All the Game's Wild Glory
In the spring of 1950, Grantland Rice wrote a column dedicated to athletic comebacks and praised Waitkus for his heroic return to the Phillies:
I'm going back again— Perhaps to find the wraith of something lost. To miss the contest, and the strife of men, And all the game's wild glory, with its cost. To certain vanished mornings, slashed with gold, To shadows blown at deep dusk from the hills,
I'm going back again before I'm old, Beyond the field of fortune and its thrills. I'm going back some day. Through ghosts and shadows of a losing fight, Or cheering crowds that might hold one at bay, To find, beyond it all, the peaceful night Of quiet valleys, or some friendly lane, Where one can hear forgotten songs resung, As far, white roads re-echo the refrain Of April mornings when the world was young.
“At the end of 54 games last summer, ” Rice wrote, “Waitkus was hitting .306, when a bullet came within a breath or two of ending his life. And here he's back in a mental and psychological upheaval as well as physical rejuvenation…. He gave three years to the war. So he is no kid. But he has been outhustling the kids all spring. The wound in his back, from which spot the bullet was removed is six inches long and at least one inch deep.