Billy Bob, 89, grew up with a strong passion for baseball. He would often times skip school and walk all the way to Cairo to watch the St. Louis Cardinals practice. During his older adult year, Billy Bob worked as their bat boy and ran errands for the team for three straight spring training seasons. His compensation did not fall in the form of currency, but rather baseball tickets where Billy Bob could cheer on his Cardinals, free of charge, in response to his hard work.
Though baseball always served as an important aspect in his life, Billy Bob also served his country in the Army for four years during the Korean War, where he gave up his dream of big league baseball to defend his country. After that, he served as the elected jailer, steel painter and town’s sheriff for the majority of his years. As a working man, he was able to support three children with his wife, Irene, who he was married to for 57 years before she passed away in 2009. Though his baseball dreams were set aside, he still practiced his love for the sport by holding records for his long distance throwing. One time, he threw a ball 580 feet across the Wickliffe, KY courthouse dome. Another time, he threw a silver dollar across the entire Cumberland River.
Billy Bob says, “Baseball has always been a part of my life.” He introduced baseball into his community, where he started the first Little League and Adult Baseball League in his town. He stayed involved with the Adult Baseball League for 15 years until “his legs gave out.” Though he is not able to remain active with the sport, he still serves as a devoted fan. He loves to watch the St. Louis Cardinals in his free time, where he wears his team colors and decorates his room in team memorabilia. After reminiscing on his youth, Billy Bob Wishes more than anything to watch his favorite team, the St. Louis Cardinals, play ball at Busch Stadium one final time.
On June 19th, Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale Senior Living made this dream possible by sending him and his son to Busch Stadium to cheer on the team. The St. Louis Cardinals wrote Billy Bob a special letter thanking him for being such an amazing fan. They also displayed a special message for him on the scoreboard during the game!
Photos by Julia Lopez of Angel Falls Photography