanya at an age of 85 (his age). It was a very happy time for him – he had had a tough time taking care of his wife during her long decline – but then his health went down.

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  3. Today’s announcement about Pfizer’s vaccine for Covid-19 is a game changer for the world, including baseball. The possibility of full stadiums next season is going to make this offseason better than expected

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I have a little story that I held off sharing here. When my father-in-law was in terrible shape, he had his 87th birthday. At that point his wife’s sister came into town to see him one last time. She became ill and was diagnosed with COVID. 6 caregivers came down with COVID including my wife. I tested negative but I think I have had it since.
    My wife ended up in the hospital and she came home last night. She has some healing to go but I am so grateful she is back home.

    This virus is nasty.

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  5. -I hear and read about these covid stories all the time, but some people I know don’t even recognize it and poopoo it as something made up to keep us in the herd.
    I know that every time I go somewhere I am taking a chance with my life. I don’t like to take chances!
    -The first set of tires I ever bought new was for my ’64 Corvair. That set of tires was $70 including mounting and balancing because I did the mounting and balancing. This morning I paid $750 for a set of tires for my 16 year old SUV.
    I sold my one calf to pay for those tires, but, he won’t pay for them because the price of beef is so low at the sale barn. But look at what the price of a T-bone steak is at the store. Somewhere, from my pasture to the plate, somebody is not doing much work, but is making a lot of money.
    But, I do have a wonderful back yard to hunt in, so there is some trade off.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. dan very sorry to hear of your losses. hopefully with this new vaccine and leadership we will whip this damn virus. i would like to see brantley back he is a professional hitter. i feel you op. somehow someone somewhere always seems to be able to make the bigger share of money while the folks actually doing the work get the shaft. my first set of tires (that i cant remember the cost) were for a 57 chevy station wagon, my first car as a sophmore in highschool in 1969.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would like to point out that it was the previous leadership that got us to this point in absolutely record time for a vaccine. The government has done a great job of working with the private sector to move quickly and to fast track reviews and approvals which the government is not usually good at.
      This is not a political statement – just a fact.
      I hope the new leadership continues to realize that by unleashing the strength of US technology and research we can help mankind (rather than strangling them with regulations).

      Liked by 2 people

    • Man, that 57 Chevy wagon would have been a cool set of wheels for a guy in 10th grade. The first Chevy wagon we had was a used 1950 Tin Woody. It lasted until I was 7 or 8 into the early 60’s. I loved that car with the step up third seat.

      You never know guys, maybe they get Brantley signed up in order to show George how serious they are about getting him back. Those two guys sure are close. And Crane has proven to be remarkably competitive. Likely a long shot, but it would not shock me.

      I’m going to stay out of the “who did what” part of the Covid-19 fray, but it sure has been a life changer for so many people in these small islands down here. Unemployment is 30, 40% on islands so dependent on American tourism. Hopefully with the massive production of good vaccines and great distribution, we’ll see a real blow to this damn pandemic and soon. Our little twin island federation has zero active cases today, a rarity, but unlike quite a few of our neighbors, we’ve been very serious about mask wearing and very conservative about reopening our borders. Our quarantine procedures are strict. Most tourists don’t want to deal with our present protocol. But we know that if the thing gets loose down here, we simply do not have the healthcare facilities and expertise to deal with a significant outbreak. I know people who have died from Covid-19 before they should have and I do not want to see it happen here where we’re all neighbors.

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    • And the “new” guy said the old guy should not have cut off travel from China (and if he hadn’t things would have been much worse) and the speaker of the house invited tons of people town to China Town as the virus taking off.
      There can be plenty of second guessing – but the one thing I know is that the new guy has nothing to do with the vaccine news of this week. Nothing

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      • neither did the old guy.

        Trump says he will ‘vanquish’ coronavirus vaccine
        Pence breaks silence to take credit for Pfizer vaccine – and drugs company immediately denies Trump involved

        Pfizer has clarified that the US government was not involved in their development of a Covid-19 vaccine

        Harriet Alexander
        1 day ago
        19 comments

        Leer en Español

        Mike Pence has broken his post-election silence to trumpet the Trump administration’s backing of a new coronavirus vaccine – only for the company to immediately point out that the research and development of their vaccine had nothing to do with the government.

        Pfizer announced on Monday morning that their Covid-19 vaccine was 90 per cent effective, in early trials.

        “HUGE NEWS: Thanks to the public-private partnership forged by President @realDonaldTrump, @pfizer announced its Coronavirus Vaccine trial is EFFECTIVE, preventing infection in 90% of its volunteers,” tweeted Mr Pence.

        Nikki Haley, Mr Trump’s former UN ambassador, also claimed that the Pfizer work was down to Mr Trump, saying: “Many thanks”.

        ADVERTISING

        Seemingly unaware that Pfizer had very publicly rejected federal funds, she said: “This will be one of the most important action items done by the administration in response to this pandemic.”

        But the New York-based company was quick with a clarification.

        YOUR DAILY US POLITICS NEWSLETTER

        Dr Kathrin Jansen, Pfizer’s head of vaccine development, told the New York Times: “We were never part of the Warp Speed … We have never taken any money from the US government, or from anyone.”

        Pfizer later clarified that they were considered “part” of Warp Speed, because the US government had placed an order for a potential vaccine. But they received no funding for its development, unlike their rivals.

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      • no hard feelings at all dan. i think its good to have a lively conversation now and then. sorry to hear you havent been feeling well, i have a few issues as well (not as bad as covid) but sometimes it doesnt take too much for me to be grumpy. i love this blog and appreciate the outstanding work you do here. i think of the folks in here as friends, as i do you.

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    • we arent the only ones with bad press.

      The White Sox’ decision to hire Tony La Russa as their new skipper was widely panned from the get-go, and last night’s revelation that the team knew he’d been charged with a second DUI prior to making the hire has only enhanced criticism. The La Russa hire, however, is now generating a negative reaction beyond fans and pundits.

      After The Athletic’s Keith Law further criticized the White Sox last night on Twitter in light of the newest details, free-agent righty Marcus Stroman replied to call the decision “baffling on all measures.” Asked by a follower what type of contract it would take for Stroman to sign to play under La Russa, the pitcher replied: “No amount of money honestly. Peace of mind is always priority.”

      Much has been made of whether La Russa will be able to connect with a younger generation of players, particularly in light of his vocal 2016 stance against Colin Kaepernick’s protests in the National Football League. La Russa seemed to double down on those comments earlier this year, fueling questions about how he’d be received by current White Sox players. Tim Anderson, who sits on the board of the Players Alliance, spoke of keeping an open mind but noted that although more than a week had elapsed since the hiring was announced, La Russa had yet to contact him.

      The White Sox surely knew there’d be pushback against the initial La Russa decision — particularly considering they knew about the latest DUI that had yet to become public — but it’s unlikely they’d have anticipated such public rejection from a prominent free agent like Stroman. Still, Stroman didn’t mince his words, and it stands to reason that there are other free agents and other players who hold similar opinions (even if they don’t vocalize them).

      A White Sox official told USA Today’s Bob Nightengale last night that La Russa would not lose his job and in fact wasn’t even in line to face any discipline from the organization, although Stroman’s comments only figure to place further pressure for some kind of action on owner Jerry Reinsdorf.

      It’s become increasingly clear, after all, that the decision to hire La Russa came solely from Reinsdorf and was not well-received elsewhere in the organization. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic wrote this morning that Reinsdorf turned the “La Russa Express into a runaway train,” adding that White Sox executives were “unable to stop their owner from bringing his longtime friend back into the organization.”

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      • I have a real problem with the second DUI situation. I don’t have a problem with LaRussa standing up for the flag vs. Mr. Kaepernick – it is his right. Will this go well for him – I doubt it.

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    • Sorry, I didn’t mean to be disrespectful in regards to you and yours bout with COVID or anybody else’s issues with it. Just didn’t want to see the conversation get too political.

      Liked by 1 person

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