After 70 years an old ball from the 1948 Muskogee Reds baseball team is returned to the children of the locally-known pitcher, Buck Ross.
Buck Ross was a pitcher for the Muskogee Reds in the 1940s and 50s. His kids have collected memorabilia over the years from that time but most recently, they were gifted this baseball with their dad's signature right on the bottom.
"He brought this and said hey, I ran across this and realized hey, this was your dad's ball, and I want you to have this," said Larry Ross.
Ross says a friend from church found this old baseball in his wife's closet after she passed away.
"Well, I kinda got weak-kneed because I realized this was a 1948 ball," said Ross.
Leolin Ross known as Buck played baseball in the marines and pitched for the Muskogee Reds for about five years starting in 1947. He even pitched against Mickey Mantle when he was still in the minors.
"He remembered everything about every significant game he played in," said Buck's daughter Francie Wright. "He claimed that he struck out Mickey Mantle, so that could've happened in Mantle's early days."
Buck passed away in 2007 but he never lost his love for the game.
"How important was that time of his life to him?" "Oh wow. It was everything. It defined him, I think," said Larry Ross. "Even at age 70, he'd do 100 pushups like, nothing to 'em."
"He said, that's no problem, I'm an athlete. He really thought he was an athlete 'til the day he died," said Wright.
Over the years, his kids Larry, Francie, and LeighAnn collected pictures, newspaper clippings, old pay stubs and even tracked down this old Muskogee Reds uniform at a local antique shop.
But they say to receive this old ball 70 years after their dad autographed it is truly priceless.