From Louie Lazar at the New York Times on April 3, 2013:
Late one recent night on Bible Street in Cos Cob, Conn., in the carpeted basement apartment of a gray bungalow, Mike Sandlock, 97, had a dream that he was in Yankee Stadium.
A tall, white-haired great-grandfather, he stood at the plate, under pressure to hit a home run. “I says: ‘That’s not me! I’m not a home run hitter!’ ” Sandlock protested. Nonetheless, he crushed one into the right-field stands, then woke up.
“I have crazy dreams anyway,” Sandlock said dismissively.
About 82 years earlier, when Sandlock lived about three miles from where he does now, he took the train one day to the Bronx with his older brother. It was his first time in Yankee Stadium, andwas in his prime. Sandlock sat in the right-field bleachers, and Ruth hit a towering drive well over the teenager’s head.
“It’s a good thing it wasn’t any lower,” his brother told him, “Your mouth was really wide open.”
Sandlock recalled thinking, “I looked at this big field and said, ‘Oh, I would like to play here.’ ”
But neither of these dreams — an old man’s subconscious, a teenager’s fantasy — was far-fetched. Sandlock is the oldest living Brooklyn Dodger, Boston Brave and Pittsburgh Pirate, according to Baseball-Reference.com, the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and Mark Langill, the historian for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
A switch-hitting catcher who was the Dodgers’ opening day shortstop in 1945, Sandlock is one of the few living athletes who played professional baseball before and during World War II. Only two living former major leaguers — Ace Parker, 100, a Philadelphia Athletics infielder in 1937 and 1938; and Connie Marrero, 101, a Cuban junk-ball pitcher for the Washington Senators from 1950 to 1954 — are older.
- Oldest living former major leaguer, Connie Marrero, turns 100 (April 25, 2011)
- The Mysteries and Misconceptions Surrounding Conrado Marrero, by Peter C. Bjarkman (April 25, 2011)
Originally published: April 3, 2013. Last Updated: April 3, 2013.