Sept. 2, 2009: Local baseball legend is still a star

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To The Editor:
Last week Gene Fix wrote about his truly fantastic accomplishments as a pitcher at Margaretville Central School. When Gene was a junior, I was in seventh grade at Fleischmanns. I kept the score book for the Fleischmanns Varsity team. I idolized Gene. He was the best pitcher I ever saw, poetry in motion.
There was only one other high school player who had special talent like Gene’s. It was Bobby Todd in Fleischmanns. He was a center fielder, a young Mickey Mantle. Bobby could run, throw, catch, hit from both sides of the plate and hit the ball out of sight.
In Gene’s article to the News, he did not do himself justice the way a player and a fan could. Gene gave you statistics, and what remarkable stats they were. However in town team baseball I got to play against Gene and finally got to hit against him, a thrill I will never forget. I batted just once and that was enough. He started me with two fastballs that burned by me, the first for a strike, the second a ball. I didn’t get my bat off my shoulder. Being an excellent contact hitter, after the second pitch I really geared up for his third fastball which was high for ball two. Gene generally kept the ball down and had great control. I managed to foul tip the fourth pitch. My adrenaline was at an all-time high. His fifth pitch flew past me but was questionably outside. The count became full, 3 and 2. I knew it was now or never on the next pitch. Gene threw the pitch at my waist. I was frozen, the ball spun, broke and sank right over the inside corner of the plate at my knees. To this point Gene or I haven’t mentioned in our articles that Gene also had a major league curve ball. The umpire called “inside, ball four, take your base,” absolutely the luckiest call I ever got in my life. Gene was so good he would invariably fool the umpires. Unless he threw it right over the plate he generally did not get the call.
Margaretville actually had quite a few really terrific baseball players including Doug DeSilva, but there was only one Gene Fix. Gene’s delivery was picture perfect, his control was outstanding, his fastball was lightening in a bottle, his curve ball could screw anyone up, it danced and rolled off a table, and his confidence and tenaciousness was matched by no one. One more bit of info, Gene could hit the ball a country mile.
Thanks Gene for the great memories. Some fans will never forget the way you pitched and conducted yourself. I’m soon to be 59 years old and Gene is, and always will be, a star in my eyes.

Warren Slavin,
Fleischmanns