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"Hi, Al," he said as Ed Lopat came along. Lopat, who is spending his autumn years of baseball as a minor league manager in the Yankee farm system, merely glanced at him. The old man caught himself, embarrassed. "Not Al. That was Ed Lopat." Chagrined, he added, "Gee, I called him Al." The friend nodded.
End of a career
Like nearly every baseball player in existence, Bill Sarni looked forward to spring training. He was only 29 years old, yet had been going to spring training camps since he was 16. This year, though, he was counted on to be the No. 1 catcher for the New York Giants. Bill left his new home in St. Louis 10 days early and along with 15 other Giant players got in some valuable conditioning at Buckhorn Spa in Arizona.
When everyone reported to Municipal Field in Phoenix for the first official Giant workout last week, Sarni had to rest after 45 minutes.
"I feel as if I have something caught in my chest," he told Trainer Frank Bowman.
At the hospital later, a doctor told Bill Sarni: "Bill, that was a heart attack." He paused. "There are three types, Bill—mild, moderate and severe. Yours was a moderate one, something like President Eisenhower's. What it all means is that you're going to have to live a moderate life from here on in."
Sarni said quietly: "What will be, will be." The Giants, as stunned as Bill Sarni, told him to get well. No catching now but, if all goes well, a job as a Giant coach.