Remembering Perry

If you’re reading this, you’ve most likely responded to my call for memories of Perry. Rachael Springfield Bumpus passed along this as a Father’s Day surprise for Gordon. I thought Facebook probably isn’t the best place to keep something secret so…

Here’s the story from Rachael:

Hi everyone. I have a special request that I am helping out with and hope you all can help out if you can. We all remember Perry Tyler, some of you might not know that he and I were first cousins. Perry has a brother, Gordon that is all grown up and has a family of his own. His wife has asked me to help out with some memories of Perry and or pictures for Gordon. She is making a memory book for Father’s Day for Gordy. I am going to put her request on here with all her information. If you can think of anyone else that would like to help out please pass the info on. I really appreciate any help that you can give! Thanks!!

…and from Gordon’s wife, Traci:

i want to make a little memory book for Gordy that has stories and maybe some pics of Perry. He doesn’t remember much about his brother and loves to hear stories about him and things they did together too. I thought I’d try to surprise him for Fathers’ Day with it.

If you don’t mind, if you think of any stories or know of anyone, can you have them message me on FB or email me the stories or pics to tracitw@gmail.com, please?

I’ve left comments open below if you want to add your own story here. Get in touch with me and I’ll post any pictures you have as well. I’ll send them along all at once, or you can send it to Traci Tyler at the email above. Some browsers might not show the email above correctly. If it doesn’t look quite right, that’s due to some code that protects it from mail-collecting spammers. You can always send me a note and I’ll send you the email address. Thanks!

Here’s my story…

A Boy Named Bull

Bull…that’s what we called Perry in high school. I’ve forgotten many things from the late 80’s, like exactly how he got that nickname. I remember that he was proud of it, and it certainly fit him. His hulking, lean figure was intimidating, and you knew that if you messed around with the bull, you might get the horns. But I don’t remember anyone that brought that out in him. With his nearly ever-present smile and friendly nature, everyone liked him.

Most of my memories of Perry now are on the baseball field. Perry and I competed for our own personal home run derby during our last year of Little League. We both pitched, and we both could pound the ball. I don’t remember who won, but I know the home run count was in double digits, and we had a lot of fun with it. By our sophomore year, when Coach Gilliam tried to give everyone a “textbook” swing, my bat got weaker, but Perry’s was better than ever.

There are a lot of little memories from those days of high school baseball. Most are now a bit fuzzy and incomplete. There’s one, though, that I can still see in my mind like it was yesterday.

I was pitching that day at the park in Dixon, and Bull was playing first base. The lefty at the plate was ready for my fastball, and ripped a hot line drive down the first base line. Bull was quick, but he didn’t have time to get a glove on the ball. He really didn’t have time to move much at all. I heard the crack of the bat, and then a smack!

From his down-and-ready position, Bull had just enough time to reach up with his bare right hand and grab that line drive just above his shoulder! Most people brave enough to even try that would cushion the blow a bit. Not Bull. That ball may as well have hit a brick wall. What I knew of the laws of physics—that stuff about inertia, action and reaction—didn’t mean anything in that moment.

Time didn’t matter either. It seemed to freeze for a couple of seconds as he held the ball for everyone to see. Any jaw that hadn’t dropped already certainly fell when he calmly stood up and tossed the ball back to me. He turned around, kicked the dirt a bit as if to settle back in, and looked toward home plate, ready for the next batter.

We finished the inning, and when I got back to the dugout, I was sure that his hand would be swollen and discolored…possibly broken. He just sat down like nothing had happened. I said, “Bull…you okay? Didn’t that hurt?” He said, “Oh yeah. It hurts.” Then he grinned as he looked out toward the field where the other team had taken their positions. “But I’m not going to let them know it!”

11 Comments

  1. I remember having Biology class with Perry and like Jeff, I remember that smile. Whatever was going on in my day, I looked so forward to that Biology class because his sweet voice and smile could cheere right up!! We sat beside each other and I don’t think we learned much about Biology, but I had found a true friend!! Perry was liked by everyone. He had the best personality and sweetest smile!! Of course, it helped a little that he was pretty easy on the eyes too!!

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  2. My most vivid memories of Perry were in Sunday School classes along with Jeff Moser. Being from a small church, our class usually consisted of just the three of us with TImmy Dunn being our teacher. I can still see him in my mind leaning back on two legs of a folding chair. He had his 80’s harcut and a smile that would win your heart. Although he was quiet mannered, he was kind to all and liked by all.

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    • Thank you!!!!

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  3. Thank you all so much for doing this! I am so excited to do this for Gordy and know that he will love it. My email address cut off in the message above so I wanted to get it on here again just in case someone preferred to email their story. It’s tracitw@gmail.com.

    Again, thank you. It means a lot that you all are helping me with this!

    Traci

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  4. For Jon Garrett

    This is Jon Garrett. I had the privilege of playing baseball with Perry. He was an awesome teammate, person and friend. Hardly a day goes by I don’t think of him. I remember Gordie serving as our batboy and all the fun we had with him. One story that always stands out in my mind came from a game at the city park in Dixon.

    Perry was strong beyond belief. He didn’t even realize how strong. I believe it was 1987- our junior year- and we were playing Owensboro Catholic, which had won the state tournament the prior year.

    I batted second in the lineup and Perry hit third. Early in the game I managed to get on base and Perry came to bat. He could hit to all fields but he loved hitting the ball to the right side…that was his power alley. As I took my lead off first, Perry hit a line drive that froze me in my tracks as I didn’t want to get doubled off. The second baseman timed his leap and just missed the ball. Sounds routine, right? Anything but. The same ball that the infielder thought he had a play on, kept climbing and going, and going. It was a “rope” in the true sense of the term. The ball easily cleared the fence some 340 ft away and hit a tree while it was still climbing. After the game, the OC guy who played second said it was the hardest ball he had ever seen hit. To this day, I have to agree….. I love Perry. He was the “Bull” and he was my friend.

    Jon

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  5. In 8th grade Perry was one of the winners of the science fair with his tornado – I won with comparative anatomy of fish and frog – we had a fun filled week in St Louis!!!

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    • Thank you, Terri!

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  6. Had alot of memories with perry and can say that he was my best friend. Got to know him when we were lil guys because our dads worked together for a hundred years at cresline. Our dads started taking us hunting together when we were probably 7 or 8. Every morning when we duck or goose hunted, we ALWAYS had to stop on the way there so perry could puke. Never could understand why, guess it was nerves before the hunt. I think he passed that tradition on to his lol brother Gordy because he done the same thing when he got older. One of the funniest things I remember was when we would go hunting, all the hunters would stop at the ez shop early in the morning. My dad and I met Richard and perry there one morning to get out drinks and food for the day. FYI perry was a nutty bar king!!!! At 5 that morning when we met up with them there, perry was teasing around with my dad in the store. When we got to the front counter my dad grabbed ahold of him and was wrestling around with in the front door of the store. Dad was holding him down and all the hunters coming in had to step over them to get in the store. They were all wondering what was going on and dad just told them he was teaching this young whipper snapper that he could still whoop him no matter how big he got. Funniest s*** I’d seen!

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  7. Thank you, Kevin! If you or your family have any pictures or other stories, please feel free to send the pics to me at tracitw@gmail.com.

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  8. “Bull” you da’Man

    Well I transferred to Webster County mid way thru my freshman year from Providence High School. The biggest reason was to play Baseball at WC, as Providence had an 8 game baseball schedule. Through baseball at WC I gained a tremendous unbelievable talented teammate we all came to know and love, which was Perry Neal Tyler–“BULL #20”
    Perry and I talked often as we had I think every class together in 1986-87 school year and we dreamed of playing in the State Tourney. We finished above 500 that year in baseball, record was 15-9, I believe not sure. Well going into our senior year we had HIGH expectations VERY high! We were expected not only to compete with Henderson but to defeat them. Perry said MANY MANY times in class that year. If someone on this team does not work hard every single drill at practice or every play in a game they will have to answer to me. Not many people wanted to tangle with the “BULL” if he was upset. Unfortunately “BULL” did not get the chance to kick some ass that year as we lost one of the most unbelievable talented individuals I have witnessed play the game, just RAW STRENGTH and POWER to the right center!!!
    Perry as most of you will remember was also very much a ladies’ man and would let us guys know how many girl friends ole Bull had or at least say he had ..lol
    Perry talked briefly about transferring to Henderson as “BULL” was dating Coach Wayne’s (Henderson Coach) daughter. I told “BULL” you transfer and first pitch I throw against you in a Henderson uniform is at your Head to knock some sense back into you! You are a Trojan and we got something special going here this is our time “BULL” he would give me that shit eating grin and say I am staying put JMay!
    I do wonder at times what the outcome would have been if “BULL” would have transferred to Henderson; but GOD has a plan we do not always understand the plan and it’s very difficult as I type this with tears in my eyes thinking about my friend Perry.
    He loved little “Gordy” his little brother and our “bat boy” during our high school playing days together. As everyone knows Gordy played baseball with passion and was one of the best if not the best baseball player to date to come out of Webster County. He went on to play for UK and had a very successful career.
    I will close with this as I could go on for awhile life comes full circle as Gordy graduated college I was blessed by being able to play softball with a kid that was the “bat boy” for our high school team and the little brother of a dear friend to us all that we lost way to early in life! I was given Perry’s 1st base mit after he passed as I moved to 1st full time that year when I was not pitching. I used that same glove to catch piss rockets from Gordy in softball for 3-4 years (Gordy you throw a hell of a lot harder than Big Brother “BULL”) Perry thought he could pitch but he was NOT a pitcher. Anytime Providence scores 9 runs on you know you can’t pitch…LOL

    When Perry “BULL” Tyler was taken from us I was devastated along with our whole team as we never recovered that season and finished below 500. We wore “BLACK “BULL” patches on our sleeves but the loss of our leader was too tough on us WC boys and we missed him dearly that year. I named my first and only son “TYLER” in honor of Perry and for you that know my son –9yrs old—he is a fierce competitor on the diamond and when he starts lacking in effort as we all do from time to time I may just need to remind him why His name is “TYLER” and I may have to make a call to Da’Man in the heavens above so he can answer to “BULL” for not working hard every single drill at practice or every play in a game .

    HAPPY FATHERS DAY, GORDY!
    I hope you get some enjoyment from reading the stories shared! Your brother was one hell of baseball player; but more importantly he was one hell of a person!

    Disregard all mistakes as writing is not my forte…LOL

    JMay

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  9. I have so many fond memories of Perry Neal Tyler that I really don’t know how to begin! He along with Jeff Moser and Benny Sauls were like my older brothers that took me everywhere and taught me so many things such as driving at age 14! Despite being 2 grades ahead of me, we had three classes and lunch together his senior year. He would come over and do his math and chemistry homework at my house. Afterwards we would cruise around Sebree Springs or just go to the Dairy Bar for ice cream. He loved to deer and duck hunt as well as play baseball! But, most importantly he loved you! He talked about you all the time. He loved when we would take you and my brother Josh to get ice cream. I can still see him sitting in my parents small chair with you on one knee and Josh on the other knee reading a book or listening to Josh’s Teddy Ruxpin singing some silly song. Thus, he was never too busy or to cool to do the small things that made a huge impact even to a small child.
    Gordon, your brother also taught me how to shoot a bow for my advanced PE class. I was a straight A student who was flunking the archery component of our class. I couldn’t even hit the target once during classtime. The test was coming up and in order to pass you had to at least hit the target. You got an automatic A if you hit a bullseye. I was freaking out but your brother taught me how to master it though! The day of the test I hit a bullseye! All the others including Mr Pendelton couldn’t believe it! Your brother was so proud!
    Another interesting fact is that your brother believed in the myth of Bigfoot. In fact that was his topic for his senior research paper. I can still remember the day he told me about picking Bigfoot as his topic. I totally cracked up! To this day, I think of him when I hear or watch anything about Bigfoot, eat ice cream, hunt, watch baseball or look at my son! For I too named my son, “Tyler”, after one of my dearest friends, your brother, Perry Neal Tyler! Gone but not forgotten!

    Hope you are doing well Gordon! God Bless you and your family!
    Tara

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