Russell Gust, 10 years Don's senior, lived his life as if Santistevan had charted it: Went off to college in Ohio and had John Glenn for a classmate. Played minor league ball even though he had mangled his throwing hand in his father's printing press when he was a kid. Earned a handsome living as a chemist in Nevada. And made sure his kid brother had a baseball mitt, so he too could be one of Bailey's boys and play the game that ruled the canyon.
"Russ died in '94," Don said. "Heart just blew out on him." But no sooner had the words left his mouth than Don realized they were an insufficient tribute to a man who lived to be 72 and always abided by the lessons that Santistevan taught him. "I'll tell you something, though," Don added quickly. "He played golf right up to the end on nothing but medication." There it was, proof that Russ had stayed the course that began with the Eskimo Pie League. Only one thing was allowed to stop him.
They still talk about Tommy Pazell as one of Bailey's boys who could have made it, but when he graduated with the class of '37, he looked like a better fit for someone's pocket than for the big leagues. Stood 5'3", weighed 104 pounds, and here was the kicker: He was barely 15. But Santistevan never did the easy thing by writing him off as a shrimp. "He was real fair, just like a coach should be," Pazell says all these years later. "If you tried, you played." And when Pazell played, whether he was lashing a base hit or chasing down a fly ball, he got bigger and bigger, until he simply couldn't be ignored.
The fight to be noticed was force of habit with Tommy by then. He had started kindergarten a year early because he didn't want his four older brothers leaving him at home, and he had skipped the sixth grade because he was as smart as he was small. Never did he let his size beat him. He learned the virtue of resourcefulness from his father, who kept whistles wet in bone-dry Utah by bootlegging wine. "I stomped on so many grapes," Tommy likes to joke, "that they called me Purple Toes Pazell." But every laugh he found in Bingham seemed to be offset by a lesson in life's hard edge. Why, at age five, he saw two men killed because of mindless ethnic hatred.
Suffice it to say, his illusions were few when he became one of Bailey's boys. Maybe that amplified all the good experiences that lay ahead of him. Santistevan told Pazell he would play if he busted his butt, and each held up his part of the bargain. Santistevan also said Pazell might make some extra money playing semipro ball after he graduated, and that proved true as well. Pazell made $6 a day swinging a maul in the copper mine and $6 for every game he was in centerfield for Gemmell Club, the local semipro team. He did that for four years, saving what he didn't hand over to his mother and growing six inches and gaining 46 pounds. He still wasn't a monster, but he was big enough for a Boston Red Sox scout to notice him.
"Kid got any power?" the scout asked Santistevan. As if on cue, Pazell smote a home run. "Yeah, but can he run?" the scout asked. His next time up, Pazell beat out a bunt for a single. And that was how the Red Sox came to sign him, which was more than even Santistevan had ever promised.
Pazell headed for Canton, Ohio, in the Class C Mid-Atlantic League, with the glove he had paid for by shoveling snow, and, as he puts it, "I did good." It's right there in his scrapbook: the .293 batting average, the 17 stolen bases. He went to Double A Scranton near the end of that season and could have stayed on the next. Problem was, it was 1942.
World War II was getting uglier by the minute, and Bailey's boys were tripping over each other in their eagerness to fight the Axis powers. Pazell wasn't about to be left behind. He ended up in Patton's Third Army as a tech sergeant who got a battlefield promotion to second lieutenant. "It wasn't because of bravery," he says. "I just knew what I was doing." His specialty was artillery. So there he was, in France, lobbing howitzer shells at the Germans, when they answered in kind. The shrapnel from the blast knocked Pazell's left knee out from under him and sent his baseball career to an early grave.
He could have had it worse, of course. He could have been one of the 15 sons of Bingham who died in the Good War. He could have been as dead as Ernie Sheen, the good-natured galoot who hit so many homers for Santistevan that the whole town thought he was the next Babe Ruth. But Pazell lived, and so he had to face what he would never be. He would never be a big leaguer.
The bitterness of that disappointment could have eaten at him for the rest of his days. But that wasn't how Bailey's boys were taught to get along. They were taught to pick themselves up and move on as best they could, which is why Pazell would spend 29 years as a teacher and finally vice principal at Bingham High. He wasn't just doing what Santistevan taught him. He was doing what Santistevan did. It was a good life.