Ed lucas

For the baseball player, see Ed Lucas (baseball).

Edward Lucas (born January 3, 1939 in Jersey City, New Jersey) is a blind sports writer, broadcaster and motivational speaker.[1]

As a reporter for the New York Mets and the New York Yankees, Lucas has covered the playoffs, the World Series and the All Star games. He has interviewed hundred of sports figures and celebrities over his fifty-five-year career. Ed has worked as a syndicated radio personality and columnist and has been inducted into the New Jersey Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame. In 2008 Seton Hall University with the support of WCBS 880 AM — the Yankees Radio Network created [2] Strikeouts for Scholarships, a scholarship program for disabled students in honor of Ed Lucas.

Early years and education

On October 3, 1951, after watching the New York Giants defeat the Brooklyn Dodgers to win the National League Pennant, Ed Lucas, a boy of twelve, went out to play baseball with his friends. He was struck in face by a line drive and subsequently lost his sight.[3] Depressed and scared about his future as a blind person, Ed pictured himself as a helpless soul standing on the corner with a cup and a cane selling pencils. His mother did two things that changed his life. First, she enrolled him in Saint Joseph’s School for the Blind, a revolutionary institute run by disciplinarian nuns who believed that blind people could do anything they set out to do if they could learn to be independent and have self-confidence.[4] A “no cup or cane” mentality was instilled.

At the same time, his mother wrote letters to Leo Durocher, the manager of the NY Giants, and to Bobby Thomson, the home run hero, explaining what had happened to Ed, and how his love of baseball was the only thing lifting his spirits. Durocher invited Ed to be his guest at the Polo Grounds for the 1952 season. Yankees star Phil Rizzuto, who worked at a New Jersey clothing shop in the off season, heard about Ed’s story, and also befriended him.[5] This friendship lasted a lifetime, until Phil Rizzuto's death in 2007.

After graduating from Saint Joseph’s School for the Blind, Ed attended the New York Institute for the Blind where he organized a baseball club called the “Diamond Dusters”. Major League stars such as Jackie Robinson and Lindy McDaniel visited the school to talk baseball and to read the sports pages to the students.

Ed Lucas enrolled in Seton Hall University, earning a degree in communications in 1962.[6] He was one of the first blind students in the country to do so. While at Seton Hall Ed started writing about baseball. He also attended games in New York, lugging a reel-to-reel tape recorder to interview players. In college, he had his own radio show, “Around the Bases With Ed Lucas.”

Marriage, fatherhood, and custody battle

In October 1965, Lucas got married.[7] Shortly after that, two sons - Edward M. Lucas and Christopher Lucas - were born. In 1972, his wife walked out on the marriage, leaving him alone with two little boys to raise. His family who pitched in and helped him with the housekeeping and child rearing duties. At the same time, the New York Yankees were starting to regain prominence, and his workload became heavier. Ed still managed to balance both lives, while buying a larger house for his boys, his mother and sister.

In September 1979, after seven years, Ed’s ex-wife came back and announced that she was seeking full and complete custody of the boys. Ed went to court to and fought a long custody battle, as the case made its way up to the New Jersey Supreme Court. Witness after witness, friends and famous people alike, came forward to testify that he had done a good job raising his sons alone for seven years. On September 25, 1980, history was made when Ed Lucas was awarded full and complete custody of his children. No male in New Jersey had ever won full custody from a female, and no disabled person in the United States had ever won full custody from a non-disabled spouse.[8]

Career

After graduating from college Ed was able to land coveted print and broadcast jobs covering the major league teams in New York City. As a blind baseball reporter Ed Lucas faced many challenges. He developed an ability to determine where a hit ball will go just by the sound it makes coming off of the bat. Ed typically sat in the press box and listened to the local radio broadcast of the game. Then after the game he went on to the field, to the locker room or press area and interviewed players about what happened during the game – perhaps an extraordinary play or call or any incident that may have been out of the ordinary.

Ed has had the opportunity to interview many athletes and sports figures including Joe Dimaggio, Mickey Mantle, Ron Guidry, Lindy McDaniel, Dave Righetti, Monte Irvin, Alvin Dark, Bobby Thomson, Willie Mays, Tommy Lasorda, Jorge Posada, Frank Robinson, Orel Hershiser, Thurman Munson, Darryl Strawberry, Willie Randolph, Ray Negron among many others. Ed has also interviewed celebrities and politicians including Rudy Giuliani, President Bill Clinton, Gov. Brendan Byrne, Robin Williams, Ron Howard, Penny Marshall, and Gov. Jon Corzine.

He has had articles published in a wide range of newspapers and magazines and his commentary and interviews have been broadcast on syndicated radio. More recently his interviews have also been featured on YouTube.

Ed Lucas has also worked in the insurance industry. In 1985, Ed became the first layperson to be appointed to the board of St. Joseph’s School for the Blind, where he worked tirelessly to raise funds for the completion of a state of the art 21st century facility. Together with his longtime friend Saint Joseph’s School for the Blind.

Marriage at home plate in Yankee Stadium

In the late 1980s, Ed was introduced by Penny Marshall was a guest at the wedding, and has expressed an interest in bringing Ed’s life story to the silver screen. Ed's sons and their families were in attendance. Ed’s two sons now have families of their own, and he now has three grandchildren.

Honors and recognition

In 1995, Ed was inducted into the New Jersey Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame, alongside a class that included Super Bowl winning quarterback Joe Theismann and Baseball Hall of Famer Larry Doby. In 2001, Ed was honored to be chosen, along with his sons, as one of the inspirational people to carry the Olympic flame through the streets of New York City on its way to the 2002 Winter Olympics.

The Msgr. William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center in conjunction at [3]

Strikeouts for Scholarships, a scholarship program for disabled students in honor of Ed Lucas.

In 2008-2009, Lucas won an Emmy Award for his work with YESNetwork.com.[9] Ed has a show with the network's website, called the Ed Lucas Show in which he discusses stories of adversity with different players and celebrities.

On July 7, 2009, Ed Lucas was inducted into the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame,[10] along with longtime Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley, broadcaster Vin Scully, sluggers Steve Garvey and Paul O'Neill, and umpire Jim Joyce. Also in attendance will be Eddie's favorite nephew Eamon Nally. Eamon along with Eddie works to raise money for St. Joe's School for the Blind every year. Eamon a Police Officer with the Jersey City Police Department's "Gang Unit" often jokes with Eddie saying that he (Eamon) will be his personal security detail as he keeps growing in popularity.

Motivational speaking

Lucas has spoken at hundreds of corporations and associations. His stories of his years as a blind sport’s writer are inspirational, funny and full of life’s lessons. He also speaks on overcoming disabilities in the work place - how corporations can and need to change. Ed also speaks on having a disability, how conditions are changing for the better in America and what more needs to be done.

References

External links

  • http://www.edlucas.org
  • NY Times - Baseball Stole His Eyes, but Not His Passion
  • Today Show - Baseball a field of dreams for blind reporter
  • Seton Hall Honors Alum/Baseball Reporter Ed Lucas
  • A home run for Ed Lucas