June 16, 2010

Tribute to Charles

The freeway series between the Angels and the Dodgers is always much anticipated and comes with huge expectations; however the meaning of those games is entirely different for Cheryl and me.

You see in 2007 while the Angels were sweeping the Dodgers at Angels Stadium I lost my father to lung cancer. This past weekend as the Angels were sweeping the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, my wife Cheryl lost her dad (Charles) to cancer.

What a strange coincidence. Not only did we lose both men the during freeway series; we lost them while our Angels swept. We don’t know what to make of that, if anything – but the oddness of it all sticks with us some how.

At a time when we should be feeling joy and elation, we feel numb and immense sorrow. Every time these two teams meet – we will always associate the games with tremendous sadness and loss. We suppose that both men must be smiling at the results of those games and on some level those games are somewhat of a welcomed diversion from life, but it’s still just strange.

Baseball isn’t life and death and yet we can’t help but associate one with the other.

What can I say? Charles has only been gone a few days, but we miss him more than words can say. What can you say about a man who meant everything to his family? He was a great provider, a handy-man, extremely smart, organized, and had a quiet strength about him. He loved puzzles, boysenberry pie and most of all his family.

Charles’ story is one for the ages. He and his wife Mil have been married for 64 years (one month shy of 65 years). That, in and of itself is amazing. Charles was no ordinary man, he was truly exceptional. These days people throw superlatives around all too easily – especially in baseball and sports in general. One game and some players become over night legends, but all of them pale in comparison to a man like Charles.

If Charles was a baseball player, he’d possess the qualities of all the greats in the game. He was as dependable as someone like Cal Ripken because he was there every day to do whatever needed to be done for his family. He never took a day off from being a dad and a husband.

In many ways Charles was like Willie Mays in that he could do it all. You name it, Charles could do it.

I will miss many things about Charles. I will miss the way he could say something just with a look. He was a man of few words, but his eyes and his smile spoke volumes all the time. He didn’t want for anything and never wanted to be the center of attention. Charles was all about giving. He gave his time, his knowledge and his love. He devoted himself to his family every single day. If there was a Hall of Fame for fathers and dads – Charles would be a first ballot Hall of Famer for sure. He is probably the greatest man you’ve never head of; not because he did extraordinary things, but because he did the things he was supposed to do; the things everyone is supposed to do.

He was honest, selfless, humble, and devoted. He was the ultimate role model and it’s a shame more people didn’t know him. Perhaps more people will know about him now by simply reading this blog. I know one thing for sure, I'm thankful to have known Charles and to be a part of his family.

God bless you Charles. All who knew you will miss you.

BallHype: hype it up!


  1. What a wonderful tribute, James. Charles sounds like he was a treasure. Our best to you and Cheryl.


  2. Gloria A.June 16, 2010

    James and Cheryl, This is a beautiful tribute to Charles. I love the pictures and your blogs. We will continually pray for you all during this tough time.

  3. I'm very sorry to hear about your loss. You and Cheryl both remain in my thoughts.

  4. I want to thank everyone for their prayers, thoughts and well wishes. It has been a blessing to the entire family. Thank you so much.

  5. What a wonderful tribute! What a wonderful man! I'm so sorry to hear of your loss and will keep both Cheryl and you in my prayers during this time of sorrow. P.S. We don't attend a lot of Dodgers games, however, my mom, sister, 2 nephews and husband attended the Sunday game. The Giants fans among us were very happy with the outcome.
    Suzanne Szalay

  6. Dear James: As you know, I think that there's a lot of life and death in baseball ... somehow they are mysteriously and poetically intertwined.

    What a beautiful tribute to Charles. It made me smile and think of the everyday people who inspire us to be our very best at all the things we're simply supposed to do in life.

    best always, Elizabeth Crabtree