Warren Spahn and the Exploding Golf Ball that Wasn't.
(From the Kiawah Files)
When I worked at Kiawah in the 80's, I was the meeting conference Service Manager(We sat up meeting and banquet rooms around the resort).
Twice we hosted the Delta Airlines/National Car Rental
Baseball All Star Scramble. Three days of Golf, Adult Beverages with 15 Hall of Fame Baseball Players.
As some of y'all know, I am a HUGE Atlanta Braves fan. I've collected Braves memorabilia since I was 10. From a 1948 World Series program, dozens of signed baseballs to baseball bats autographed by Chipper Jones,Hank Aaron,Dale Murphy,Ralph Garr etc.,each is loved and cherished. Never did I think that I would be lucky enough to meet some of the baseball gods of my childhood.
I was lucky to be at Kiawah when Delta Airlines/National Car rental hosted a Baseball hall of fame Golf Tournament for 2 years.
The second year that they were at Kiawah,
Ava, who was a food & Beverage manager from Catering caught me on my way out of my office and asked if I wanted to help out with the golf tournament.
I had nothing to do and it was a chance to hang around 15 Baseball Hall of Famers. Aaaah hell YES!
She needed help with the golf tournament that was the center of the weekends activities.
On the course,they had set up a closest to the hole on a par 3 of the old Marsh Point Golf Course.
Closest to the hole got $500.00, a Hole in one, won a Car.
Ava asked me to monitor the hole, while she took care of some other business with that nights dinner by the pool.
I was given a bucket of numbered Balls & a clipboard and my "job" was to sign each person up and issue them a numbered golf ball to make their attempt. Just me and 2 guys from the group who were filming the outing for the end of the outing awards banquet video to be shown that night.
One of the exec's. from Delta came up and told me that last year, his boss had switched one of his balls for one of those chalk exploding balls and he had waited a year for to even the score.
He said his boss was expecting revenge and asked me to help by slipping his boss the trick ball when he played through.
He handed me the ball and a piece of paper with his bosses name on it and I put them in my pocket.
So for the next 2 hours, I handed out balls and talked to some of the greatest baseball players ever. Eddie Mathews, Ernie Banks, Warren Spahn, Willie McCovey, Robert Feller etc.
Heaven on a Tee box basically.
Being a HUGE Braves fan, I couldnt resist to add to my collection so during a lull, I looked around and found a new New Golf ball and got BOTH Warren Spahn and Eddie Matthews to sign it when they played through.
With the joy of a 8 year old, I slipped my treasure in my OTHER pocket.
and went back to business of handing out balls and talking baseball to my heroes.... it was a tough life.
Finally thr Target of the prank and the guy who gave me the ball came up to the tee. I reached in my pocket and palmed the ball, ready to make the switch.
Now, I suspect that it must have leaked back to the guys boss that a switch was going to be made or maybe he was just knew the guy that well, because as soon as he teed up the ball I gave him, he turned, aimed and took a 3/4 swing in an effort to not completely break the cover of the chalk ball and drove the ball right at the trickster,(whose face went from confident joy, to confusion, to panic, to immobilizing agony in a mear second) as his mind tried to comprehend what was happening to him when the ball hit him, I kid you not, right in his dangly bits from 15 feet away.
The poor guy screamed and doubled over trying to swallow his love knots back into place.
That's when I noticed the Ball with Spahn and Mathews Signature on the ground of the Tee Box.
I reached in my pocket to find the Exploding Golf Ball, still there..
I quickly retrieved my treasure
And quietly melted away back to my office,(as much as a 6'5" 250lb guy can melt away)as they were all gathered around the Delta Airlines newest executive gelding, who was sobbing in great gulps, on the ground, in a fetal position.
Later that night, I listened in from behind the scenes as the Golf crowd roared with laughter as they watched over and over the video of that poor guy as he "took one for the team"