(Going to look like a Lemmyboy post here for a minute.)
Charlton Jimerson hit a pinch hit home run in his first major league at bat. Check out the Wikipedia entry about him. 'His father had moved out and abandoned the family while Jimerson was young, becoming a homeless person, and before that time had been physically abusive of Charlton's mother'
I met Charlton's dad, Eugene, back in Berkeley while I was a student there. He lived in the lot behind the Ace Hardware on University and hung out on the corner across from Jason's favorite Brazilian sandwich place. One day I bought a Street Spirit newspaper from him and just started chatting. It became a pretty regular habit and I would go by and talk with him once every week or two for the next 2 to 3 years. I helped him out with a couple of bucks or a few necessities when he needed it, but mostly we just talked. We talked about all kinds of stuff, but not a lot about his past and how he ended up there. He just told me he was used to it and didn't really want to live with his family, although he kept in touch with them. The physically abusive part might have been true, but by the time I met him, he was much older and gave up a lot of the stupid stuff he used to do. He read the bible and was always good-natured toward me. He seemed to know a lot of people in the community and get by okay.
I remember him giving me that autographed card and telling me how Charlton was drafted by the Astros in the 24th round out of high school, but chose to go play at Miami instead and was a part of their championship team in 1999, so I started following his baseball career. Charlton went on to become the College World Series MVP in 2001 and was drafted again by the Astros, this time in the fifth round. It's probably been four or five years since I've seen him around Berkeley, but I always take a peek at the corner whenever I drive by.
Meeting Eugene those years ago is a big reason I went to work at a place like the Rescue Mission and why I want to work with the underprivilaged. Or at least it prepared me to live as a homeless man if I never work again. Either way, God planned it out well.