Bruce Springsteen Reveals ‘Glory Days’ Pitcher’s Real Name
The identity of one of Bruce Springsteen's most famous song characters, the pitcher in 'Glory Days,' has reportedly finally been revealed.
You know, the friend who "was a big baseball player / Back in high school," who "could throw that speedball by you / Make you look like a fool?"
Well, his true identity has remained somewhat elusive. Until now. The New York Times reports that Springsteen has revealed that the hurler's name was Joe DePugh.
Here's a mini bio of DePugh: He was the oldest of six boys, a Little League star and a Springsteen teammate in the Babe Ruth League. He used to call right fielder Springsteen "Saddie." A nickname that is a far cry from "the Boss."
DePugh, who was once invited to try out for the Los Angeles Dodgers, revealed that Springsteen "lost interest in baseball, and I was nothing but sports." But DePugh didn't take his make-you-look-foolish fastball to the big leagues, because he went to college and became legal guardian to his youngest brothers when his parents died.
He eventually moved to Vermont, only hearing Springsteen's music on the radio, while on the job. DePugh's friend Scott Wright alerted him to the 1984-released 'Born in the USA' song in which he is immortalized.
"He told me, 'Springsteen has a new album out, and there's a song on there about you,'" DePugh said. He was skeptical until he heard it. "My wife starts bawling," DePugh recalled. "That's how I knew exactly that it was me."
Once he became a bit of a local lyrical legend, DePugh was recruited for a baseball league for older gents at the age of 50. "When I showed up for the first practice that summer, these guys would come up to me and feel the sleeve of my shirt, and say: 'Oh, you're real. We thought you were a legend.'"
With baseball back in his life, DePugh unfortunately did not run into Springsteen at their 35th high school reunion in 2002, but a mutual classmate united them at a May 2005 lunch. In New Jersey, of course. "Bruce pulls in and I point at him and he points at me, and that's when the hugging started," DePugh said.
He and "the Boss" linked up again a few years ago. Yes, in the Garden State. "He said, 'Always remember, I love you. ...and I pointed at him and said, 'I love you, too, and I'm real proud of you.'"
Watch Bruce Springsteen's Video for 'Glory Days'