Mingling With Baseball Legends


October 29, 2006|By SLOANE BROWN

It was a grand slam get-together at Morgan State University's Murphy Fine Arts Center, as the Babe Ruth Museum presented "A Legendary Evening -- Reunion of the 1966 World Champion Baltimore Orioles." Several hundred fans noshed on gourmet sandwiches, pizza, pasta and fancy chips and dips. But food wasn't the big attraction. It was the chance to meet and mingle with almost 20 former Orioles. Not just any O's, but members of the '66 team that won the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in four games -- the last three as shutouts.

And, it seemed almost everybody at the party had a story to tell.

"I was 14 at the time, and had tickets to the fifth game. But they won in four," said Baltimore orthopedic surgeon Dr. Gary Pushkin, who pointed out that it was his 12-year-old son, Jeremy, who had provided the impetus for coming to the party.

"I've heard a lot about the team, and these are some of the best baseball players who every played," Jeremy Pushkin said as he gazed at Tom Phoebus, Boog Powell and Jim Palmer.

FOR THE RECORD - The party story in the Modern Life section Sunday incorrectly described Wally Bunker's role in the 1966 World Series. He was the winning pitcher in Game 3. Dave McNally was the series-winning pitcher in Game 4.
The Sun regrets the error.

"I was at Game 3. Wally Bunker was pitching," recalled attorney Tom Gisriel.

"We were both there," added John Broderick, a fellow partner at Hodes, Ulman, Pessin & Katz. "I was 3 or 4. This is my generation. ... I just smile seeing them."

"I remember when my son was 7 or 8 and taking him to the old Memorial Stadium to see Brooks [Robinson] and Frank [Robinson] playing. He's now 44," said retired accountant Bob Stout, who had come to the party with his wife Betty.

Ten-year-old Isabella Wolf's date was her dad, M&T Bank portfolio manager David Wolf. "I really like baseball and my dad had an extra ticket," she explained.

It was also old home week for many of the former Orioles.

"I haven't been back in 20-some years," said the series-winning pitcher Wally Bunker, who now lives in Ohio. "It's nice to see how everybody's doing. ... My grandkids think it's the coolest."

Perhaps the evening was best summed up by Loyola College groundskeeper Til Strudwick, who came to the event fully decked out in Orioles regalia, hat and shirt covered in a myriad of O's patches.

Strudwick stuck out his hand to shake that of former Bird Paul Blair as he walked by.

"Hey, Paul," he said, "Thanks for the memories."



Canton resident is a doctor, a dreamer and a doer

Neurologist and research scientist Dr. John McDonald, 43, is considered one of the world's top spinal cord researchers. As director of the Spinal Cord Injury Program at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, he helped actor Christopher Reeve recover some movement and sensation after his 1995 spinal cord injury. In 2004, McDonald moved to Baltimore to join Kennedy Krieger Institute and to establish an "activity-based restoration" program to help other patients with spinal cord injuries and paralysis. He lives in Canton with his fiancee, neurologist Dr. Cristina Sadowsky, and two pugs, Moet and Chandon, named for his other favorite drink.

Have you always been very driven?

Yeah, you pretty much need that. I was going to be a classic neurologist and study stroke, but then my involvement with Chris [Reeve] really shifted me to spinal cord injury. I take advantage of serendipity.

Do you do so in all areas of your life?

Yeah. I think things cross our paths and many of those contain gold. And if you don't take advantage of those paths, you don't reap the benefits.

What other interests do you have?

I really love sports, the water, boating, fishing, sailing. ... I work hard. I play hard. I've always been like that. ... Boating is a whole new social scene. That's been such a blast. And that's so important.

In St. Louis, I worked seven days a week, 14 hours a day. Nonstop. We were making so much progress that I couldn't miss half a day. ... I was married once. She was a wonderful woman, but my work was clearly No. 1. I feel badly for her now. So, a big thing about moving out here was changing that. ... I love Baltimore. It's a big city with a small-town feel. And people [here] are remarkably nice, like in the Midwest.

You spend a lot of time traveling and speaking about your experiences and research.

I traveled about 200 days a year, from 2002 to 2004. Now, I travel about half of that. ... You know, early on I was extremely shy. It was unbelievable. Pretty much up until college. But, now the things I was the most shy about, I think I enjoy the most. I love experiencing new things and the easiest way to do that is through meeting people. ... The move [to Baltimore] -- the uprooting -- forces you to do that.

Do you ever have some time where you haven't got anything planned?

Oh yeah, now I purposefully will not plan things on some weekends, ... so I can enjoy some of the hobbies I grew up with. Collecting coins -- U.S., and now international. Whenever I travel, I always make sure to pick up some coins. The other thing I collect is medical antiquities. I'm really a packrat.

Does that drive Cristina nuts?

Oh yeah. It drives people at work nuts.

What would be your ideal stay-at-home day?

Getting out on the water. I could be out there all day, stopping places ... and that just started this year because I just got a boat.

But, that's not lazy. That's doing something. Are you always on the go?

I've got to constantly be doing something. My lazy day is doing something. Although now I can lay down and watch multiple movies. ... I love old movies. I love to see how some of the stars age. ... I was a passionate movie fan long before I knew Christopher Reeve. His movie, Somewhere In Time, would epitomize me. The passionate dreamer.

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