Random Baseball Story of the Week

From Tim Brown’s Five and Fly blog today

Every young ballplayer has aspirations for something bigger and brighter. For San Francisco Giants coach Tim Flannery, that something was a big, bright steel protective cup.

Flannery’s uncle is Hal Smith, who caught 10 seasons in the major leagues, including in 1960 for the World Series champion Pittsburgh Pirates. Smith that season occasionally caught Vern Law. In 1976 Flannery befriended Vance Law, Vern’s son, while playing semi-pro ball in Liberal, Kan.

So, with that connection, Flannery mused to Vance one day that he would love to dump his plastic cup for one of those old-time steel ones.

One day that summer, Vern went to Liberal to watch Vance play, and presented his personal steel cup – the one he wore while winning 162 games over 18 seasons – to Flannery.

“There was no ceremony,” Flannery said. “It was in a bag. He said, ‘Here.’ ”

And that is the story of how Tim Flannery came to wear Vern Law’s cup for the past 31 years, including today, as third-base coach of the Giants.

It is a special cup, with an uncertain destination.

“I’m going to pass it down,” Flannery said, “to somebody who wants to protect themselves.”

I think the Hal Smith mentioned in the story is the same guy who owned the K-Bob’s (I think it was a K-Bob’s) by our house in Houston when we were growing up.


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