Pelican players influenced by former major leaguer [UPDATED]Published 9:34am Tuesday, January 10, 2012 Updated 11:35am Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Ed Hanyzewski, Jr., who lives near Prairie Lake, north of Pelican Rapids, fondly remembers the days when he and his late father coached American Legion baseball and girls softball in Pelican Rapids. What makes this story unique is that his late father pitched for the Chicago Cubs during the 1940s.
Ed Hanyzewski, Sr., was born in 1920, in Union Mills, Ind. Hanyzewski, who had attended Notre Dame, was 21 years old when he broke into the big leagues on May 12, 1942, as a pitcher with the Chicago Cubs. He spent five years with the Cubs.
The team won the 1945 National League pennant with a record of 98-56, three games ahead of the second-place St. Louis Cardinals. The team went on to the World Series, when they lost to the Detroit Tigers in seven games. This stands as the last time the Cubs played in the World Series.
Hanyzewski, after his baseball days, became a policeman in South Bend, Ind.
His son came to this area in 1962, playing football for NDSU in Fargo.
“Back then, in the early 1960s, many people referred to NDSU as the AC which stood for Agricultural College,” said Hanyzewski. “We had some tough games in those days, and I remember playing on frozen ground as a wide receiver.”
Hanyzewski, after being injured on the football field, concentrated on baseball for the NDSU Bison. It was at NDSU where he met his future wife, Peggy. She hailed from Reeder, N.D., south of Dickinson and east of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
Mechanical engineering caught the liking of Hanyzewski at NDSU. He and Peggy moved to Pelican Rapids where they operated Riverside Farms Nursery for many years. He taught at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton.
He now makes custom built carts and other products such as bathtub lifts to help physically challenged individuals. Hanyzewski has a website, www.gepideas.com that’s devoted for the purpose of sharing projects among friends, family and others to help physically challenged people.
Projects can be anything that simply makes life easier. You may share your completed projects by filling out the “Good Idea Information Form” and either mail or e-mail it to GEP Idea’s.
“My dad was a tough taskmaster who taught me well,” said Hanyzewski, Jr. “If I ever came home tired and sore after doing a job, and complained, my father had some good advice. He said, ‘If you want to whine, go to the bathroom and look in the mirror and whine to that guy. He’s the only one who can help you.’ I remembered those words all my life.”
Father and son both spent summers near Pelican Rapids, until his father died in 1991. His father resided at Lake Lida. They both volunteered to assist with Pelican Rapids American Legion baseball in the 1970s. Later, they assisted with girls softball.
“My father was always humble, never saying he was a former major league player, unless someone asked,” said Hanyzewski. “He played with some of the greats, such as Bob Feller. More important to me was that he was a wonderful father.”