#971: The Blizzard by Jim Reeves
James Travis Reeves was born in 1923 at home on a farm between Galloway and Deadwood, in East Texas. The youngest of eight children, Reeves was known as Travis during his upbringing. His dad died when he was ten months old. When he was five years old he learned to play on a guitar he borrowed from an older brother. When he turned nine he bought his own guitar and learned more about guitar picking from an oilfield cook. He won an athletic scholarship to the University of Texas and studied speech and drama. His studies helped him deal with a stammer. However, out of necessity, he left his studies during his first semester for work in the Houston shipyards. In time he began to play in a semi-professional baseball league, prior to joining the roster of a farm team for the St. Louis Cardinals. In 1944 Reeves was a pitcher for the farm team. In his third year in the minor leagues, Reeves severed his sciatic nerve while pitching. This put an end to his athletic career. Reeves next turned his attention to radio and got a job at a station in Henderson, Texas.