Friday, June 27, 2008
“I Gave it My Best Shot” by Willie Fordham
Treasuring family and friends, over coming adversity, striving to be the best he could be, making the most out of the abilities God gave him, and playing baseball at the highest level; these are all ways to describe "I Gave It My Best Shot" by Willie Fordham.
Willie’s childhood was filled with good times; baseball, fishing, swimming, car rides, and his grandmother’s sugar and lard sandwiches (yeah, you read that correctly)…. During his childhood racism ran ramped but it wasn’t overwhelmingly evident to him, even though his family was only one of two colored families in a rural Pennsylvania town. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t experience racism. Two incidents are prominent in the book. When he was young there was a cross burning in his family’s front yard and later not being served at a restaurant after he pitched a no-hitter in high school. Over coming incidents like these, while traumatic and troubling, helped build his character and make him the person he is today.
From his younger days of throwing a ball through a tire, to coaching a Pee-Wee team to a championship in Canada, playing in the Negro Leagues, and his tryout with the Dodgers; baseball has always been a large part of Willie’s life. By all accounts he was a good pitcher. He had the tools to make it in the Major Leagues and almost did but his color held him back. That did not stop his love of baseball. When he returned home he played for the Eastern League Harrisburg Senators (1952) and the Negro League Harrisburg Giants (1953-1955). Baseball is a sport that once it’s ‘in’ you it’s there for life. He clearly conveys his love, passion, and respect for the game of baseball.
Life outside of baseball for Fordham has been rewarding. He and his wife raised a family; he worked for the Navy Depot for 30-years, owned a T.V repair shop for 16-years, and worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. He continues to play an active role in the community by giving motivational speeches and participating in Negro League Remembrance activities. While reading his book you get a true sense of how much he cherishes the relationships with his family, friends and people he met throughout his life. This becomes even more evident as he dedicated the final pages to writing something about his family and friends.
Fordham’s book is a great read for teenagers and adults alike. It’s an inspiring story that reminds everyone that you can make a difference; if you give it your best shot. Fordham’s story has changed the way I look at life and I’m sure it will do the same for you.
Be sure to attend the Harrisburg Senators game on June 30, 2008 and meet local legend Willie Fordham, as well as other members of the Harrisburg Giants. Willie will be at Commerce Bank Park to participate in Negro League Remembrance Night. He will have his book for sale; autographed copies will be available too.
If you are unable to attend the game you can purchase an autographed copy of his book directly from him by sending $20 to the following address:
3608 Tudor Dr
Harrisburg, PA 17109
Book will be shipped next business day.
Posted by Senators Fans Unite at 4:46 PM