Wednesday, August 20, 2008


1994 was the last season for the Fan District Softball League. That year a longtime Biograph player, Billy Snead, defected to play for Chiocca's, his favorite watering hole.

Snead's old Biograph teammates struck back by announcing they would walk Fan League Hall-of-Famer Billy Snead every time he came to bat in games in which the two teams faced one another. They called their payback strategy F.B.S.

Three games were scheduled and in all three Snead was indeed given a free pass to first base with each at-bat. Chiocca's won all three games, with Billy scoring the winning run all three times. In the finale, he even made the final putout at home plate as Chiocca's catcher.

It made me glad I'd left the team ten years earlier, also to play for another team. And, it was the most failed strategy I've ever seen in sports. The blow-back made Billy look like a hero. That Biograph team's chief conspirators know who they are.

Consequently, I created the piece above, a laminated card with Billy's head mounted on Babe Ruth's body, and I gave them away to the guys who most needed to see them (click on the art to see an enlargement). Later the same concept inspired a F.B.S. T-shirt; I'm told Jack Nicholson has one of them. But that's another story, for another day.

Billy has Leukemia.

Good luck, Billy.

Update: Actually, this episode inspired two T-shirts that I designed for the Biograph softball team. Ernie Brooks sent me this photo from the 2006 Derby Day party, which shows Billy in the second one. We all look forward to the caption being proven to be appropriate once again. (Click on the pictures to enlarge them.)
The shot below is one of mine. It's from 1981.
With three of his old Biograph teammates I visited Billy today (Sat., Aug. 23) at MCV. He was quite himself and we all had a good time. To visit Billy's web site click here.

Update: As of Sept. 26, Billy is in remission. I had a beer with him that Friday in Chiocca's. Happily, his wife and daughters were there, along with several of the regulars. It was a roomful of smiles -- a scene I'm glad I was there to see, firsthand.


Update II: After a rough winter, Billy's condition has improved with the warm weather coming in. On Apr. 22 Billy was in Chiocca's and looking much his old self. He will be at the Derby Day reunion on May 2. Call Larry for details (804) 233-2295.

Update III: Billy enjoyed a good summer and is doing fine.

No comments: