It is interesting how sometimes you make friends, they move away, and you never know if you will ever hear from them again. But you probably never wonder, will their child become famous.
In about 1990, Phil and Ellen Maton moved to Metropolis. He worked at National State Bank, and Ellen taught at Joppa High School. She was also quite an artist.
But my connection to Ellen was volleyball. At that time I was trying to get more exercise and, although I had never played volleyball as a youngster, it seemed to offer benefits for me. Shawnee Community College offered a class at one of the Metropolis schools, and quite a few people became interested. The churches were also having volleyball teams, some of which were excellent.
So I decided The Metropolis Planet needed a volleyball team. Luckily there were several staffers interested in playing, even though none of us had played much before. We needed a ringer. That is where Ellen came in. I was able to recruit her to be our unofficial player/coach.
Of course, we didn’t have a proper place to practice, nor much time to do so. But we did find ways to work in a little competition.
We thought we were really big time when there was a tournament at the Massac County Youth Fair. The only trouble was the church teams were well oiled machines, with lots of experience.
By having Ellen Maton’s experience, and the added height from Steve Farmer, we did win some games, and had great fun.
Unfortunately, the Matons did not stay in Metropolis very long. He landed a job at a Springfield bank and they moved to central Illinois, where they have remained.
While living in Metropolis, Ellen did have their first son in one of the Paducah hospitals. I think he is Phillip III.
I had not thought about the Matons in some time but Becky Lambert mentioned on Facebook the other night that the Phil Maton pitching for the Houston Astros is the same one who, as a baby, lived on Crestview Drive.
Young Phil grew up in the Springfield area, played baseball for the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, and was drafted in 2015 by the San Diego Padres. He was traded to Cleveland, and then to the Astros.
Not being a big pro baseball fan, I have not seen all the games played in this World Series. I did see young Phil as a reliever in Sunday night’s game. He sure looked good to me.
My experience in organized baseball was one year of little league, where I pitched a few games, but usually played short stop. Watching Sunday night’s game, I wondered how a pitcher in a world championship game can stand the pressure of throwing to some of the best hitters in the world.
And it was fascinating to think I was watching a young man who once lived just two blocks from where I was sitting.