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Pollier shares experience as professional baseball player with Rotarians

By Staff | Nov 2, 2010

The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club welcomed three new members this past week, James Cardle – Patent Attorney; Janet Stickland – Real Estate Attorney; and John Harries – MD/Surgeon. All of our present committee chairs might take note of this impressive trio (two lawyers and a doctor) and recruit them for our club’s current and long-term projects.

Since we are on the subject of Rotary membership, anyone interested in finding out more about Rotary International and our local and global projects should drop by our information table at “Celebrate Sanibel.” The keynote event this year is the Annual Island Club/Organization presentation to the public on Sunday, Nov. 7 from noon to 3 p.m. With special guest speaker Charles LeBuff discussing “My Life on Sanybel” from 1 to 2 p.m. Free sandwiches and iced tea will be available after the talk. This takes place at the historic Sanibel Community Center, located at 2173 Periwinkle Way. To date, 16 clubs and organizations have signed on, and more are expected to follow.

Before getting to our guest speaker last week, just a few notes from club members:

John Grey, who has been following up the club’s involvement with TEDDY MAKES IT “BEAR” ABLE with the Pensacola West Rotary Club, informed club members that the teddy bears have been ordered but delivery date has not been confirmed.

Some information about this special Rotary project: TEDDY MAKES IT “BEAR” ABLE. How many times have you seen in person or on television news, children that have just been involved in an accident or incident that has potential psychological repercussions? How many times have you wondered about the impact upon those children? Many organizations have begun “arming police officers and firefighters with stuffed animals to give to children in times of distress.

Teddy bears are distributed to first responders (local police, firefighters and sheriff’s deputies) to keep in their vehicles. These bears will be given to comfort children that may have been traumatized. Distribution points will be announced later.

Also, Tony Gropp announced that we have received two hundred thirty request from artists and craftsmen, from all over the country, for entry into this year’s Juried Rotary Arts and Crafts Fair. The judging committee will now review all material and make their selections for the upcoming Fair on Valentine Weekend 2011 at the Sanibel Community Center.

Now on to our speaker last week, let’s play ball! How many of us get to live out our childhood dreams? I doubt many of us do without modifying that dream just a little or maybe a great deal. Well in the case of Fred Pollier he dreamt about becoming a professional athlete and this athletic young man from Norwin, Pa. got to “live that dream,” at least for three fantastic years. Fred credits his success in baseball to growing up in a supportive community, having interested and vested coaches, a strong faith, and no doubt… although he didn’t mention it, probably more than a wee bit of athletic talent. He must have shown that talent early on, possibly as early as nine years old, playing with his Little League Baseball Team.

Pollier remembers, like many young sports teams in the 1950s, that his Little League team was sponsored by a local service club and the team coaches were service club members. Fred learned from these men, about baseball and the essential character building skills. He lived in a small community of 5,000 people then, but Fred said, “there was a lot of interest in its young people.

From Little League to the Big Leagues. Curious about who Fred played for? Well, you’ll learn soon enough.

Straight through grammar school to high school, this young man was an athletic standout. When it came to college, Fred knew he wanted to play college baseball. So his selection came from knowing, go south young man, go south; Fred could play a longer baseball season if he went to college in the South. So Duke University was his choice and during one of those summers at college he was asked to join the The Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL), a premiere collegiate summer baseball league located on Cape Cod, MA. Many Major League Baseball players started there during their college years… and so it was with Fred Pollier.

After graduating from Duke University, Fred was drafted by the New York Yankees and got to play for the Yankees minor league team in Lake Wales, Fla. for three years as their pitcher, wearing Whitey Ford’s 1960 World Series uniform. Back in the late 1960s, there were no free agent clauses — you were a Yankee forever. However, no matter how good you were, if the Major League team didn’t need you to move up, you stayed in the minors. You were paid $600 a month and a per diem for your food during the season, May 1 to Aug. 30. The team traveled by bus and many nights they slept on the bus to save money.

“It didn’t matter how much we were paid,” he said. “I would have played for nothing.”

Fred Pollier played from 1963 to 1966 and left the Yankee organization, when he realized he he was not moving up anytime soon. He left the Yankees and eventually went to work for Westinghouse and a highly success career.

The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary meets at 7 a.m. every Friday morning at the Blue Giraffe, located in the Periwinkle Place Shopping Center on Sanibel. If you would like to find out more about Rotary, why not come to one of our meetings. See you there!