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June 24, 2008

Centenarian Spends Final Days Re-Telling Stories to Reporters

Bill Werber, who just turned 100, is old enough to get pissed off at Johnny Damon's hair, and the fact that women sing the national anthem. But, clearly, he's an old man—possibly the oldest living professional baseball player—so his curmudgeonly side manages to come off as charming. At least it does in his recent interviews which, given that he has just passed the century mark, have been numerous.

Bill Werber

Bill Werber, then and now.

Werber played in the bigs for more than a decade, and played bridge with Babe Ruth. He also had a successful post-baseball career as an insurance salesman, and met Dwight Eisenhower, so it's understandable that reporters would like hearing his stories. And we can't blame the old codger for telling them. But is it really necessary for the same exact stories to appear in The New York Times (twice in the span of a week, though the first was via the Associated Press), ESPN, WNBC, Statistically Speaking and Charlotte Magazine?

Werber has also recounted his life in a book entitled, appropriately enough, Memories of a Ballplayer, which was published in 2000 by the Society for American Baseball Research. Seeing as Werber is likely not long for this world, perhaps in the future reporters can just pick up the book instead of occupying the centenarian's time. Then again, he does seem to enjoy talking about it.

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