This week I had the pleasure of speaking with Val Raymond Heim, 98, who played for the Chicago White Sox in 1942, leaving at the end of the season to serve in the Navy. Heim is a "Upper" who grew up in the upper peninsula of Michigan. Today, he lives with his wife of nearly 73 years in Superior, Nebraska. Of all the memories we discussed, his friendship with Johnny Mostil, passing Al Capone's mansion in Miami on the way to games, this story about trains and straw hats was the best:
As a 15-year old, Heim and a friend who played first base took the early morning train to Chicago to see the Cubs. “Imagine this today, we had enough money to watch the game, eat dinner, tour the city and to get back home, hundreds of miles later, that night. People dressed up for games, especially around Labor Day. What I remember most are the straw hats. When players hit a home run, fans took their hats off and sent them sailing out onto the field.