LIBERAL, Kan. — The sale of a 1962 autographed World Series baseball has raised $30,000 for a memorial statue to honor a 9-year-old Kansas batboy who died when he was accidentally hit by a bat during a game.
Kaiser Carlile died Aug. 2, a day after he was hit in the head by a Liberal Bee Jays player’s swing near the on-deck circle. The accident happened during a National Baseball Congress World Series game in Wichita.
The autographed baseball from the 1962 New York Yankees was donated to a silent auction by Randy Watson, whose 13-year-old brother, Rudy, died in 1966 after a foul ball struck his head at a baseball game, The Wichita Eagle reported. Watson said he decided to donate the ball, which 1962 World Series MVP Ralph Terry of Kansas gave to Rudy, because of the similarities between Kaiser and Rudy.
"Both were big persons in little bodies," Watson said. "Both were scrappers. They were dedicated and had to try hard to do everything."
The silent auction was held Saturday in Kaiser’s hometown of Liberal. Watson said he wanted the autographed baseball to stay in Liberal so the legacies of Kaiser, Rudy and Terry will remain a part of Kansas baseball history.
"All my life, I have lived with the thought of how this all started with what Ralph Terry did," Watson said. "I thought if he can do that, maybe I ought to follow his example. … I have always wondered why Ralph gave Rudy that ball. But when things happen, you don’t always know the answer. But sometimes 49 years later, you learn the answer."
The baseball will be displayed at the Seward Community College in Liberal.