There’s quite an age difference between long-time Valley City resident Jacquette “Ketta” Stricklin, 84, her grandson, Ty Buttrey, a recent high school graduate in North Carolina.
Besides genetics, the two have at least one thing in common — an uncanny ability on the diamond.
Stricklin celebrates her 85th birthday Saturday, and Ty Buttrey will be among those making the trip up to celebrate.
Buttrey, a highly touted right handed pitcher with a fastball in the high 90 mile per hour range, was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the fourth round of the Major League Baseball Draft earlier ths month.
Considered a top-40 pick, Buttrey was viewed a hard sign due to his commitment to the University of Arkansas and his signing bonus demands. The Red Sox ended up convincing the 6-foot-6, 210 pounder to sign, said his father, Dan Buttrey.
It’s skill that’s followed generations.
Stricklin was a member of an all-woman softball team similar to that detailed in the movie “A League of Their Own.” and her late husband Bob played in the minor leagues for the New York Yankees.
Stricklin was a member of the Valley City Rockets when it won the North Dakota state championship game in 1951, defeating the Fargo-Moorhead Squirrels.
Minnesota Twins scouts often came to Buttrey’s games and met Stricklin while visiting her grandson in Charlotte, N.C. She told the Twins scout that her dream would be for Buttrey to play for them and it almost happened.
On the second day of the draft, a Red Sox scout called the Buttrey’s home and asked if Ty would accept a lower amount than he agreed to, but Buttrey held his ground and later Boston accepted his terms.
It was a deal that essentially voided another deal that was brokered between Stricklin and Buttrey.
When Ty was younger, his grandmother told him that if he avoided smoking or drinking by the time he turned 21, she would give him $2,000 dollars.
The contract that Ty signed with the Redsox is worth seven figures.
Regardless, Dan said Wednesday it appears his son may just win the bet, which not all of her grandchildren have won.
“This is one of the last (grandchildren) and it appears like he might win the bet,” Dan said.
Stricklin is an avid sports fan to this day. She watches all her favorite sports programs on the television her other grandson, Bob, bought her last year.
Kari Stricklin of Valley City, one of Ketta’s daughters, said Saturday’s party will be a joint retirement/birthday party for her mother.
Dan Buttrey said his son has been given permission by the Red Sox to take the weekend off for his grandmother’s birthday party.