Howlett: With one eye, Whammy Douglas saw more than most during eclectic baseball career

From Dylan Howlett at the Carrboro Commons on October 1, 2014:

He has seen much. More, perhaps, than most men who have the luxury of two good eyes. But he doesn’t have time to share all that he has seen. Not now, anyway.

Does he have something to share? Absolutely. He once made Willie Mays quake in a batter’s box. Once hightailed it from Cuba when Fidel Castro seized power. Dated an actress. Chauffeured a rickety busload of minor-league baseball players across North Carolina.

With a glass eye, no less.

Whammy Douglas isn’t reticent. He’s busy. His peripatetic life, nearing its 80th year in February, has settled, at last, within 136 miles of his hometown, Carrboro. In Richlands, N.C., he lives. But in nearby Jacksonville, N.C., he works. The Bear Trail Golf Club beckons for a bustling fall weekend.

Hence why he couldn’t speak, not yet, about pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1957, about becoming one of fewer than 10 players in MLB history to play with one eye, about Mays and Roberto Clemente, about bus rides governed by a bottomless hourglass. About all that he has seen — which he covered Tuesday afternoon in an expansive Q&A.

“It’s not a hard job by any means,” Douglas says Friday by phone as he prepares for his weekend of work. He’s more than conversant with golf, having been a scratch golfer — good enough to play professionally — and a salesman for Dunlop after his baseball career ended.

“It’s easy for an old man.”

And so the coda to the life of Charles William Douglas will take place on a golf course. He says he wants it that way, some tranquility after 79 years of here, there and everywhere.

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Originally published: October 17, 2014. Last Updated: October 17, 2014.