SABR

Fischman: Former Tiger Jake Wood has never hung up his cleats

From Aaron Fischman at ATLXTV.com on February 6, 2014:

Former Detroit Tigers second baseman Jake Wood never quite hung up his cleats. Now 76, he plays for a Senior Softball team based out of Pensacola, Fla.

Wood had zero idea that one of his former Tigers teammates was also playing Senior Softball until he came across Terry Fox at a tournament in Lafayette, La., around nine years ago. Someone told Wood that he wasn’t the only former baseball player at the tournament; shortly after, the chance encounter happened.

“We saw each other, and I said, ‘Wow, that’s Terry,’” recalls Wood. “And we’ve been in contact with one another through the game ever since then.”

Fox, who is two years older than Wood, spent six seasons with him in Detroit from 1961-66. Save for Fox’s five outings with the Milwaukee Braves in 1960, the guys essentially started their big league careers together in Detroit and quite remarkably more than 50 years later, still grace the same field as each other approximately twice each year.

As a 23-year-old from Elizabeth, N.J., Wood made his major league debut for the Tigers in 1961. From his second base position, he remembers watching Roger Maris’ home runs soar over his head during that record-setting season – the year that Maris topped Babe Ruth’s longstanding single-season home run record. In fact, Maris hit eight home runs against the ‘61 Tigers, with all eight landing beyond the right-field fence. The last of those, Maris’ 58th of the season, was a game-winner against Fox that broke a 4-4, 12th-inning tie.

Read the full article here: http://www.atlxtv.com/2014/02/06/former-big-leaguers-paying-game-forward/

This page was last updated February 11, 2014 at 11:40 am MST.

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