In honor of this holiday weekend — today is Easter, and it’s also Passover this weekend — in which family plays a huge part, I’ll do a short post about an interview I did late last week …
Apparently word got out inside the family of Gentleman Dave Malarcher that I’m looking to speak with some of his surviving relatives. That prompted Alvin Malarcher, Dave’s grand-nephew, to call me from his home in Tacoma, Wash., where he now lives after a career in the Air Force.
Alvin’s grandfather, Valentine Malarcher, was Dave’s brother. Alvin, like much of the Malarcher family, grew up in Convent, La. He’s now 66 years old and retired from the aviation industry.
Because Dave Malarcher spent the final two-thirds of his life living in Chicago as a real estate agent after retiring from baseball, Alvin only met his great uncle two or three times, when the latter would visit his hometown in St. James Parish occasionally, such as when Dave’s mother passed away in 1956.
“He didn’t make too many trips down there,” Alvin says.
But even though Alvin didn’t get to know Dave Malarcher too well, he was around the Negro Leagues legend enough to realize he was a special man.
“He was a very calm person,” Alvin says of his great uncle, “a very soft-spoken person.”
Alvin says that among his own siblings, he himself was the only one to play baseball like Dave Malarcher. “So I guess I followed him,” Alvin says warmly.
Alvin adds that he himself “used to go [to Convent] quite often, every year or two, but now that I’m older I don’t travel very much. But I still have a lot of sisters and a couple brothers there.”
Alvin’s own life coincidentally intersected with something I’ve written about before — military baseball in the Pacific Northwest. That included teams from McChord Air Base, where Alvin Malarcher happened to be stationed at one point, a stint that helped him decide to retire to that area. Afte2r leaving the USAF, Alvin worked for Boeing, frequently visited his nephew in British Columbia (which is also where Alvin met his wife), and worked at the USPS for many years before retiring in 2010.
But Alvin still feels intimately connected to St. James Parish, as well as his famous great uncle. And is the family proud of its Negro Leagues legend?
“There’s no doubt about that,” Alvin says.