York Town Square

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Part II: York, Pa.’s, Vic Wertz made baseball history – but there’s a catch

Vic Wertz grew up in York but relatively little is known about his childhood. Readers are helping fill in some blanks. Also of interest: York, Pa.’s, Vic Wertz made baseball history – but there’s a catch, Part I and Polio survivor and York, Pa.’s own Vic Wertz: ‘The man who hit the ball Mays caught’ and Who were most prominent 20th-century sports heroes in York and Adams counties?.

Readers of York Town Square and the York Sunday News are slowing piecing together the story of Vic Wertz.
The Cleveland Indian slugger gained a place on the baseball map by slamming the long fly ball to deep center field in the 1954 World Series that Willie Mays hauled in for “The Catch.”
Vic spent many years of his childhood in York.
His father ran a hardware store in Manchester.
Now comes 84-year-old Howard Rohrbaugh who grew up with Vic Wertz, in West York… .

According to “Hob,” Vic lived on West Market Street directly across from the old West Side Hospital.
Hob and Vic attended Grades 1-6 together at the old William Penn Grade School, now Grace Loucks school, where George Myers was principal.
“The thing I best remember of playing ball with Vic and the other kids was the throw in from outfield to the infield which was twice as far as any other kid could throw,” Hob wrote.
Hob thought they used a mush ball because none of the kids had glove.
The group hung out at the York Fairgrounds.
“I lost track of Vic around 7th or 8th grade and think he moved to Reading,” Hob wrote.
Hob tracked Major Leaguer Vic Wertz via radio and newspaper.
“I saw his famous hit (that Mays ran down) live,” he wrote, “and was not happy about it.”
For more on Vic Wertz’s career stats, click here. (Photo courtesy of baseball-reference.com.)