Visalia native Robert “Bob” Talbot was the first from the Visalia Club to be called up to the bigs
VISALIA – The Visalia Rawhide organization has lost one of its original members. Visalia native Robert “Bob” Talbot passed away two weeks ago at the age of 90. A memorial service was held for him last Saturday, Nov. 11, at Hadley-Marcom Funeral Chapel.
Talbot became a true trailblazer in the sport of baseball when he became the first alumni of the Visalia organization to make it to the big leagues. His career began when he played for the Visalia Cubs for two seasons, 1946-1947. After a seven-year minor league career he got the call on September 26, 1953, to the play for the Chicago Cubs. He made his first start alongside another recent call-up: future Hall of Famer Ernie Banks.
All done, considering Talbot never played organized baseball before trying out for the Visalia organization.
Talbot left high school at the age of 15 to join the Merchant Marines where he manned a supply ship in multiple World War II hot zones. When he returned Talbot married his then girlfriend and began to participate in local recreation softball games. It was on those diamonds that he caught the eye of local scout Pete Beiden and it was Beiden, who convinced Talbot to try out for the newly minted Visalia Cubs.
After his career in the major leagues came to an end Talbot and his wife, Mada, moved back to Visalia. All the way up until the end of the 2017 season Talbot was still involved with the now Rawhide, where his would attend games and report back with the results while Talbot was in Hospice care.