Life is More Than 9 Innings



Red Sox Pitcher Frank Sullivan - Baseball CardAbout the author, Frank Sullivan

Frank Sullivan was born in Southern California, signed with the Boston Red Sox in 1948 and pitched his first game for the big league club in 1953.

He spent eight years with the Boston Red Sox and finished his career in Philadelphia (NL) and Minnesota. He was selected to play in the All-Star games in 1955 and 1956 and was elected to the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2008.

He settled on Kaua‘i in the Hawaiian Islands in 1964 where he worked as a PGA golf professional and pursued his love of fishing, boats, good friends and writing. He and his wife Marilyn live in Lihue.

Frank on Frank

As I look back on the many satisfying things I have done on this wonderful trip through life, I can’t deny that a ten-year Major League Baseball career is one of them.

The Combat Infantry Badge, framed on my wall above this spot where I write, is dear to my heart because it is a symbol of my not being labeled a coward.

High school seems so far back, but I was the Student Body President of Burbank High (enrollment 2,000 plus) for a year.

I retired my parents and got my father out of the cannery where he worked so hard as an independent contractor responsible for all the stacking, labeling and the making of boxes and took them east to let them see me pitch for the Red Sox.

Frank Sullivan Baseball CardThen there was the late night at the Colonial Country Club in Lynnfield, Massachusetts. I borrowed Jimmy Baltas’ brand new Cadillac on a freezing night to get back to the Kenmore Hotel in Boston. Suddenly, I skidded off onto the median strip when the pavement went to ice, hurting the front alignment of the car. I’m still proud of the fact that I bought Jimmy a brand new exact copy the next day and had to borrow the money to do it. (The repaired one went to my dad.)

Very little surpasses the satisfaction of building a boat; the waking in the night to assume the working out in the mind of how to cut the angles of a design that has no square corners, the excitement of each solution, the fitting of the joints to assure they are strong and sound and when the craft is launched, it performs the required tasks. I couldn’t live without a boat in my yard and when boredom rears its ugly head, and I believe boredom can kill, there is always something I can do to my boat. Hell, just dragging it around to a new spot in my yard makes me feel good all over.

People might say I have been lucky because I was able to sustain a life here in paradise but, in my own defense, I was always up for the task. I willingly gave my best effort to whomever would hire me and never with a dollar in mind. I have always felt that money is a product of success and not a requirement for it.

And, yes, I am vain, although most of it went away in 1964 here on Kauai when Sam White and I put on a baseball clinic in the town of Hanapepe. I was on the mound at their municipal park and Sam was catching and a young boy (about 8 years old) standing next to me while I was showing them how to come, set and hold a man on first base asked me, “Mr. Sullivan, who did you play for?” “The Red Sox,” I answered. He looked down at the ground and said, “Yeah, me too.” Out of the mouths of babes, eh?

I bet he feels better, like I do, because our team won the World Series in 2004.