Kirst: Nearly killed by a pitch, a Buffalo Bison who came back

From Sean Kirst at the Buffalo News on November 3, 2018, with mention of SABR members Jacob Pomrenke and Derby Gisclair:

Thomas Abernathy would not describe himself as a baseball fan. He was aware of the way the World Series ended this week, with the Boston Red Sox defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he had no particular interest in the outcome. To him, it was little more than another sign of transition between the seasons.

His distance from baseball is part of an epic – yet almost forgotten – Buffalo story. At 81, he was shaped by what The Sporting News described in 1939 “as one of the most remarkable comebacks in the game’s history.” While Thomas lives in Texas, he was a childhood witness to much of what happened here 80 years ago.

If your children play baseball or softball – and casually wear protective helmets when they bat – this is a tale of sheer courage you ought to know.

In 1938, T. Woodley “Woody” Abernathy was a 29-year-old outfielder with the Buffalo Bisons, a former International League home run champion with dreams of someday playing in the major leagues.

Thomas, long retired from the banking business, is his son. He was raised as an only child and has no children of his own. As we near another winter, Thomas is among the dwindling few who recall the tale.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: November 5, 2018. Last Updated: November 5, 2018.