Saved by the Bell

Falling Under His Spell: Remembering Joe Walsh

August 01, 2012

He’d stare out into the distance beyond the outfield for forty-five minutes, an hour, maybe more.

More than once in recent years, Harvard lost a season-deciding game at home.  Maybe it was a league championship game against Princeton. Maybe it was a division-deciding Ivy doubleheader against Dartmouth. When it happened at O’Donnell Field, Joe Walsh would sit in the home dugout for what seemed like forever, staring into the distance. Bats, balls, and bases would disappear around him as the sun descended beyond left field, and players, parents, and well-wishers would melt away in the direction of the locker room and campus, one by one. And Walsh would find himself alone, gazing past the trees that lined the outfield, a few feet from where a long fly failed to clear the warning track or where a screaming liner had dropped just a few heartbreaking inches out of reach, abruptly ending that year’s dreams. He’d sit, and he’d stare, and he’d think. Eventually, sometimes in near darkness, he’d get up, and start the long trudge home.

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