If you're a baseball fan, you probably watched the Major League Baseball All-Star game Tuesday night.
Hardly a slugfest -- American League, 3, National League, 0.
What you probably didn't know is a former York countian was involved in the All-Star game festivities.
To be honest, I wouldn't have known, either, if I hadn't been given a heads-up by former 19th District U.S. Congressman William F. Goodling Tuesday afternoon.
So you might not have been aware that T-Mobile sponsored an "All-Star FanFest," starting Friday, July 12, and ending Tuesday, July 16, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, as part of the All-Star Game celebration. It was considered a five-day "launch" or a lead-in to the MLB All-Star game.
The FanFest, for those of us who have never heard of it, is a place where baseball fans can go to rub elbows and shoulders with "real" baseball players.
By "real" I mean Hall-of-Famers, legends of the game, fan favorites, former Negro League players and former New York Mets' players from the 1969 and 1986 World Series championship teams.
One of those "legends" was a former York County man, a fellow by the name of Dale Miller, a graduate of Kennard-Dale High School in 1955, and a four-sport athlete of some renown.
And no, I never heard of him, either.
Nevertheless, he appeared at FanFest on Friday, July 12, as part of a panel that included John Franco, Rollie Fingers, Dwight Gooden, Ed Kranepool and Art Shamsky.
Miller, along with Jim Robinson, Bob Scott and Pedro Sierra, represented Negro League Baseball at the event.
Since 1955 was slightly before my time, I have to take Goodling's word for it that Miller was one of the best athletes ever seen in these parts. He played baseball, football, basketball and track while a student at Kennard-Dale. And he was top-notch in all four, according to Goodling.
His best sport, however, was baseball.
He was good enough at it, in fact, that he played several years in the Negro American Baseball League, barnstorming the country with four different teams, mostly as a shortstop and an outfielder.
Today, Miller is 76 years old, so he hasn't played the game in a long time. But he still works as a field services representative with the New York State Insurance Fund, and remembers well his years playing professional baseball.
He doesn't brag about it, but if prodded he'll tell you he played for the Kansas City Monarchs -- "Hey, I played for the same team as Jackie (Robinson)," he said in one published report.
In 1957, Miller played the outfield for the Detroit Stars, according to an Internet article about the last years of Negro League baseball.
But he also played for the New York Black Yankees and the Indianapolis Clowns, earning about $125 a month in the mid-1950s.
For his part, Goodling was a young teacher and guidance counselor at Kennard-Dale in the mid-1950s, and he coached basketball.
So he came to know Miller very well, beginning with his participation on the K-D junior high basketball team.
"I always played all sports," Miller said in a published report. "I was a little guy. I could run faster, jump higher and throw harder than most guys."
Goodling confirmed that was true.
Miller's dream, of course, was to play professional baseball. He managed to do that with the Negro League, but never got to play in the Major Leagues. Timing (integration of black players into the game) and circumstances (the breakup of his parents' marriage resulted in his moving to his grandparents' rural home in Bridgeton, Pa., and living there through his completion of high school).
OK, I'd never heard of Bridgeton, either, despite having lived in York County my entire life. But the map shows it clearly, a small village a few miles north of Woodbine, in Fawn Township.
Out of sight, out of mind, I guess, for the Major League scouts back in the day.
But he clearly made a name for himself at Kennard-Dale. The school yearbook for 1955, showed Miller in his baseball uniform. And he seemed to be a popular student, as well, since he was voted the Homecoming King that year.
Following graduation, he enrolled at a baseball school in Cocoa Beach, Fla., hoping to attract the attention of big league scouts. It was not to be, however. The color of his skin and his size (5-feet, 8-inches and 150 pounds) might have worked against him in the mid-1950s, given that Jackie Robinson had only broken the color barrier in 1947.
It is worthy of mention, however, that there are plenty of people -- and I am one -- who believe player-for-player the Negro Leagues were equal to the Major Leagues in talent and skill in those days. They might even have been better.
Compare Negro League rosters from 1930 through 1961 against Major League rosters of that era, and you might reach the same conclusion.
It is safe to say, then, that Miller could easily have had the skills necessary to play Major League baseball. If only ...
And those skills were honed right here on the playing fields of York County.
Sports columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run Thurs days. E-mail: lhick firstname.lastname@example.org.