COMMENTARY

The doctor is in; a baseball with a special autograph

1/28/2013
BY TOM WALTON
BLADE COLUMNIST
The signature of Dick Meyers is one up from the lower seam on this baseball, autographed by members of the 1948 Zanesville Dodgers.
The signature of Dick Meyers is one up from the lower seam on this baseball, autographed by members of the 1948 Zanesville Dodgers.

Old Doc Walton’s mailbag has been filling up since I wrote two weeks ago about my deluge of medical newsletters. Clearly I am not the only person who gets solicitations from medical schools and renowned clinics selling advice intended to keep us upright and reasonably intact.

Two dozen or so readers responded, and most of them hear from the same schools I do: Tufts, UCLA, Duke, Harvard, and UC-Berkeley, among others, as well as the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic.

Cathy Weygandt of Findlay said she could relate. She too gets such overtures, but she cautioned me about filing them all away for future reference.

Her late father-in-law saved everything, she said, including articles, printouts of emails he sent, a lifetime of handwritten notes — weapons of “mass accumulation,” you might say.

Too late, Cathy. That ship has sailed. One box of stuff in our basement bears this message, written by my wife in black Sharpie: “Marry a pack rat, pay the consequences.”

Lindsay Smith of Toledo made my day by suggesting that I must be relatively new at being old. “In the eyes of the senders you must be a comparatively young fella,” Lindsay said, “so take heart. Just wait until you begin receiving similar letters from funeral homes and those who want to cremate you. Then you know you are officially a senior.”

Thanks for sharing, Lindsay. I feel so much better.

Tom Gottron of Fremont joked that he was immediately canceling his subscription to the Cleveland Clinic newsletter and would be happy to subscribe to mine, regardless of the cost. “I’ll find the money somewhere,” he added. I’d love to give Tom a senior discount, but hey, I’ve got expenses here.

John Gottschalk passed along two pieces of medical advice handed down by his late father, a longtime Toledo physician.

Item One: “If you fall,” Dr. Gottschalk used to say, “always fall on your head. It’s the hardest part of your body, and with most people, there’s nothing inside.”

Item Two: If you have a cold, get a shot of either penicillin or schnapps. Either way, he said, the cold will last about four days.

I’ve never had a cold that only lasted four days, but I don’t keep penicillin in the house either. I promise to try the schnapps next time.

Gerry Bazer of Toledo offered another tip for dealing with a cold: lots of chicken soup. Not just to eat, he said, you’ve got to rub it all over your chest. I’m sure it smells better than VapoRub, but I’ll stick with the schnapps.

A fellow senior baseball player, Augie Agosti, asked Old Doc Walton for his opinion about playing again this year even though his body is aching. “Don’t go easy on me, Doc,” he said. “Hit me right between the eyes.”

My advice, Augie: Oil up the glove and get out there. You don’t quit playing because you get old; you get old because you quit playing.

Dick Edwards of Bowling Green said the folks in his water therapy class were discussing the column before he’d had a chance to see it. He’s the mayor of B.G. and a very busy man, so I’ll forgive him for not reading the paper first.

But it was Robert Boyd of Toledo whose email made the greatest impression. He reiterated the best medical advice anybody can get: Remember to laugh.

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Here’s a feel-good update about the Texas man who understands a lot more about the father he never knew, a former professional baseball player for the Zanesville Dodgers in 1948.

Toledoan George Eistetter was a 12-year-old batboy for the Dodgers in 1948. My column last July about Mr. Eistetter’s experiences was spotted on the Internet by Billy Stanford in Bridgeport, Texas.

Mr. Stanford had been searching for any information about a player named Richard Meyers after he learned quite recently that Mr. Meyers, who died in 1996, was all but certainly his biological father.

Mr. Eistetter, now 76, filled in a lot of blanks for Mr. Stanford, and a long-distance friendship was struck.

Then, in early December, Mr. Eistetter found a treasure he’d forgotten he had: a baseball autographed by every member of the 1948 Zanesville Dodgers, including the signature of Richard Meyers.

Mr. Eistetter packaged the ball and a 1948 game program — both of which Mr. Meyers had signed — and shipped them off to Texas as a surprise Christmas gift.

It’s hard to imagine anything that could have meant more to Mr. Stanford than a tangible object that bridges the gap between father and son.

“I was just ecstatic,” Mr. Stanford says. “I am so thankful to George for his act of kindness. What an emotional experience to hold in my hands something [my father] held and personally signed.”

Thomas Walton is the retired editor and vice president of The Blade. His column appears every other Monday.

Contact him at: twalton@theblade.com