STRATFORD, Conn. — Mr. Laurynd S. Mentus passed away peacefully at The Connecticut Hospice in Branford, Conn., on Sunday November 14, 2010. Laurynd was born in Waterbury, Conn., to the late Alexsandra (Kalasnik) Mentus and Stephen Mentus.
A natural athlete, his favorite sports were baseball and basketball. He was a star varsity player for both sports in high school (Watertown High School class of 1961), where he was a top scorer in basketball, won sportsmanship awards and was voted "Most Athletic" in his graduating class.
After high school he continued to be an outstanding amateur baseball player, where he was once voted the Most Valuable Player in the Pomperaug league. He also had a passion for golf and played regularly all of his adult life. Laurynd was a proud and loyal father who cherished his time with his daughter. He was a kind, generous, humorous man who loved to spend time with friends and family. He had a successful career as a general merchandise buyer where he traveled and made many friends. He loved the New York Yankees, Cape Cod, dogs, making his "world famous antipasto" and going out to great restaurants with loved ones.
He looks the same to me since I last saw him in 1965, that is, the way he carries himself with that proud head-up look.
We were at Deland Field. There were 3 of us he was taking a look at, and we had the field to ourselves, plus an assistant he brought with him. Though we'd had tryouts a couple of days earlier with an army of players-to-be, he wanted to take a closer look at us since he had the 1st pick in the upcoming Babe Ruth draft. I felt privileged and even confident when he said the first thing we'd do is have a footrace. I rarely lost footraces since I'd grown long legs and into my 6'2" body. (I remember this very well) He lined us up near home plate and had us run towards 1st base, though not on the dirt but on the grass. On "go" I ranhardhardharderfasterfastercomeonwowtheseguysarebothfastmoremoremoreharderharderyoucantlosemoremore...wow...finished 2nd by a nose, and won by a nose. Really close, but I didn't win. In fact, so close that if he saw it a different way, it wouldn't have shocked me. As it was, he had me race #3 again, and we had the exact same result. Next he put us in the outfield.
Laurynd put me in LF, #1 in CF, and #3 in RF. I guess his thinking was the fastest runner should play in the middle, but he was really splitting hairs here. He stood near 2B and hit fly balls and grounders to each of us to get a sense on how we fielded and threw towards 2B. I made all of my throws on one hop to the base, even if not far away. Then he hit from home plate and had us throw towards home. He had a cutoff man which I threw to each time but the others did not, choosing instead to air-mail their throws. I didn't have any where near the arm of either of them, so my choice was made for me. I don't think I've mentioned it, but I throw righty.
Then he had us hit. I hit for a long, long time, long enough to remember almost, (almost!) asking to stop from sore hands, but knew that couldn't happen so I just kept on. I hit better than I ever had; farther, too. There's a fence there now, but there wasn't then, just a pond; and I'm guessing it's 320-330 in RF. Now, I didn't fly anything into the water but kept the fielders back there for a while.
The next day in school the talk amongst my friends was just who was this guy, (remember, no internet, cellphones, etc) and no one had ever heard of tryouts for Babe Ruth, etc. Someone said he heard he was in the Cardinal's Organization, but no, another was certain he played AA for the Pirates.
Just happened to look down here , havent for a looooong time and started reading. Sorry to read of this Jorge. My thoughts and prayers are with you, sincerely. Also enjoyed reading your childhood memories, Brought back many of my own in the mid 60's.
I mentioned this to your old nemisis Jimmy and he read through this and asked me to extend the same wishes to you from him.