52 Documents in 52 Weeks #51 – William Strait’s Baseball Career

Person of Interest: William Charles Strait
Relationship: Father


Source Citation: Newton Bisons baseball team, ca. 1955; digital image 2016, privately held by William Strait, Lafayette, New Jersey, 2017. William sent this to his daughter Jodi Lynn in August of 2016. The original is in good condition and is an 8 x 10 inch black-and-white photo with a thin border.


Document Description: This photo of the Newton, New Jersey, Bisons baseball team is a digital copy. The original is an 8 x 10 inch black-and-white photo. Digital copy is clear and shows the photo was not cropped. Fifteen young men are pictured along with their baseball equipment. They are all wearing uniforms and caps. A baseball backstop can be seen on the left side of the photo.


screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-11-27-16-amDocument Scan/Transcription:
The only lettering on this photo refers to the name of the baseball team on the front of the uniforms: Bisons.


Analysis: Dad’s birthday is close to this posting date so I thought I’d make this week’s post about him! And it’s a short one since this is right smack in the middle of the holiday season.

Photographs are a great jumping off point for asking questions while talking to (or interviewing) family members. In this case, my father sent me the photo which prompted a brief discussion about his short-lived baseball career.

According to Dad, there were four teams that played against each other during the summer break.  The teams played at the Memory Park ballfields in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey, located on Straway Boulevard. The same ballfields are still in use today and the community swimming pool is located in the same park.

Dad played the outfield and alternated between center, right and left outfield. He played for two summers. There were two local leagues, the Babe Ruth League and the Little League. If you were good enough, you were moved up and got to play in the American Legion League.

Dad gave me the names of the boys in the photo as he remembers them.
Back row, left to right: ——- Philhower, Bob Greene, William Strait (Dad), Bill Rabbs, ——-, Dick Bunker, Jimmy Treelore, Tommy Salsa.
Front row, left to right: Dave Yetter, Wayne Savacool, ——- Scott, ——-, Larry Tallman, Tommy Remark, Donnie Smith.

CONCLUSION

Photos can get discussions started about your family members and their activities. Ask about the items found in the photo like props, clothing, alien spacecraft, buildings, signs, cars, other people, hairstyles, and objects. Ask some questions and then be quiet! Listen to what they’re saying. Also, don’t be too rigid in what you’re looking to get them to say. Sometimes letting the conversation and questions run their own course can yield some of the best information. You might learn something new!

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