Former Major League Baseball player Eli Grba visited the Gloucester home of Doug Williams recently, and took some time to tell the story of how he rose quickly to fame and just as quickly fell into despair.
Williams, a local author, was in the process of gathering information for a book he is writing about the pitcher who threw for the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels from 1959 to 1963.
Growing up on the south side of Chicago, Grba said he and other neighborhood kids would play sandlot ball as a favorite pastime. “We would play and play,” he said, “at least until they whistled for us to come home.”
Eventually, the sandlot games grew on the city’s South Side, and various teams based on ethnic backgrounds were formed.
In the meantime, Grba started playing basketball and thoroughly enjoyed that sport, too. “Basketball was my first love,” he said. “Then baseball just happened.”