The Thirty-Year Journey of a Major League Pitcher and Broadcaster

03 October 2011

Nellie on "Giving Back"

Nellie was always a firm believer in social justice and compassion. The Nellie King Fund, recently established by his daughters, will carry forth his efforts and writings on behalf of those who are struggling in our community.

Here's an indication of Nellie's views on social justice, taken from the introduction to his best-selling book, Happiness is Like a Cur Dog:

People who did not experience the Great Depression have no idea how difficult it was. There were no safety nets, no unemployment compensation, no medical or retirement benefits, and no social security. All you had was your job. My dad had always had steady work at the mine (when “steady” meant only two or three days a week). He was able to do something that so many others could not manage: put food on the table for his family. 
I remember men coming to our back door, asking if they could sweep the porches, rake leaves, or anything. They weren't looking for money to pay off credit cards. Struggling to survive from meal to meal, they only wanted a sandwich! 
Those who berate government assistance programs never experienced those terribly difficult years of want, fear, and humiliation. The benefits we now enjoy are taken for granted, as if they were always part of our lives. To use a baseball metaphor, too many people in this country have been born on third base, yet think they’ve hit triples! As a nation and people, we have become increasingly more arrogant and less tolerant of the less fortunate.

Image: Coal breaker-boys, anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania, 1930s. 

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The Thirty-Year Journey of a Major League Baseball Pitcher and Broadcaster