The golden anniversary of the William White was last weekend. Fifty amazing years and, because of the one-year hiatus due to Merion Cricket Club’s 1995 conversion from hardball to softball, fifty amazing events. 

I did the tournament program this year. Because of a wealth of information and insightful interviews, it ballooned into an eighty-page booklet. I got to talk with doubles giants like John Hentz, Bill Danforth and Joyce Davenport. I got to talk with my first serious coach, Joe Coyle, for the first time in a quarter century. I got to talk with four of the five guys who played in the inaugural White’s singles draw in 1962, Ben Heckscher, Sam Howe, Diehl Mateer and Charlie Ufford.

Because of Whitney Thain and Tracy Greer, we were able to dig out and use a wealth of archival photographs for the booklet. Some were just classic shots, including one of Maurice Heckscher & Michael Pierce with the luggage that they received as winners of the doubles in 1977 (when I saw Pierce in the locker room at Cynwyd showering after his quarterfinal loss in at Merion this Saturday, he said he couldn’t remember where the suitcase is now).

The other great photograph was of a snowy porte cochere at Merion. The Whitey (as it has always been called in my family, since Bill White was always called Whitey) is known for its weather-related catastrophes: for example, the 1996 blizzard that dumped thirty inches on the club started during the Saturday dinner dance.

Well, this year it was sixty-three degrees on Saturday afternoon and not a cloud in the sky. 

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