, Derry, New Hampshire


September 26, 2013

Column: Pitcher learned the importance of good dental hygiene


The team doctor examined the Derry southpaw and diagnosed the pain as coming from neuritis. This condition, an inflammation of the nerves, may be brought about by a tumor or by scarred connective tissues. Even today with severe cases of neuritis the normal functioning of an arm may never be restored. The doctor told Lefty his career was over likely over. The Cubs’ management was particularly depressed. With Tyler’s departure, they had lost their best left-handed pitcher and who was expected to win at least 20 games that season.

Veeck decided he had to give it one last shot and sent a telegraph to Lefty ordering the pitcher to board the next train to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.. The doctors there were ordered to spare no expense in finding out what wrong with the superstar. Lefty was given every test the clinic’s doctors could think of. Finally, after days of prodding and poking, the physicians proclaimed Tyler (6 feet tall and weighing 175 pounds) to be a perfect specimen of manhood. They could find absolutely no sign of neuritis or even arthritis.

The only fault they could find with the mighty Lefty Tyler was that he had very bad teeth. A dozen X-rays of his jaw revealed that most of his jaw was suffering from a massive infection. The physicians theorized that if Lefty would have the bad teeth removed the pain in his arm would disappear. He agreed and soon George had only two teeth left in his jaw. He stayed at the clinic for a few days extra to “cleanse his blood of the poison” from the infected teeth.

The dental solution worked. Next February, Lefty Tyler reported to the Cubs’ spring training at Hot Springs, Ark. He seemed back to his old form. Newspapers across the nation reported that “Veeck and Mitchell are happier than they have been in a long time, for the verdict is that Tyler’s pitching days are not over.”

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