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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Braves Fan receives a gift from the team

Monday, August 13, 2007

Cherokee Brave "Super Fans" Pat and George Wilkie. Photo by Dan Whitney
George Wilkie was a pitcher on his high school baseball team in Larrabee before World War Two. Following service in the Air Force from 1941-45, he returned to Larrabee, wed a Cherokee gal, the former Pat Campbell, in November 1948, and the couple farmed near Larrabee for many years.

George also was able to return to playing baseball for a couple of years, pitching for a "town team" in Larrabee. He used to be a St. Louis Cardinal fan, but has given up watching Major League Baseball on television, because he says, "they take too much time," and "the announcers think they have all the answers."

He has not abandoned the "National Pastime" altogether, however. He and Pat, who moved from their farm to a home in Cherokee in November 2005, have been attending Cherokee Braves baseball games for five years now, and the couple never miss a home game. George said the State Champion Braves are "good ballplayers and good boys," and Pat added that she enjoys to watch because the team members "work well together."

The autographed ball presented to the Wilkies by the Braves. Photo by Dan Whitney.
George and Pat characterized coaches Scott Koch and Steve Sonka as "great people," and said veterinarian Sonka used to treat their animals when they were on the farm.

At the last home game this season, the team "totally surprised" Pat and George when they approached the Wilkies in their car and presented them with a baseball autographed by all the team members. A friend purchased a clear plastic ball holder to encase the treasured souvenir and prevent any of the writing on the ball from getting rubbed off, and the ball now sits in a place of honor on the television set, where George and Pat, grandsons Kyle and Curtis, and great-grandson Byrer can look at the ball, and reminisce about the great Braves team of 2007. If any visitors stop by and ask about the ball, I'm sure George and Pat would be more than willing to talk about the magic season and the special team.

Though they were not able to attend the State Tournament games in Des Moines, George and Pat viewed the championship game on television, of course, and were absolutely thrilled with the Braves' win.


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