The Mechanical Man

Jun 28, 2012

By John Zehnder, CEC, ACE, HGT, AAC

When I think of Detroit Tigers baseball, three names come to mind; Ty Cobb, Al Kaline and Charlie Gehringer. Charlie Gehringer, named the all-time greatest second baseman in 1969, was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1949. Charlie played second base for the Tigers from 1924-1942 and served as the Tigers General Manager from 1951-1953 and Vice President from 1951-1959. He earned the nickname “Mechanical Man” for his precision efforts both at second base and at the plate.

Charlie Gehringer and his wife Josephine were also long time diners here at Zehnder’s. Zehnder’s Restaurant’s interior designers, Dave Zeese and Don Nagel, were close friends with the Gehringer’s and regularly brought them to Frankenmuth for dinner on Sundays. I often stopped by to visit with them at their table. Charlie, famous for being a man of few words, seemed to relish the conversation and stories of others. As the years went by, I got to know them quite well. Charlie, still physically fit well into his 80’s, was always the proper gentleman. I frequently thought about buying a baseball and the next time the Gehringers came to Zehnder’s, I’d have Charlie sign it. But…I never did.

As the years go by, the baseball that never got signed becomes less important than the memories. As an avid Tiger baseball fan, I can honestly say that I personally knew one of the greatest legends in professional baseball! To me, that’s worth a whole lot more than a baseball sitting on a shelf.

The Zehnder’s Heirloom Sour Cream Cucumber is a great summer recipe for those hot, humid days when alll you want is something cold to eat. Click here to purchase the recipe.


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