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"Then I try to explain to them that guys like Manny (Ramirez) and other guys are all using that. Why wouldn't they want to use it?"
Born Feb. 6, 1916, in West Allis, Wis., Sacharski was a standout basketball player at what was then known as Oshkosh State Teachers College and is now the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
He served in the Army during World War II, reaching the rank of second lieutenant, and played on an armed forces basketball team with several college stars.
From 1951 until he retired in 1980, Sacharski taught at Albion Public Schools -- a range of subjects including history, social studies, English and Latin. He also coached high school baseball for many years.
"Everything that he did, the purpose was to teach something," says Will Sacharski, who followed in his father's footsteps to become a teacher and coach.
When Rodney Ferguson took over as Albion's recreation director in 2002, many years after Sacharski had left the job, he discovered that the T-ball league needed to be reorganized and revitalized. Ferguson sought help from Sacharski, who dusted off copies of his rules and field diagrams and showed him T-ball film that he shot in the 1950s.
To Ferguson's surprise, Sacharski also returned to the diamond that year as a T-ball coach, which he continued to do through 2006, when he was 90.
"The big thing with Jerry Sacharski was he invested his time in you to help you be a better young person," Ferguson said.
Will Sacharski said his father seemed to have an unlimited amount of patience with children and a remarkable memory, even late in life, for their achievements long ago. He enjoyed nothing more than talking with his former players -- decades later -- and reminding them of their outstanding plays.
"I think he knew everybody in town and everything about them," says Doug Fausz, another original Albion T-baller who lived two blocks from Sacharski for about 30 years.
The 61-year-old Fausz, who works for a cleaning service at Albion College, said that one day in 2006, shortly before the city held a 50th-anniversary celebration of its first T-ball season, Sacharski stopped by his home while he was outside and motioned him over to his car.
"The man's 90 years old and he said to me, 'Where were you at 50 years ago today?' and I looked at him and said, 'No clue.' He told me where I was at, what I was doing -- I mean, he went through the whole thing."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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