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BALL FIVE: Remembering Tom Hausman

In the summer of 1982, I was watching the Atlanta Braves play a baseball game on the old TBS Superstation. In the middle innings, a lanky right-handed reliever took the mound for the Braves.
I did not recognize the name Tom Hausman. Since it was Hausman’s first appearance for the Braves, announcer Skip Caray was giving a little background information for the fans. I was only halfway paying attention until Caray said that for good luck, Hausman always wore a “Where the hell is Mobridge, South Dakota” T-shirt under his jersey. Needless to say, I perked up and started listening a lot better after that.
It wasn’t long after that I went in search of the late Pat Morrison to find out more about this Hausman guy. Pat, of course, knew him and was good friends with Tom’s father. By the time our conversation as done, I knew more about Tom than I wanted to know before the chat started.
That was Hausman’s last year in the Big Leagues. It may have been the only time I saw him pitch. I say may have because he pitched for the New York Mets for four and a half years before getting traded to the Braves late in ’82. Tom pitched against the Cubs quite a few times, so I’m sure I did see him pitch, I just didn’t know who he was at the time.
After Tom retired and started spending time here, I got to know him quite well. Tom was born in Mobridge, his folks were from Selby, but he grew up and attended high school in La Verne, Calif., a suburb of Los Angeles.
Life was our commonality, but baseball was our connection. I liked having an ex-Major Leaguer as a friend. He liked having a guy from out here in the boonies who had a deep love for and understanding of the game. His stories always made me feel closer to the game. My knowledge of the history of the game kind of opened his thoughts. He could tell me things about players he would not think to tell other people.
Tom died on Jan. 16, in Las Vegas, where he resided for many years.
I am proud to have called the only player in Major League Baseball history that has a Topps Baseball Card that says born in Mobridge, S.D., on the back, my friend.