CHICAGO (CBS) — In 1948, a 14-year-old Cubs fan won an essay contest and became a batboy for the White Sox.
He spent a dream summer whose memories are alive in the signatures he collected from some of the most recognizable names in the game.
It was the golden age of baseball, Ron Meadows recalled, with names like DiMaggio, Williams, Berra and Paige.
“And of course Yogi Berra, it was his first year,” Meadows said. “He was still known as Larry. He took a lot of ribbing because of his physique, and the colorful things that he said. Joe DiMaggio always carried himself somewhat regally I would say.”
Sometimes Meadows would sit with White Sox shortstop Luke Appling in the dugout.
“He’d always had a big chew of tobacco and he took great pleasure seeing if he could hit the top of my shoe,” Meadows said.
Meadows had free reign of the field and the clubhouses and got as many autographs as he could.
“In 1948, the Cleveland Indians, who of course won the World Series. New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, most of the big names,” Meadows said.
Their signatures are on a collection of baseballs soon to be put up for auction. His daughter, Susannah Meadows, wrote about the collection and her dad’s memories in the New York Times.