June 28, 2021 Dr. Joseph Maroon was featured in an article by The Intelligencer/ Wheeling News-Register , which covered the memorial service for baseball hall of famer Phil Niekro. Niekro passed away at the age of 81 on Dec. 26, 2020 of a rare type of cancer. Niekro had played 24 seasons in the MLB as a pitcher and was famous for his “unhittable” knuckleball pitch. Dr. Maroon, along with Niekro and baseball great, John Havlicek, all grew up in the Ohio Valley in Bridgeport, OH. They all played on the same championship baseball team that went on to win the state American Legion championship title in 1957.
Dr. Maroon relates, “John played shortstop and second base, Phil was the pitcher and I was the centerfielder,” Maroon recalled while pointing around the diamond. “It was amazing because all I did was, basically, watch the game. Nobody could hit the ball from the pitches that Phil threw, and if they did, John scooped them up any place in the infield. It was an incredible experience.”
Niekro went on to have 318 career victories, the most by a knuckleballer, and rank 16th on MLB’s all-time wins list. Dr. Maroon had recently contributed to an article about his experiences growing up in the Bridgeport area. (see Memories of Summer Baseball with Local Legends) In the article Dr. Maroon relates the stories of how he and sport legends, John Havlicek and Phil Niekro, played baseball together and won the American Legion state championship in 1957.
Restricted use of photo provided by KIM NORTH For The Intelligencer