Brewers Duo Discover their Baseball History in a 2010 World Series Dugout
By MIKE MURPHEY
Roy Hobbs Baseball
Thousands and thousands of people play the game, but baseball is a small world that converges in the dugout.
Last year, Brian Wolcott was the new guy with the Border City Brewers Masters team at the Roy Hobbs World Series. Sitting in the dugout he struck up a conversation with Bob Escamilla, a Brewers veteran.
“I didn’t know him from Adam,” Bob said. “Then he started talking about going to high school in Plymouth Salem. I told him my high school team played Plymouth Salem in the Michigan State Championship in 1975.”
Escamilla, in fact, was the starting pitcher in that game. Wolcott told Escamilla he was the opposing shortstop, and batted second in the order.
“We won 5-3, and it was a great game,” Wolcott recalls. “Bob pitched great, but it was one of those games where everything went right for us. We threw out a couple of guys at third base who were trying to stretch doubles into triples.”
“Yeah, I took the loss,” Escamilla said. “That was 35 year ago, and here we were, playing together on the same team.”
Wolcott went on play ball for the University of Michigan. He played on a USA Baseball team that beat the Cubans in international competition. But following college, he got caught up in a coaching a teaching career and didn’t find his way back to the game as a player until last year.
Escamilla, on the other hand, never left. With the exception of 4 years when coaching his 4 kids teams left him to busy to play, he started playing organized baseball at the age of 12 and never stopped.
His back yard is a full-sized baseball field, 303 feet to left field and a 20-foot high wall, 309 to right field and 390 to dead center. His business is making baseball bats. He coaches the high school team, and he plays a lot of baseball in the local amateur leagues.
Wolcott was always around the game as a coach, or helping his son, who also had a career at the University of Michigan. But he hadn’t competed since college. Friends had talked Wolcott into coming to the Roy Hobbs World Series with them 10 years ago, but his mother passed away shortly before the tournament. Then last year, another group got him out on the field, and he decided to give the World Series a try.
“People just gave great testimony about Roy Hobbs, and then I got down there and the juices started flowing again. I got back on the mound and remembered how much fun it is.”
“There are lots of reasons to play the game,” he said, “but when you get to be our age, I think camaraderie is the biggest reason. We’re all competitive, but getting to know guys like Bob, that’s the main thing.”
He added, “I bought a couple of bats from him, too. They’re really good bats.”
He’s looking forward to using them in the Roy Hobbs World Series this year.
Hometown: Pin Conning, Michigan
Occupation: Retired from Dow Chemical, now wood bat manufacturer
World Series Team 2011: Border City Brewers Masters Division & DHBA Athletics Legends Division
Positions: Pitcher, infielder, outfielder
Favorite baseball memory: Playing in the Roy Hobbs World Series, we beat the New England Red Sox and I went 2 for 3.
Quote: “My backyard is a full-size baseball field. We’ve got a 20-foot monster in left field, the grass is manicured better than my front lawn, and the neighbors don’t mind. The neighborhood kids come and play on it all the time.”
Hometown: Plymouth, Michigan
Occupation: High School Principal
World Series Team 2011: Border City Brewers Masters Division
Positions: Pitcher, infielder
Favorite baseball memory: Playing for the USA baseball team in international competition, Bob was the winning pitcher. He relieved starter Ed Vosberg – who went on to a long Major League career – with the game tied and 1 out in the 9th and a man on first. “I threw 2 pitches, and the batter hit into a double play. We went on to score in the bottom of the 9th, so I got the win.”
Quote: “Trying to go back and start playing is hard at 53. But then you go to Roy Hobbs and see everyone there. It’s inspiring.”