Rettenmund's loyalties go beyond the Orioles. After the World Series last year he and Susan drove directly to Ball State for the school's homecoming game, and it surprised no one that he found time for a kind and generous act there.
"When he arrived," Coach Louthen recalls, "I asked him if he'd take time to see an oldtime catcher who couldn't make it to the game because of a bad heart. Bob Barnet, the sports editor of The Muncie Star, had asked me to ask Mervin if he'd visit the man, Bucky Crouse, who used to catch for the White Sox. Mervin said sure. As soon as the game was over, we got a campus police car to take Mervin to Bucky's house, and he spent an hour there reminiscing with Bucky. Mervin had a million people to see and a million places to go, but he took time to see one old man. It was great."
Great, of course, for the man's capacity for homely virtue seems infinite. He is too good to be true. Furthermore, as all good guys are supposed to and seldom do, he comes through.
Weaver benched Rettenmund for two games last week because he had been in what for him was a slump. That is to say, he was not getting his two hits every day. Rettenmund, naturally, agreed with his manager that he should sit down until the slump was exorcised.
He was reinstated in the starting lineup in time for a doubleheader with Cleveland. And in those two games Merv Rettenmund got six hits, three of them doubles. He scored two runs and batted in five and raised his average to .319.
That was the day Baltimore clinched the championship of the American League's Eastern Division.
"...defiant, as if aware that this year the hopes of the college rested on him...."
*THIS SIDE OF PARADISE