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Without reservation, every “old timer” Verité will answer Poet James Russell Lowell’s famous question, “What Is So Rare as a Day in June?” They will proclaim, “A Spring Training Day in Dodgertown watching a baseball game at Holman Stadium.” Had the famous poet lived in Vero Beach from the year 1948 to 2008, he might have asked, “What is so rare as a New York Yankee fan and a Boston Red Sox fan enjoying America’s favorite game in one accord?” Instead, the crack of the bat answers, “A Spring Training Day in Dodgertown watching a baseball game at Holman Stadium.”

One rare day transpired at Holman Stadium in March 1989. Surprisingly, it involved a teenager who had cerebral palsy. As a result, he could neither walk nor talk. Physically disabled but mentally alert, with the aid of a customized computer, Stuart made known his deepest desires to the “Make Three Wishes” foundation. This charitable program granted him and his family a flight from his homeland of Scotland to Florida and arranged to grant his second and third wish - “visit Dodgertown and personally meet my baseball idol, Orel Hershiser.”

The L.A. Dodgers’ publicity people quickly got to work. They set a date, notified their star pitcher, and arranged a miracle meeting. When the appointed day arrived, Stuart’s motorized wheelchair was positioned in the far-right outfield. Surrounded by his mom, dad, and two siblings, the anxious young man focused his eyes on Number 55. His idol was warming up and “fixing his bulldog face” to pitch against the Houston Astros. The incapacitated lad and his family worried whether there would be time between the warm-up and the playing of the National Anthem for a personal encounter.

Suddenly, like a flash of lightning, Hershiser bolted across the diamond and knelt in front of the starstruck fan within seconds. His hero leaned in close to Stuart’s ear and whispered a message of eternal truth, “Do you realize your body will be made perfect in Heaven?”

Unchecked tears rolled down the family’s faces.

However, the eyes of the young man reflected profound joy. Struggling to smile, he watched his idol autograph a baseball. The pitcher then gently placed the ball into a cupped right hand and even more gently positioned Stuart’s crippled Fingers uniquely around the ball.

“This is how I throw my two-seam fastball,” the Cy Young winner explained. And with that, the smiling major leaguer tipped his hat, then turned and ran to the Dodgers’ bench where Manager Tommy Lasorda awaited his starting pitcher.

What is so rare as a day in June? Stuart’s wishes granted him a rare day in March. A rare day also for Orel Hershiser, who satisfied a devoted fan’s wishes and, in doing so, was able to give hope to a crippled body. Another rare day for Dodger fans to bask in Vero’s balmy Spring Training Day and enjoy a major league baseball game.

“Look, I am the one you were wishing for, someone to stand between you and God and to be both His representative and yours.” Job 33:6


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