Wil Crowe, along with Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Mookie Betts and Nick Castellanos participated in tournaments exclusively at Cooperstown Dreams Park. For more information on Dreams Park Alumni, see our Where Are They Now section. Below is an article by Don Laible and WIBX.
Pittsburgh Pirates' pitcher Wil Crowe has a really neat connection to Cooperstown, and a baseball hall of famer, too.
With less than a dozen Grapefruit League games remaining until wins and losses count for real, when the Pittsburgh Pirates open their season on March 30th in Cincinnati, Crowe is anxious for his second full MLB campaign to get underway.
In training camp since February 15th, reporting day for all pitchers and catchers at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida, Crowe has been all business. On this day, with the visiting Toronto Blue Jays bussing it down from their training complex in Dunedin to the Pirates' LECOM Park for a 1:05 p.m. exhibition game, Crowe is one of the first to enter Pittsburgh's clubhouse.
Although not scheduled to throw today, Crowe is early to dress, and make his way to the field for the scheduled team 9:20 a.m. workout. There are several reasons for his excitement to pull a Pirates' jersey over his head. Aside from being on the club's 40-man roster, and expected to be among the dozen or more pitchers Pirates' skipper Derek Shelton will be taking north for opening day action with the Reds, this is Crowe's second season where he is expected to remain on the big league roster.
Read More: Amazing Cooperstown Connection For Pittsburgh Pirates' Crowe | https://wibx950.com/amazing-cooperstown-connection-for-pittsburgh-pirates-crowe/?utm_source=tsmclip&utm_medium=referral
"I've been to Cooperstown twice," Crowe, who along with Mike Trout, Bryce Harper Mookie Betts and Nick Castellanos participated in tournaments at Cooperstown Dreams Park, said.
After spending a couple days, first touring New York City with his family, the 200-mile drive north to Cooperstown seemed to fly by. A visit to Cooperstown would also mean checking out the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. This is where Crowe's connection to the game's hallowed halls becomes even more exciting.
Hall of Fame pitcher Charles "Red" Ruffing is Crowe's great, great uncle.
For 22 MLB seasons (1924-1947), Ruffing made his case for baseball immortality with a permanent home in Cooperstown. A six-time all-star, a member of six World Series championship clubs (five seasons as a teammate of Babe Ruth with the New York Yankees), Ruffing won 273 games. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1967.
Here's where the Crowe - Ruffing connection really gets interesting. Born in Granville, Illinois in 1905, Ruffing died in 1988. He is buried in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. With all the moving around Ruffing's baseball career led him, somehow, the Crowe family in Tennessee connected with the hall of famer's travels.
Crowe is from Kingston, Tennessee, 36 miles southwest of Knoxville. He then played high school baseball at Pigeon Forge High, 35 miles southeast of Knoxville. So, where did the Ruffings and the Crowes family tree connect?
"My mom and grandmother figured it out, explained Crowe. "After looking into our family history, that's where the connection was made. Red's kids reached out from my mom's email. He (Ruffing) has a cool story to tell. What a career,".
During World War II, Ruffing served in the United States Army Air Force. Prior to serving his country and beginning his hall of fame pitching career, Ruffing lost four toes on his left foot as a result of a mining accident . This accident occurred when Ruffing was 15-years-old.
"After knowing about him (Ruffing), when I was at the hall of fame, I took pictures of his plaque. It's cool to have a connection with him," said Crowe of his famous great, great uncle.
Both Crowe and Ruffing threw right-handed.
Reaching the big leagues was emotional for Crowe. The same can be said for the pitcher's father Tim Crowe.
"My dad played two years of D-II baseball (Milligan Universitry). It was his dream to play (in the MLB). So, when I made it, it was emotional for him," Crowe says.
Beyond the headlines of giving up Aaron Judge's 60th home run last season on September 20, and being traded in late 2020 by Washington for Josh Bell to the Pirates, Wil Crowe is proud to begin a conversation that includes Red Ruffing.
Now, that's an attention-getter. For sure.FROM: Don Laible WIBX