The ex-Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder had a little mishap that led to a very happy cleric.
Fr. Jeffrey Dauses was driving around busily running some errands when he thought something had come crashing down from the heavens:
“It felt like a meteorite had fallen on my car. It scared me to death and I almost went into the other lane,” the pastor at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Baynesville, Maryland, shared with the Arlington Catholic Herald.
Thankfully, it was not quite so dramatic. It happened to be a baseball that had come from the stadium at the nearby Calvert Hall College High School. It made an almighty noise as it hit the side-view mirror, with pieces flying up on to the windshield of the priest’s car. So understandably Fr. Dauses was pretty startled.
It was not one of the students who had hit the ball out of the park, but an alum: Troy Stokes Jr. had stopped by his former high school to lend a bit of batting support to the students.
The major league baseball player graduated from the high school in 2014, but is keen to share his experience and skills with the students at the school. So when the incident happened, he explained how an innocent baseball happened to land straight on the priest’s car: “It was the last ball I hit — and I hit it pretty good. I hit it just right to left field, over the net.”
Stokes, who is now a free agent, reckoned that the ball had traveled 400 feet, not too far off his record hit of 480 feet when he was playing in the minor leagues.
As for Fr. Dauses — well, though slightly shaken — he was able to do a little detective work. He got out of his car and saw the ball rolling next to the car. He contacted Calvert Hall, whicj arranged for Stokes to sign the ball that now stands proudly in a mug on the pastor’s desk.
However, what is really delightful is the message that the baseball pro wrote on the ball: “Sorry for hitting your mirror!!”
And in a separate turn of events, on the day that the incident happened there was another connection between the children in Fr. Dauses’ parish and the college:
“My car got hit on the day that Calvert Hall was sending out the acceptance letters to all those eighth graders. On the very day they’re getting their letters, I get a baseball that smashes into my mirror. It was just kind of funny.”
In fact, half the boys in the parish were accepted at Calvert Hall, so maybe one day they’ll get to train with Stokes.
In terms of his own baseball skills, Fr. Dauses believes his make him “pretty much the worst player ever,” having played in the Shrine of the Little Flower’s junior athletic association’s baseball league. He joked: “I played in the outfield so far out that not even Troy Stokes could possibly have hit a ball to me.”
Thankfully the damage to the car was minimal, but it’s lovely to see how by sharing his sports prowess with the students at his former school, Stokes was able to set a great example to the kids with his apology, and provide a little happiness (as well as a near heart attack!) to a priest as he went about his errands.