PGA 2016_Golf & Baseball.qxp_Layout 1 5/25/16 2:58 PM Page 74
LIVE WITHOUT REG RET. SURROUND YOURS SELF WITH LAUGHTER R. ENJOY YOUR STE AK ON A 500º SIZZLING PLA TE.
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N North Palm Beach 561.863.0 0660 • 661 US Highway 1
PGA NATIONAL RESORT & SPA
by playing on them. The marriage between baseball and golf has survived more than a century, getting its start long before the opening of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939. Just a year before the museum’s debut, the George Wright Golf Course opened in Boston. By then, Albert Spalding’s sporting goods firm had added golf equipment to its early baseball line. Other Hall of Famers who enjoyed the game, with varying success, were Ernie Banks, Johnny Bench, George Brett, Bobby Cox, Dizzy Dean, Dennis Eckersley, Joe DiMaggio, Rollie Fingers, Whitey Ford, Lou Gehrig, Tony Gwynn, Walter Johnson, Connie Mack, Mickey Mantle, Christy Mathewson, Willie Mays, John McGraw, Joe Morgan, Phil Niekro, Jim Palmer, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Mike Schmidt, Ozzie Smith, Tris Speaker, and Dave Winfield, who was drafted by teams in three sports but still tried a fourth. Even Bill Klem, the most famous umpire of World War I vintage, found time to play. Golf was so popular with baseball people that the Chicago Cubs once hired 1916 U.S. Open winner Chick Evans as a spring training batting instructor. The team’s owner, Charles Weeghman, predicted that Evans would improve the batting performance of every player on his team. He didn’t but the idea was certainly a novelty other teams took seriously. Connie Mack, owner and manager of the Philadelphia Athletics for 50 years, also viewed golf as good exercise for his ballplayers. Rather than risk injury by asking his star pitchers to throw too early, he had them play golf – often 18 holes per day but sometimes 36. As a result, fu-