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THE PEACH BRANDY MAN
Phillip Timothy Gay
August 13, 1979
An unforgettable saga about a 75-year-old baseball fan, a star Dodger pitcher, Imperial Wizards and the goodness in man that all the world's bias and indifference cannot extinguish
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August 13, 1979

The Peach Brandy Man

An unforgettable saga about a 75-year-old baseball fan, a star Dodger pitcher, Imperial Wizards and the goodness in man that all the world's bias and indifference cannot extinguish

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"I didn't know who you were," Don confessed. As he took his golf clubs out of the trunk, my uncle stepped back in admiration. "This is a mighty fine automobile, Mr. Sutton!"

Don gave me a blushing, apologetic look. "Phil, I don't know what to do with him. I tried to tell him my father is Mr. Sutton and I'm Don. I think he does that to embarrass me."

I shrugged. It wasn't really a big thing.

"I call everyone Mister I thinks highly of," my uncle asserted. "And I thinks very highly of you, Mr. Sutton."

"You can't tell him anything, Don," I joked. "He's going to do what he wants."

"When you fellows get to be my age you can do like you want, too," my uncle said.

They walked to the front door, their arms around each other. I offered to carry Don's golf clubs, but he wouldn't let me. Before going into the house, I removed the letter that we had left in the mailbox.

Don Sutton's living room is very spacious and elegantly furnished in deep, rich, solid colors. The furnishings are comfortable and well spaced. Gold and silver trophies and awards going back to his Little League days are encased in a custom-made, oak wall cabinet that also holds a picture of a hatless, straight-haired Don in uniform—taken during his "pre-permanent days," he said when questioned by my uncle. Around the bar area are baseballs commemorating milestone strikeouts, shutouts, no-hitters and the like. There were no signs of alcohol at the bar.

My uncle and Don sat on the sofa. I sat in an armchair facing them. Don was an excellent host. He talked. He listened. He seemed content with himself, interested in others. I had a Coke. My uncle asked for a glass of ice water. The conversation was polite and easy—nothing much to say, really. Everyone was just happy that what was taking place was taking place. My uncle sat comfortably with his legs crossed, his arm resting on the back of the sofa; a wise, venerable old man with a twinkle in his eye, attended by two respectful young men who appreciated him.

My uncle told Don of the frustrations he had encountered in Los Angeles. Don listened sadly, apologetically. "Mr. Johnson, if I had only known, if I had only known." Of the World Series, he said he thought the Dodgers had played good ball. They were beaten. They had nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing you could do when someone like Reggie Jackson gets hot. It had been a good Series. Good for the fans, the players. Good for baseball, good for the country. East against West. The two biggest media markets against each other.

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