The name is one of the most legendary in country music history.

Jim Reeves. Or perhaps more properly, Gentleman Jim Reeves.

One of country music's greatest balladeers and crooners, if you were with your favorite lady 'back in the day' and the smooth voice of Jim Reeves came on the radio, go ahead and snuggle up. The ladies loved that voice and so did the fella's.

Jim first topped the country music chart in 1953 and he was consistently at or near the top for the rest of that decade, had over 20 Top 10 hits in the 1960's and in fact had his last Top 10 hit in 1985, a duet with Patsy Cline called 'Have You Ever Been Lonely'.

Quite a career.

Especially since Jim Reeves was tragically killed in an airplane crash July 31st, 1964 at the age of 40.

And that magical career in country music? It almost didn't happen.

You might not think it listening to those satin sounding vocals, but apparently Gentleman Jim Reeves had a competitive streak, at least when it came to sports, particularly baseball.

Jim earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Texas, and while he didn't stay in college long, he did embark on a baseball career. In fact, Jim played for three years in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league farm system and was a promising right handed pitcher. Things looked bright for Jim moving into the big leagues until...

He suffered a severe injury to his sciatic nerve while pitching and that was the end of baseball.

And while it was baseballs loss, it was country music's gain and a gain for the millions that loved (and still love) Gentleman Jim Reeves music.

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