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Ed Lucas, Blind Baseball Chronicler, Is Dead at 82

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The New York Giants had simply gained the 1951 pennant on Bobby Thomson’s walk-off dwelling run towards the Brooklyn Dodgers at the Polo Grounds when 12-year-old Ed Lucas raced out of his Jersey City condo within the late afternoon to play baseball together with his pals.

Rarely requested to pitch due to his poor imaginative and prescient — he was legally blind — he took the mound when among the different boys went dwelling. He laid down his thick glasses — none of his favourite main league pitchers wore glasses, so why ought to he? — and uncorked a pitch with all his would possibly.

The batter swung. The ball struck Eddie between the eyes.

“The twilight of an October afternoon on a makeshift baseball diamond as a white horsehide sphere shattered my fragile vision was the last clear thing I ever saw,” he wrote in “Seeing Home: The Ed Lucas Story: A Blind Broadcaster’s Story of Overcoming Life’s Obstacles” (2015, together with his son Christopher). “The pain was overwhelming. Bright flashes obscured my sight.”

His retinas had been indifferent, and his imaginative and prescient deteriorated even additional. He turned totally blind on a day he would at all times bear in mind: Dec. 11, 1951, when Joe DiMaggio retired.

Although unable to see the diamond or the gamers on it, Mr. Lucas’s love of the sport remained undiminished, displayed in a protracted profession as a baseball author for newspapers in New Jersey; as a radio broadcaster; and as a contributor to the web site of the Yankees’ YES Network, for which he obtained a New York Emmy Award in 2009.

He died on Nov. 10 in a hospital in Livingston, N.J. He was 82 and lived in close by Union. The trigger was pulmonary fibrosis, Christopher Lucas mentioned.

As Mr. Lucas recovered from unsuccessful surgical procedure to reattach his retinas, his mom, Rosanna (Furey) Lucas, tried to boost Eddie’s spirits by writing letters to the Giants, Yankees and Dodgers, hoping that their gamers, coaches and broadcasters would provide to satisfy him and provides him encouragement. Leo Durocher, the Giants’ supervisor, was among the many first to reply, inviting Eddie to the Polo Grounds the following season.

And when his mom discovered that Phil Rizzuto, the Yankees’ shortstop, was working within the low season at a males’s clothes retailer in Newark, N.J., she and her husband, Edward Sr., took Eddie to see him (and purchase a swimsuit) in November 1951; it began a friendship that lasted till Rizzuto’s demise 56 years later.

Edward Joseph Lucas Jr. was born prematurely on Jan. 3, 1939, in Jersey City, N.J.; inadequate oxygen had weakened his eyes, and he wanted surgical procedures to take care of glaucoma and cataracts.

His father had varied jobs, together with waiter, dockworker and pressman for The New York Times; his mom labored as a cashier and stocker at an A. & P. grocery store.

After being blinded, Eddie attended St. Joseph’s School for the Blind in Jersey City and the New York Institute for the Education of the Blind within the Bronx (now the New York Institute for Special Education). At the institute, he fashioned a gaggle of baseball followers who requested gamers to talk to his class; Jackie Robinson and Mickey Mantle had been amongst those that accepted.

He attended Seton Hall University, receiving a bachelor’s diploma in communications in 1962. While a pupil there he hosted a present on the campus radio station, WSOU, that featured his interviews with baseball personalities.

Credit…through Lucas household

Mr. Lucas was typically requested how a blind man might cowl baseball. He cited a “unique sensory experience” — the flexibility to sense the place a ball was hit by listening to the crack of the bat.

“He would know if it was a fly ball to right field or a grounder to short,” mentioned Harvey Zucker, a former sports activities editor of The Jersey Journal, who typically accompanied Mr. Lucas to video games.

Mr. Lucas’s work first appeared in The Hudson Dispatch in 1958 as a highschool stringer. He wrote for the paper as a freelancer till the mid-Sixties, then began writing a column for The Journal. His final column appeared in July. He additionally contributed to Yankees Magazine.

Mr. Lucas didn’t depend on play-by-play accounts in his writing or radio work. Instead, he centered on interviewing gamers, a lot of whom he befriended, like Mantle, Barry Bonds, Bernie Williams and Dave Righetti.

He had been upset when he couldn’t get employed as a sports activities reporter after graduating from Seton Hall. So he took a job as an insurance coverage salesman and later labored as public relations director at Meadowview Psychiatric Hospital in Secaucus, N.J., and as an envoy, fund-raiser and board member of the St. Joseph’s Home.

In the Nineteen Eighties, when his baseball work lastly turned a full-time pursuit, he had a weekly radio present on WMCA-AM that ran in the course of the baseball season.

He married Margaret Geraghty in 1965, they usually had two sons, Edward and Christopher, however she left the household in 1972, which prompted Mr. Lucas’s sister, Maureen, and her husband, Jimmy, to maneuver in with Mr. Lucas to assist him take care of the boys. Mr. Lucas and his spouse divorced in 1973.

In 1979, his former spouse efficiently sued for full custody of the youngsters. Facing lengthy odds as a blind man, he regained custody on enchantment in Hudson County Superior Court.

“I knew I was a good father,” he informed The Record of Hackensack, N.J., in 1980. “Truth prevails as far as I’m concerned.”

Mr. Lucas did most of his baseball work at Yankee Stadium, the place on opening day in 1976 DiMaggio sat subsequent to him within the press field, informed him to place away the transistor radio and headset he wanted to comply with video games, and delivered a private play-by-play.

Thirty years later, the Yankees proprietor, George M. Steinbrenner, gave his approval when Mr. Lucas requested that he be allowed to marry Allison Pfeifle on the sphere of Yankee Stadium a month earlier than opening day. Mr. Steinbrenner paid for a dinner reception for 350 folks at the stadium.

“To paraphrase Mr. Gehrig,” Ms. Lucas mentioned at a information convention after the ceremony, “I truly do consider ourselves the luckiest two people on the face of the earth.”

In addition to his son Christopher, Mr. Lucas is survived by his spouse, his different son, Eddie, and three grandsons.

One day in 1965, Mr. Lucas was interviewing Ron Swoboda, then a rookie outfielder for the Mets, who requested him how he had misplaced his sight.

“When I told him about my boyhood accident,” Mr. Lucas wrote in his autobiography, “he followed by asking me if anyone had ever taken me around a major league ballpark to describe it up close. I said no. I spent the next 45 minutes walking with Ron as he helped me better visualize Shea by running my hand along the outfield wall, touching the bases, and traveling the length of the warning track.”