“[H]e taught me about hard work, and fighting through adversity, and toughness. I carry all the things that he taught me as a little boy growing up. He was always there for me.” Former baseball player and current New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (pictured) has a special relationship with his dad. From Bryan Hoch’s MLB.com piece Girardi cherishes talks with father (6/19/09):
The memories of Joe Girardi’s father as a strict disciplinarian with a lesser-seen soft side continue to beat on in the Yankees manager’s heart, even though that man no longer answers the ringing telephone. Girardi’s father, Jerry, is suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s disease,
but his son continues dialing the numbers, hoping to hear at least a brief flash of the role model who took him fishing and would listen along to Cubs games in the car radio. “I think about my father all the time,” Girardi says in a room adjacent to his Yankee Stadium office, leaning back in a padded chair after completing a pregame interview session with reporters. “I think about all the things that he taught me about hard work, and fighting through adversity, and toughness. I carry all the things that he taught me as a little boy growing up. He was always there for me.” So it is now Girardi’s vow to be there for his father. “You have to understand, it’s not something they want to do, and our job is to take care of them,” Girardi said. “That’s the least I can do. My dad took care of me forever.” Now 77, Jerry Girardi does not open his eyes much anymore, sleeping for most of the day in an assisted-care facility outside Peoria, Ill. Girardi has been told that the best time to speak to his father is early in the day, so at 10 o’clock once or twice a week, he will pick up the phone and try. The conversations are mostly one-way, but Girardi keeps his father up to date on whatever is going on in his life. When Girardi learned he had been hired as the new Yankees manager late in 2007, Jerry opened his eyes and smiled. Last week, Jerry said, ‘Yes,’ twice. Girardi said those two words boosted him through the rest of the day. “There’s always that little percentage where I think, ‘Maybe he got it,'” Girardi said. “That’s encouraging.”
Read the full article here.