The man who posed for me as Grandpa Hall actually played for the Chicago Cubs in the 1940's. His name is Lennie Merullo, and he was the starting shortstop for the Cubs the last time they made it to the World Series, in 1945!
I originally just wanted to interview Mr. Merullo, but once he started talking, I realized he was exactly how I pictured Grandpa Hall- just the right age, and overflowing with amazing stories about his days as a big league ballplayer. So I asked if he'd pose for me, and he did. Mostly he just kept telling stories, and I took pictures.
One of my favorite stories he told was about how he managed to accumulate an incredible collection of three game-used baseball bats that had belonged to Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and Ted Williams!
Here he is, in the fake baseball card store I built in my basement:
After the book was done, I was doing a school visit in Reading, Mass. I didn't know it, but Lennie's grand-daughters were students at the school, and he decided to pay me a surprise visit. And he brought something with him- a bag with three baseball bats in it!
|Lennie Merullo, his family, and me, with Ted Williams's bat and Babe Ruth's bat|
|me with Ted Williams's bat|
|me with Babe Ruth's bat|