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Showing 6 articles from November 10, 2011.

Obituaries

Acie L. McFarland, 91

LEBANON -- Funeral services are set for 12 Noon Saturday, Nov. 12 at JC Hellum Funeral Home for Mr. McFarland, 91.
Mr. McFarland died Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011 at Summit Medical Center.
Visitation will be 11 a.m. until the service Saturday at the funeral home.
Services will be conducted by the Rev. Timothy Bryant. Interment will be in Hermitage Memorial Gardens.
Survivors include: daughters Barbara Hogan, Wanda Claybrooks and Alice Waters; son Terry McFarland; and many other relatives and friends.
Lebanon's JC Hellum Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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Debbie Cruz, 53

LEBANON -- Funeral services are scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12 at the Ligon & Bobo Funeral Home for Mrs. Cruz, 53, of Lebanon.
Born Oct. 28, 1958, in Marietta, GA, she Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011, at her home.
The daughter of Betty Williams Roof Brooks of Hermitage and the late Charles H. Roof, Mrs. Cruz worked in food service for the Wilson County Board of Education and was a member of the Grace Place.
The family will receive friends Friday 2 8 p.m. and after 12 Noon Saturday at Ligon & Bobo.
Services will be conducted by Pastor Tommy Dove. Interment will follow at the Cedar Grove Cemetery.
Survivors, in addition to her mother, include: husband Danny Cruz; children Richard Thomas Cruz of Murfreesboro; James Clinton Cruz of Lebanon; Angela Maria Cruz and Demencio Danny Cruz -- both of Murfreesboro; brothers, Charles H. (Sarah) Roof of Mt. Juliet and Steven (Karen) Roof of Donelson; granddaughter Abigail Stiltz.
In addition to her father, she was preceded in death by her step father, James D. Brooks.
Arrangements by Ligon & Bobo Funeral Home.

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Eugene Arthur Davis, 81

MT. JULIET -- Funeral services will be conducted 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12 at Bond Memorial Chapel for Mr. Davis, 81, of Mt. Juliet.
An avid golf, collector of stamps and coins, Mr. Davis died Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011.
He also enjoyed traveling to the casinos in Tunica, MS.
Visitation will be one hour prior to the service Saturday at Bond Memorial Chapel.
Survivors include: children Gene (Kim) Davis, Caryn (David) Jenkins and Sherry Bandi; grandchildren Carynn Bandi, Chris Bandi, Jennifer Starzacher, Jodee Jenkins and David Jenkins
Great-Grandchildren Amanda McCaig, Austin McCaig, Madison Starzacher, Elaina Starzacher, Davis Starzacher, Megan Bandi, Ryan Bandi, Anthony Jenkins and Jayde Jenkins.
Mr. Davis was the son of the late, Arthur and Nellie Whitaker Davis. He was also preceded in death by his wife, Elaine Davis.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Alive Hospice, Inc., 1718 Patterson St., Nashville, 37203.
Mt. Juliet's Bond Memorial Chapel in in charge of arrangements.

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General Lifestyle

Late TN ballplayer still impacts major leagues
The small community of Gassaway, which lies about 2 miles from where Wilson, Cannon and DeKalb counties meet, had a major Major League connection to last weeks World Series.

Professional pitcher Charles Cason Gassaway, who was born Aug. 12, 1918, in the village named after his great-great grandfather, Benjamin Gassaway, was pretty much a career minor leaguer, although he enjoyed parts of three seasons in the major leagues with the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Athletics and Cleveland Indians from late 1944 into 1946, appearing in 39 games and notching five wins.

The oldest child of Arthur and Era (Shirley) Gassaway stuck in professional baseball for more than 25 years as a player, manager and scout, but his biggest impact on the game must have come in 1962 when he signed a 17-year-old shortstop named Tony La Russa to a contract with the Kansas City Athletics. That's the same Tony La Russa who skippered the St. Louis Cardinals to this year's World Series against the Texas Rangers. La Russa is the third most winning manager in major league baseball (trailing only Connie Mack and John McGraw) with 2,727 wins behind his belt.

He really loved baseball. He devoted his life to it, said Marie Siegel of Crystal River, Fla., the only surviving child of Gassaway. The ballplayer died in 1992 at the age of 73 in Miami, Fla.

This 1944 autographed baseball card of Charlie Gassaway was issued by Grand Studio and sold at Borchert Field, the AA Milwaukee Brewers ballpark. As a southpaw slinger, two of his finest seasons came with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1943 and 1944 when he won 24 games, lost 14 and had a 2.75 earned run average. The AA club owner Bill Veeck purchased his contract for $1,000 from Nashville in middle of the 1943 season. Milwaukee manager Charlie Grimm told the Milwaukee Journal that July, "If we'd had a southpaw like Charlie Gassaway last year, we would have won the pennant."

Used mainly as relief pitcher, Gassaway told a Milwaukee sports writer, after Brewer starters threw four straight shutouts: "I don't know why the Brews need me. . . . I'll never break into the league if that is the kind of pitching they expect. . . . That's too hot a pear for Mrs. Gassaway's boy, Charles."

In April 1945, owner-manager Connie Mack of the Philadelphia Athletics purchased the hurler from the Milwaukee Brewers for $15,000. He won 14 games for the Brewers that season under manager Casey Stengel. Gassaway played three more seasons for Stengel from 1946-1948 in Oakland, Calif., before the New York Yankees called up Stengel. (Hall of Famer Stengel went on to guide the Yankees to 10 pennants and seven World Series titles during the next 12 years.)

Gassaway was ace of the Oakland Oaks team in 1948 when they won 114 games and the Pacific Coast League title. Stengel nicknamed that team the Nine Old Men as most of his key players were older than the other players in the league. Among Gassaways teammates were veterans Ernie Lombardi and Cookie Lavagetto and a youngster named Billy Martin, who later became a Yankee player and skipper.

His last season as a player was in 1952 when he also managed the Tri-City team in Washington state in the Western International League. He managed various minor league teams until the 1960s when he wound down his career as a scout for the Kansas City Athletics.

Marie Gassaway Siegel said her father moved with his family to Nashville when he was very young. He had two sisters, Nell and Mary, and three brothers, Carl, Nick and Paul. (Paul, a catcher, played minor league baseball, signing with Chattanooga in the fall of 1942 and later played in a Nashville industrial league for DuPont from the mid-1940s to the mid-1950s.)

"Charlie Gassaway was a pretty good pitcher. He was long tall and lanky," said Mt. Juliet's Virgil Nipper, who played on the Nashville North High School baseball team in the mid-1940s. I saw him play a lot in Sulpher Dell for the Nashville Vols.

"His brother, Paul, worked for the L&N Railroad and was a good catcher. At that time there was a good city league in Nashville, and he was a catcher for DuPont, and I played against him (from 1952-1956) for the old Nashville Bridge Company team."

Gassaways obituary in the Miami Herald stated that he gave up high school (Nashvilles Hume-Fogg) to pursue his boyhood passionbaseball. He made his professional debut in the minor leagues in 1936, and he won 18 games as a 19-year-old for his Pensacola, Fla., club in 1938.

He had a ninth-grade education, his daughter said. He left to go play baseball when he was 16. One of the stories passed down is that he had on this suit his parents bought for him and had his little suitcase and was walking to the train station and it started to rain, and his new suit shrank on him while he was wearing it. The arms and legs shortened as he was going off in that suit to play baseball.

There was nothing short about Gassaways baseball career.

From 1936 until 1952 he played for teams in Texas, Florida, Tennessee, New York, Wisconsin, California, North Carolina and even Montreal, Canada. For eight more years he managed teams in Washington, Utah, North Carolina and Florida. Who knows how many thousands of hours he spent traveling on team buses down two-lane blacktops from burg to burg in days when there were no air-conditioned rides. There could be little doubt that he loved the game.

Nevertheless, a few times he decided to quit, only to change his mind and return to the great American pastime.

A headline from the Milwaukee Journal, dated March 5, 1944, proclaims: Brewers Sign Up Gassaway, Left Handed Pitcher Quit Baseball to Become Policeman.

The article reads: Charley (Lefty) Gassaway of the Brewer pitching staff is just as unpredictable as a highway patrolman in Tennessee as he is in a baseball uniform. A few days ago, while on duty outside of Nashville, Gassaway wrote this note: Please excuse my hand writing because Im signing my contract while sitting in my squad car on the side of the highway. Ill see you in Waukesha Mar. 20 to start spring training

Charlie Gassaway spent more than 25 years in professional baseball as a player, manager and scout. He would have crossed the base paths with thousands of players over the years including such Baseball Hall of Fame members as Casey Stengel and Connie Mack and was the scout who signed Tony La Russa to his first contract. This portrait captures the man from Gassaway, Tenn., in living color on a 1948 Signal Oil baseball card as a member of the Oakland (California) Oaks. Gassaway retired from baseball last summer. Patrolling the Tennessee highways was a better job, he told teammates at the time. Charley had just returned from Nashville, where he had passed a written examination for the patrol job. At the time, Gassaway was the busiest member of Charley Grimms pitching staff and his arm was tired. The highway patrol job, he believed, would be more comfortable. A month ago he received his contract and his thoughts turned to baseball.

His on-and-off-again job between fall and spring with the Tennessee Highway Patrol, reportedly working in and around Murfreesboro, earned him the Sheriff nickname, which stuck.

Standing 6-feet-2 and weighing 190 pounds during his prime playing days, hurler Gassaway was a switch-hitter. One of his baseball cards from the 1940s notes such facts as He has a pet dog called Lollypop. His baseball ambition is to play 20 seasons. His greatest thrill was signing his first professional contract. Of English-Irish descent, he has blue eyes, brown hair. Learned baseball on the sandlots. Boyhood idol: Lefty Grove; Present-day favorite: Ted Williams.

Another greatest thrill must have been the birth of his daughter. Marie was born in 1952 in Nashville and moved with her parents in 1956 to Miami.

My mother was his second wife, she said. He married as a very young man and his first wife died. They had a son, but my half-brother, Kenneth Wayne Gassaway, passed away many years ago.

My mother was a flight attendant and worked for Western Airlines. He was traveling with the ball team, and he got on the plane, and immediately he handed her his garment that he had on a hanger and said to her, and Id like a cup of coffee, please. She was so annoyed by him. He rubbed her the wrong way, but he must have redeemed himself, she recollected of that fateful encounter. The ballplayer and flight attendant married in 1950.

He was a great father and really liked by a lot of people. He was a very, very laidback person. He loved music, particularly country music, and he loved a good joke. He was a happy-go-lucky guy. He enjoyed life, Siegel said of her dad, whose offspring include five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

He was an avid hunter and fisherman. One of my happiest childhood memories is going fishing with my mom and dad. He was so proud on my 16th birthday when he gave me a Shakespeare rod with a Mitchell 300 reel. He also was very much into photography during the years that he was playing. As a young child I remember him being into photography, and he had a little dark room set up and developed his own pictures.

My best recollections of him and baseball come from when I was a young child, and he was managing the Tampa Tarpons and Lakeland Indians. In the summers when school was out, my mother and I would go to wherever he was playing and that was our life. Every night we went to the baseball stadium.

GASSING UP ONLINE

To watch a video of Charlie Gassaway pitching for the Oakland Oaks in 1946, go online to www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZ0qBqI4geA

To see his major league statistics as a player, go to www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=gassach01

To view his complete minor league pitching, hitting and managing stats, go to www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=gassaw001cha

To view his managerial record, go to www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Charlie_Gassaway

During the off season in Florida, the manager worked at a Miami supermarket.

When he retired from playing baseball, he went to work for a company called Southern Gun Distributors in Miami, a major gun wholesaler-retailer, and he was the manager of their warehouse and supervisor of their records, Siegel said. That was where he retired from.

As for memorabilia from his days on the diamond, Siegel said she has a couple of uniforms, a glove, a pair of cleats and some baseball cards.

Marie Gassaway Siegel has never ventured to the birthplace of her father and burial ground to a number of her ancestors, but said, I look forward to going to Gassaway soon.

Charlie Gassaway, Cannon Countys only native to have made it to the major leagues, died Jan. 15, 1992, of cardiac arrest at 73 and was buried at Woodland Park South in Miami.

Upon receiving news of the Tennesseans death, Chuck Stevens, secretary-treasurer of the Association of Professional Baseball Players in California, told the press, He was a graceful pitcher. I played against him many times in the minors. He may not have had a long career in the majors, but anybody that made it for even 20 minutes did a helluva job, in my humble opinion.

By KEN BECK


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General Sports

Caya Williams inks with MT

From Post staff reports
Mt. Juliet High post player Caya Williams has signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Middle Tennessee. The 6-1 forward plays for head coach Chris Fryer at Mt. Juliet High School and also sees action with the Tennessee Flight Silver AAU program.

We are excited about Caya coming on board with us, MT head coach Rick Insell said. We felt there were two kids in the state of Tennessee at the post position that we were interested in. Tennessee got one, and we got the other in Williams. We felt by getting her we have added another solid person to our program that we needed.

She comes from a great high school program and I think Chris Fryer is one of the best high school coaches in the nation. They put a lot of emphasis on the post game, including sealing, facing the ball and finishing with the ball. Those are some things that we usually have to work on with our kids once they get here. It will be some things that we wont have to work on as much with her since she already has that skill set.

She is a winner, no ifs, ands or buts about it. I have seen her play the last two years against some of the toughest competition in America during summer ball and she has held her own. There have been times where she has been very, very dominant.

Williams has earned an 87 scouts grade thus far by ESPN HoopGurlz, rising to a No. 31 rank at her position by the national organization. She led the Lady Bears to a 29-3 record as a junior and No. 2 state ranking, and was selected as an all-state honoree for 3A by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association. She was voted the District 9-AAA Player of the Year, as well as a member of the all-district team, and was the runner-up for the Miss Basketball award.

As a junior, she shot 57.3 percent from the floor on her way to averaging 20.3 points per game. Williams also hauled in 8.3 rebounds per game and was a 75.0 percent shooter from the foul line.

As a sophomore, she netted a game-high 27 points as she earned district MVP accolades as Mt. Juliet claimed the district title with a win over Station Camp High. She poured in 29 points and added 10 rebounds as the Lady Bears finished the district season unbeaten at 14-0.

Williams has also been tabbed as one of the Top 12 rising prospects in the state by Rick Bolus this past June and was an Honorable Mention choice for Tennessee on the 2011 All-Southern Team by the Orlando Sentinel.

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FCS visits Trousdale Co. tonight

By TOMMY BRYAN
Dont expect the unexpected tonight as Friendship Christian travels to Trousdale County for a second round game in the Class 2A playoffs. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at John Kerr Field.

Live radio coverage can be heard on WTNK FM 93.5 and AM 1090.

I think we know each other pretty well, said FCS head coach John McNeal, Its kind of hard to get much off their game film from the past couple of weeks because theyve subbed out early and you really dont know what theyre trying to do.

I think both of us will look more to the film from back in September.

The two teams met in the regular season back on Sept. 29 and after a scoreless first half, Trousdale County pulled away for a 17-0 victory -- by far the most competitive game for the Yellow Jackets this season.

I think it will come down to who makes the first mistake and who takes advantage of it. I thought we played well last time, but we did not maintain any offensive drives, McNeal said.

Defensively, we played great. The only thing I think we could do better is to make some stops. Our offense and defense must help each other. Defense get off the field, offense move the chains and keep the defense off the field.

The way Trousdale County plays, they love to grind the ball and run the clock. You give them the ball and it may be seven or eight minutes before you get it back. It always seems to be a battle.

Trousdale County comes in 9-1 overall off a bye week and winners of nine consecutive games since a season opening loss.

FCS stands 8-3, winners of four in a row since that meeting in Hartsville, including a 42-0 home victory over Jackson County last week in the first round.

Tonights winner will tackle the winner of the Rockwood - Boyd Buchanan game in the third round. Should FCS win tonight, the Commanders would travel next week.

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