OUR “DON CARDWELL” CONNECTION
For those who don’t know or have forgotten, Don Cardwell was a Major League pitcher and was with the New York Mets when they won the World Series in 1969. He was most famous for pitching a no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals when he made his first start as a Chicago Cub on May 13, 1960.
But let’s backtrack and learn of a special connection the Singer/Byerly family has had with the famous Don Cardwell.
Don was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on December 7, 1935. He began his career in baseball in 1957. If you want the details of his career, just Google him.
It was about 1960 (it isn’t known if this was before or after his big win mentioned above) when Don was visiting his hometown and family. A cousin of his, Mrs. Greer, was a fourth grade school teacher at Griffith Elementary in south Winston-Salem. Don went to visit her at the school and during recess, pitched to her students for a while. One of those students was Philip Byerly. He and his classmates were excited and thrilled to have a real Major League Baseball player there in their midst.
In 1967, Cardwell began pitching for the Mets and stayed with them until 1970 when he was traded to the Atlanta Braves. It was during these years that Marcia Byerly lived in New York and attended or watched many a Mets game and no doubt watched Don Cardwell pitch. Sam Singer was at the final game of the 1969 World Series when the Mets won. Don Cardwell was there for that too. A dubious connection, but there’s more.
In January of 1973, Marcia’s parents, Sam and Martha, moved from New York to Winston-Salem. Sam found employment and they rented a house for a while until they later bought one.
Later that year, Marcia also also decided to leave the big metropolis of New York and moved to Winston-Salem. She worked at a bank as a teller for a while and had her own apartment.
Not long after arriving there, she met Philip Byerly at the bank. They got married soon after and began their life together.
In 1977, their world changed. Sam, only 63 years old, died instantly from a massive heart attack one night. Marcia was not employed at this time but was trying to find a job related to her art talents. She had not succeeded at this so far. When the dust cleared and the funeral over, she worried about her mother, only 56 at this time, and how she was going to make it without her husband. For some reason, this made Marcia decide to find another job of any kind so if her mother needed financial help, she would be in a position to do that.
Phil was working at a Chevrolet dealership at the time and Marcia landed an office position at a Ford dealership. At the interview she asked the lady if his working at the competition would be a problem, but apparently it wasn’t. So she began working there in Winston-Salem at Parkway Ford.
Can you guess who also was working there? Don Cardwell! He had retired from baseball in 1970 and no doubt wanted to do something else with his time so he was a car salesman. He was very tall, extremely personable and friendly. He and Marcia talked some about his baseball days and he still wore the 1969 World Series ring he got from that time. It was quite impressive! Phil came to visit at Parkway Ford and met with Don again. They talked about the time when Don had come Phil’s school.
Marcia later left Parkway Ford to work in the printing industry and never saw Don Cardwell again.
Sad to say, Don Cardwell died January 14, 2008.
However, the connection didn’t quite end there! While at a Winston-Salem Dash game in 2010, Marcia and Phil heard an older lady talking about Don Cardwell and their ears perked up. They brazenly asked her about it and it turned out she was his wife, Sylvie! We told her of our connection and she enjoyed hearing about it.
It just goes to prove, it’s a small world.