The crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, the smell of hot dogs and peanuts wafting through the stands. This is baseball, America’s pastime.
Many young boys dream of playing professional baseball, but few ever make it. John Meyer lived the dream.
Now a resident of Trinity Community of Beavercreek, Meyer was drafted by the Cleveland Indians out of college in the 1960s. He played two seasons for the organization’s minor league club in Reno, Nev., before deciding to step away.
“I had a lot of fun,” he says, “but when it was time, I knew when to give it up.”
Meyer, 67, spent his summers playing city league baseball as a youth. The thrill of the game tantalized him, and he idolized players such as Cincinnati Reds power hitter Ted Kluszewski.
Meyer went on to help his high school team win a state championship in Ohio and he earned a baseball scholarship to attend the University of Cincinnati, the program that produced Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax.
Meyer’s .400 batting average with the Bearcats naturally attracted major league scouts.
“I was actually drafted three times,” says Meyer, “once in 1966 by the New York Mets and twice in 1967 by the Cleveland Indians. I turned down the Mets because I was only a junior, and I wanted to finish school.”
After signing with the Indians, Meyer played catcher for the Reno Silver Sox until 1969.
“The best part was the game,” he says. “The worst part was the traveling. But it was fun, and it was challenging. There were many good players out there, and I got the chance to do what everyone dreams of doing.”
And while Meyer retired from playing professional baseball, he never really left the game. While serving as an assistant dean at Ohio State University, he rooted for his beloved Reds and played in adult baseball leagues. Meyer participated on two national championship teams in a league for players 50 and older.
He and Marilyn, his wife of 47 years, also helped their two children develop athletically. Their daughter, Heather, played soccer, basketball and swam competitively. Their son, John, followed in his father’s footsteps and played baseball. Both children are grown, with children of their own, and Meyer cherishes the time he spends playing with and coaching them.
“There’s an old saying, ’There’s no I in team,’ and sports really teaches that,” says Meyer. “They teach you how to work together and how to be as concerned about your teammates as you are for yourself.”