Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Invitation to an Interview

I was able to wrangle an invitation from David "Red" Clapp, a minor league catcher who was a teammate of Jim "Schoolboy" Tugerson in 1953. "Red" joined the team late in the season and caught Tugerson and the other pitchers.

According to the Schoolboy book "Red" works at a market* in Corryton, not that far from Knoxville. I asked a friend and coworker who lives right near the market to see if "Red" was still working there. He gets up and cooks breakfast three days a week. She explained to him that I was interested in talking to him about his baseball days and he replied with, "Have him come over to my house" and provided his phone number.

I'm going to give him a call and set up a meeting time, probably on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

Now, I'm trying to figure out what questions to ask him. Sure, the usual, when and where were you born, where did you go to school, how did you get into baseball, etc, etc.

Having read The Glory Of Their Times and A Donald Honig Reader I am more apt to ask some leading questions and then let "Red" talk and see where his memories take him. I'll have a tape recorder available and hope to transcribe the conversation later, with his permission.

But, what I'd like to know from my readers is: What questions should I ask?

* market, in the greater Knoxville area, is a meeting place that sells sausage biscuits, Icees, and seventeen different kinds of chewing tobacco. There is generally a grill of some sort that provides breakfast to the farmers and other locals. Until the no smoking in public areas bill that was recently passed in Tennessee, one would often have to stop, drop and roll to the counter to place an order for a burger and fries. Markets are a congregating place for good ol' boys to sit and chew the fat, play the dollar pull boards (to win a pocketknife or a $20 bill) and talk about hayin', fishin' and local politics. As a Yankee (northerner, not NY baseball team fan), I learned very early, when pulling up to a market, to look at the pavement before stepping out of the car, lest I step in a big wad of chaw. I've learned when to nod politely and keep my mouth shut. I've learned it is better to wear a cap that says "Co-Op" or UT than it is to wear one that says SF Giants. Tennis visors are right out. The strange thing with markets is that their presence (for the most part) excludes the appearance of any 7-11, Circle K or White Hen Pantry. Gas stations such as BP, Weigels or Pilot fill the void for those sort of convenience stores.

1 comment:

  1. "Yankee" is a relative term. My wife is originally from the Ga. side of Chattanooga, but having married me in Southwest Missouri, she's got a "Yankee" husband...... I'm south of the Mason-Dixon line, moreso than Richmond, but I'm a Yankee. Go figure.