Big league baseball fans from everywhere remember Gene Crumling
Wrightsville’s Gene Crumling only had a cup of coffee in the major leagues, but fans from all over still remember the former catcher. Background posts: Before the York Revs came the Hanover Raiders, York County sports a miniature Cooperstown and Old York lefty remembered young Brooks Robinson .
Former major leaguer Gene Crumling has regained the limelight twice since September.
The 86-year-old normally lives in obscurity around York County.
He threw out the first pitch in the York Revolution’s first playoff game in September – representing the county as the oldest living former major leaguer.
Then the Wrightsville High School grad made the York Daily Record/Sunday News’ front page in a profile to preview Eastern York High School’s greatest athletes, part of a 22-part newspaper series on York County’s prep performers.
Crumling had 12 at-bats catching for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1945… .
His sole hit came against Hall-of-Fame slugger Jimmie Foxx, then a fill-in a reliever for the Philadelphia Phillies.
“He hadn’t pitched much, but he was doing well,” Crumling to the York Daily Record/Sunday News in September. “It was a thrill to get a hit off him.”
Here’s how Frank Bodani, who wrote the Greatest Athletes series, started his piece (10/5/08) on Crumling:
One decade slides into another, and yet the letters keep finding their way to the oldest Major League Baseball veteran in York and Adams counties.
Often, they’ll end up on the kitchen table in the Yorkana trailer that belongs to Gene Crumling.
They come from all over the country, looking to pick the brain of the man who hasn’t played professional baseball in more than 60 years.
Where did he play? Who did he know? What was the game like back then?
Almost always they want Crumling, now 86, to send them an autograph.
Sometimes, two or three in a week will greet him at his door.
Like the one back in the summer from a woman in Columbus, Ohio, where Crumling caught in the minors. She has an old team picture and wanted him to sign it.
But his autograph? The guy with only one hit? He smiles at the thought. He knows he is just a small piece of the puzzle that memorabilia hounds seek to complete, just a name more than anything. A forgotten link to the days when the game was different… .