I noticed this 50th Wedding Anniversary announcement in the Pittston Dispatch today. Why? Here’s a snip:
George “Nipper” and Judith Nowakowski, Duryea, recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They were married January 23, 1960 in Holy Rosary Church, Duryea by the late Rev. John Galenas and the late Rev. Leo Kosloski.
Mr. Nowakowski is the son of the late Stanley and Josephine Nowakowski, Pittston. He attended Pittston schools. Prior to retirement he was a United States Marine, a pitcher for the New York Yankees, an adjunct professor for Lackawanna Junior College and a Pennsylvania State Trooper.
First, and foremost, my congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Nowakowski. A half-century of marriage is a huge deal. My parents had their 50th in 2007. It’s a special time. And, to be candid, I wonder if I’ll ever make it. I was 29-years old when I got married. Hopefully, I’ll still be alive when I’m 79 – but, I don’t think anyone can count on that…when it’s 32 years away.
But, the mention of being “a pitcher for the New York Yankees” is why I’m writing about this notice. Indeed, Mr. Nowakowski pitched for the Yankees organization from 1958 through 1960. However, the highest he ever got in the system was a few cups of coffee in “Class C” ball.
For those not aware, back in those days, the minor league ladder worked like this: AAA, AA, A, B, C, D, and short-season D. So, anyone playing below “Class C” was really at the bottom of the chain.
Don’t get me wrong, being a professional baseball player, at any level, for any period of time, is a tremendous feat – and one that commands my respect. But, I’m not sure that it’s correct to claim that you were a “player for the [insert major league team]” if you never really wore the uniform of that team…is it?
I understand that these types of announcements sometimes take license to bump up some facts. And, I’m not saying that Mr. Nowakowski did something criminal here. Further, he’s not the first, only, or last person to make a claim like this one.
It’s just one of those things that somewhat ruffles the feathers of this baseball fan – when someone shares, even just in passing, that they “played” for a major league team when, in fact, they were extremely far from ever wearing a big league uniform (even if they were much, much, closer than someone who never played organized hardball beyond the age of eighteen). How about you?