Post’s People to Meet Spotlight: Robert Daisey

FRANKFORD — This Sunday, Robert Daisey will be in New Jersey when the Trenton Thunder host the Richmond Flying Squirrels.

So will one of his trusty canine companions, Mickie, a soon-to-be 4-year-old golden retriever who sheds as much love, affection and occasional slobber kisses as she does hair.

Robert Daisey gets a loving hug from Mickie, his beloved Golden Retriever. Mickie has direct bloodline to the Trenton Thunder’s minor league baseball team’s Bat Dog extravaganza.

They’ll be among the guests at Arm & Hammer Park, home of the Thunder, the Class AA affiliate of the New York Yankees that is huge on entertainment promotion and prides itself as being the “most dog-friendly team in minor league baseball.”

The Thunder many years ago launched a unique twist to the game of fetch: Thunder Bat Dog.

Chase, a golden retriever, was the original Golden Thunder Bat Dog, serving as bat boy to fetch Louisville Sluggers and other lumber left near home plate by home-standing Thunder players.

Chase passed away in 2013. His family legacy lives on through his son, (Home Run) Derby, and now one of Derby’s two offspring: Rookie.

Derby’s other “child” is Mr. Daisey’s dog, Mickie.

There are annual reunions at the Trenton ballpark.

“Every year the Thunder has events, two or three during the season and they always ask for our appearance,” said Mr. Daisey. “Mickie has had opportunity to be on the field several times with her brother Rookie and her dad, Derby. Rookie is kind of like the heir apparent. Rookie goes out in first inning. Dad (Derby) goes out in the second inning. It’s a great atmosphere. It is well worth the three-hour trip up and three-hour trip back.”

Dogs are one of Mr. Daisey’s passions.

Auto racing, baseball and adopted daughter Taite Daisey are loves of his life.

So are the cherished memories of Marla Banks Daisey, his childhood sweetheart and wife of some 38 years who passed away in January 2016 from ovarian cancer.

“People don’t have any idea how strong that girl was,” said Mr. Daisey.

Mr. Daisey, 61 with birthday No. 62 on deck in mid-October, is co-owner of Delaware Appliance in Frankford with Thom Young.

Born in Salisbury, Mr. Daisey was raised in Dagsboro. He’s a 1973 Indian River High School graduate and studied architecture at Del Tech.

Robert and Marla Daisey finally realized parenthood with Taite, who celebrated her 20th birthday in August. Taite has held several pageant titles: Miss Teen Delaware United States 2016 and is currently Miss South Carolina International 2017.

Taite Daisey

Taite is entering her junior year at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. Her future plans include medical school.

“She has moved forward. The good Lord has looked over us for a lot of reasons,” said Mr. Daisey. “I talk to her every day.”

Parenthood did not arrive easily.

There were unsuccessful invitro fertilizations.

“Marla wanted to be mom. We looked into surrogacy. The profiles just did not line up,” said Mr. Daisey. “The lawyer we were dealing with asked if we had thought about adoption. And we had. Domestic adoption is almost impossible. He asked if we’d ever think about international adoption. We had some close friends that own the Cactus Café. They are from Chile. We were thinking about going the route through Chile. Come to find out the adoption practice was closed in Chile. They weren’t doing anything foreign.”

Next stop: Guatemala.

“Marla went there when Taite was 4 1/2 months old. We went back when Taite was 5 1/2 months. Things didn’t go good. There was an issue when I was there, and I had to get back. I said, ‘My mom is going come down … and 22 months later.”

Mr. Daisey’s father, Horace Daisey, now 88, played baseball in the Brooklyn Dodgers farm system in the 1940s, during the Jackie Robinson era. A 1999 inductee into the Eastern Shore Baseball Hall of Fame, Horace Daisey was signed to a bonus contract in 1947, invited to Brooklyn’s spring training in Vero Beach in 1948 and assigned to the Greenwood Dodgers Class in the Cotton State League and later Zanesville in the Ohio State League.

In the Post’s People to Meet spotlight: Robert Daisey.

Mementos of Indian River High School’s 2011 undefeated state championship season in football are on display at Delaware appliance in Frankford.

You’re a proud Indian River High School graduate and Indian River High School Alumni Association member:

“Mark Steele and Bennett Murray brought together a small group of people and kind of threw an idea out about having this alumni association. It didn’t really materialize for about a year. That is when Ruth Ann (Marvel) grabbed it by it by the horns and moved forward. With my activeness with other things I didn’t quite jump into anything then, but Marla did. That’s how Marla became involved and became a president and that type of thing.”

“I have such a passion for Indian River. I love to go to the athletic events. I don’t go to all of them like I used to, but especially when Taite was in school I went quite a bit. I always used to tailgate. They even did an article about my cooking because I used to do a lot of cooking out there. It’s something that was a lot of fun and still is. I am still planning on doing that again this year. I want to become a little more active in the alumni association, too.”

The IRHSAA scholarship program has grown immensely since inception:

“Yes, the alumni association is super proud that we are able to give out as many as many scholarships as we do. It extends across the board with recipients, including past graduates.

You facilitated a special scholarship in memory of your wife:

“I hope that that can always continue. We’ll cross that bridge as we go but hopefully it will always be able to continue.”

How long have you been in business with Delaware Appliance?

“I am a co-owner of this business. We started in December of 2002. Prior to that I worked for the Banks Company, that was for 27 years. That was locally here. That’s Marla’s family.”

Robert Daisey with a lifesize standup of NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon.

“Your love for motorsports?

“I guess I’ve always been a car guy. I’ve owned numerous nice cars. I’ve really enjoyed auto racing. It has its ebbs and flows like every other sport. But I’ve been fortunate since 1989 to be able to go to things like the Daytona 500, the Indy 500; I’ve been there three times. I’ve been at Dover I think for just about every race since the spring of 1983. Daytona is now over a two-week trip. It’s a passion.”

“NASCAR is looking for the future and some of the future is hard for the old guys that have always enjoyed the sport to take the change. But it will probably be all good down the road.”

“I’ve always been a die-hard Chevy guy. Sometimes I don’t even worry about the driver, I’m more interested in Chevy winning the race.”

How about your father’s role in your life?

“My father has been unbelievably influential in my life, like most dads should be. He really is. I’m a Yankee fan because my dad was a Yankee fan. When I was kid growing up and having a passion for cars, I always liked to put together model cars. And my dad always talked about Fireball Roberts. Getting news about racing in 1960s, it was either Wide World of Sports or what was strange is you’d go to Clayton Theatre – and we went there a lot – and before the race you’d watch the news reels and the news reels tended to have more racing news on it than what you would see on your local TV, which at that time was pretty much WBOC unless your mom and dad had some kind of fancy antenna.”

Motorsports and baseball?

“It was tough around here because so many people were Oriole fans. My dad always talked about Fireball Roberts … the name Fireball Roberts stuck in my mind just like glue, like Mickey Mantle does. Then Fireball got hurt in the accident and succumbed. I wasn’t a Richard Petty guy, maybe a little bit more Junior Johnson. Then came Darrell Waltrip. And Darrell Waltrip was a winner. He was flamboyant. Then came Jeff Gordon. Of course, my dad worked at Dupont and retired from Dupont so we became Gordon fans.”

“I’m a big baseball fan, probably as much a baseball fan as much as I am a NASCAR fan. I do go to minor league baseball games. Taite is down in Charleston; I go see the Charleston RiverDogs. I go to Trenton. Thom and I are season ticket holders at the Delmarva Shorebirds.”

Your recollection of the late Melvin Joseph, who built Dover International Speedway and other tracks?

“People could not appreciate what Melvin meant to the sport or the accessibility that he had to people. It was incredible. Here’s a guy with a seventh-grade education, got a dump truck when he as 16 years old and – and boom – he worked hard. He is the one that made the (Dover) track concrete.”

Your introduction to Bat Dog?

“Marla and I always had dogs. From the time we were dating we shared a dog together. We’ve had up to five great danes at one time. After the last great dane passed away my godson through his father in law took me to Trenton. He says to me, ‘You’re going to see something you’re really going to like.’ I had no idea what he was talking about.

“The Trenton Thunder are up to bat in the first inning at their home park and all of sudden he says, ‘Watch.’ The guy grounded out or whatever, and this golden retriever comes out and gets this bat and he goes back. Next batter, same thing. Chase was the original bat dog of the Golden Thunder. Somewhere along in the game he comes out with a basket – the basket has water in it – and the two or three umpires are given it. I just fell in love with the concept.”

Robert Daisey holds a collage tribute to Chase, the original Golden Thunder Bat Dog.

Contact with the Thunder is how Mickie became a family member?

“What ended up happening is Chase passed away. And Derby was in bad shape. Derby needed a companion. Her name was Reba.”

“One day there was the announcement that Derby was a dad; a boy and girl. Well, Marla couldn’t find a golden retriever anywhere; she couldn’t find one in Pennsylvania and there a lot of good ‘goldens’ are in Pennsylvania.”

Then came word the family that initially had spoken for the female wanted it shipped by plane to California.

“They were not going to put that puppy on a plane. So, we went to Boyertown, PA, to see these little fur balls. Mickie was a mess; Rookie was laid back. We took Mickie home that day.”

Closing thoughts?

“I’d like to be able to prepare the house up here to sell and my thought process is to probably find a townhouse, somewhere between here and the beach. It doesn’t have to be on the water … as long as there’s a place for Mickie and I and Maya (another family dog). Just kind of reduce the load, and not have to cut grass. And seriously my travel plans for the future are by four wheels: see the United States. I have never been to the (Florida) Keys. I’ve been out west but I’ve flown over it.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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