Woodie Fryman, who played major-league baseball for 18 years before moving back home to Kentucky to continue farming, died Friday at St. Joseph Hospital in Lexington, apparently of a heart ailment.
Mr. Fryman, who had Alz heimer's disease for the past several years, was 70 and lived in Ewing in Fleming County.
Known as the "Fleming Flame," Mr. Fryman, a left-handed pitcher, began his professional career in 1965 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Detroit Tigers, Montreal Expos, Cincinnati Reds (1977) and Chicago Cubs. He ended his career with the Expos; his final game was July 28, 1983.
He was a two-time National League All-Star — in 1968 and 1976 — and his career included four one-hitters.
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Mr. Fryman, a Fleming County native with an eighth-grade education, grew up on a farm and expected to be a farmer all of his life. He spent his spare time in the spring and summer playing baseball.
"He just played sandlot baseball and was extra good," his widow, Phyllis Fryman, said.
It was while he was pitching for the Flemingsburg Aces that Mr. Fryman's talent was noticed by those in the professional baseball world.
"Scouts would come and watch him. He went to a few tryout camps. It was a totally different era back then than it is now," Phyllis Fryman said.
Mr. Fryman was 25 when he was tapped by the Pirates.
"That was old for the major leagues, so they put his age back to 23," his widow said. "But everybody here knew the difference."
Mr. Fryman's first game as a starting player for the Pirates was against the Los Angeles Dodgers, his widow recalled.
"He beat Don Drysdale, who at the time was a first-class pitcher," she said.
While Mr. Fryman's formal schooling was cut short, he got his education traveling.
"You get a lot of it doing that," Phyllis Fryman said.
Mr. Fryman returned to Kentucky to raise cattle, tobacco, corn and hay after his career ended. He was a member of the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame and the Expos Hall of Fame.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Jeff Fryman and Pat Fryman, both of Ewing; a sister; five grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.
Services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday at Price Brothers Funeral Home in Elizaville. Visitation will be 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home.