I had an opportunity to speak with Bob Miller, one of two surviving members of the "Whiz Kids," the rookie Phillies team that unexpectedly made it to the 1950 World Series against the Yankees. Bob’s father was a policeman in Detroit who never drew a gun in 25 years. “People never had fear when I grew up. We never locked our doors – no one did – we could go for a walk on a nice spring night. Today, times are different,” he said.
In the Fall of 1944, the Whiz Kid was drafted into the Army. His first stop was the infantry in Hollandia, New Guinea. At age 18, Bob was sent to Manilla to prepare for the invasion of Japan. After the atomic bomb was dropped, the pitcher came home with an appreciation for life and a respect for God and Country that defined him. After his retirement from pro ball, the Whiz Kid became the winningest coach at the University of Detroit with 900 wins, and his image is enshrined at the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame and a few other halls of glory. Reflecting on the old days, when teammates played Pinochle on trains, and barely had two nickels to run together, sometimes Bob wishes he could go back in time. "Love and respect can do a lot for a country," he said, "That's what matters."