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Viva the Admiral, Fan�tico Grande!
Gerald Holland
September 07, 1959
With the help of San Juan's lady mayor, the commander of the Caribbean Sea Frontier brings baseball to small fry of Puerto Rico, roots them on to the Latin-American title
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September 07, 1959

Viva The Admiral, Fan�tico Grande!

With the help of San Juan's lady mayor, the commander of the Caribbean Sea Frontier brings baseball to small fry of Puerto Rico, roots them on to the Latin-American title

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Admiral Gallery finds support for the Little League idea in stranger places than Aguadilla. He has a correspondent, whom he has never met, named Morgan. Morgan writes from various parts of the world to challenge certain published views of the admiral and opens his letters with such remarks as, "You, sir, are a liar and a fraud." Recently Morgan read of Gallery's Little League activities, wrote a hearty endorsement and enclosed a check for $50. "I am forced to make out this check to you personally, sir," he said, "because I do not know where else to send it. However, I am sure that the chances are 3-to-1 that you will put it in your own pocket." Admiral Gallery promptly replied that the odds were worse than that, at least 10-to-1, "but [he wrote] you have brought in a long shot. I am turning the check over to the Little League."

In this letter to the mysterious Morgan, Admiral Gallery wrote a concluding paragraph: "There was once a pirate named Morgan who operated in the waters presently under my command. He left a great many descendants, and I am convinced that you, sir, are one of them."

In a postscript Gallery added: "Morgan the pirate never married."

With even Morgan getting into the baseball act, Admiral Gallery is rarely out of touch with the fortunes of his Little Leagues or of his beloved White Sox. On the evening that the Venezuelan team arrived at San Juan's airport the admiral was on hand early to greet the visitors. While he waited, with members of the championship Caparra team, an aide would present himself from time to time, salute smartly and deliver, in a low voice, what would appear to be a message of a classified nature. However, it turned out, he was communicating the score by innings of a double-header the Sox happened to be playing. A San Juan newspaper once named Gallery El Fan�tico del A�o (The Fan of the Year).

The Latin American championship, Gallery was distressed to learn shortly after the Venezuela team arrived, was to be decided by a single, "sudden death" game. He considered this to be an unfair test of the teams and especially hard on the visitors who had traveled so far. He put in a telephone call to Little League headquarters at Williamsport and argued vigorously for a two-out-of-three series. But headquarters would not budge an inch.

All that had been forgotten when the day of the big game for the Latin American title arrived. A crowd of 5,000 (larger than the average at the San Juan professional games) turned out, a band played and the first ball was pitched by Do�a Felisa to Admiral Gallery who—the starch crackling in his white uniform—had to leap high in the air to get it. His agility made it difficult to believe that this was the onetime third baseman who couldn't make the team at St. Ignatius High in Chicago or at the Naval Academy at Annapolis.

Admiral Gallery was shamelessly partisan throughout the game, which turned into an extra-inning thriller, with a long triple by Angel Davila Jr., son of the manager, setting the stage for Puerto Rico's winning run in the last of the seventh. As the crowd swarmed over the field Do�a Felisa made a pretty speech in Spanish, a man grabbed the microphone and led vivas "for Almirante Gollaree." The admiral, responding, said, "Next stop is Williamsport, where we play for the world championship."

Alas, Puerto Rico's hour of glory was soon behind it. A fast-balling right-hander of the Hamtramck, Mich, team struck out 17 of them at Williamsport, came within one out of a no-hitter to win 5-0.

In commenting on this defeat of his Puerto Rican Little Leaguers, Admiral Gallery (who had flown up to see the game) took refuge in the philosophy that has never failed to sustain him through 40 years of unswerving devotion to the Chicago White Sox. "You can't," he said, "win 'em all."

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