A surprise hospital visit from her childhood baseball hero put Linda Lindquist over the moon.
Just three days after surgery at MD Anderson to remove a large tumor in her abdomen, Linda was shocked one morning when she answered a knock at her hospital room door.
Instead of her sister, a nurse or food server walking in, her all-time favorite baseball player who had come a half-century out of her past strode through the door with a keepsake in hand.
Wally Moon starred for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1959 to 1965. Now 81, the former National League Rookie of the Year and three-time World Series champion came to Houston from his home in Bryan, Texas, to meet Linda when he heard about her surgery and abiding support as a fan.
Moon brought Linda a baseball and signed it at her bedside to take the place of a foul ball he hit into the stands where she sat as an 11-year-old with her father in 1960. When the foul ball came down, it bounced hard off her seat and hit Linda in the small of the back. When it came to rest behind her, a fan in the next row grabbed the souvenir. She always felt that ball was hers.
The surprise visit to MD Anderson was cooked up by Linda's sister, Mary Lee, her brother, Bill, and the author of Moon's biography. By chance, Linda's brother in Los Angeles ordered the book for his sister to read while she was in Houston recovering. When the author called Bill to confirm the arrival of the book, the two talked about Linda's lifelong admiration for Wally. Little did Bill know that Wally lived just two hours from Houston, but that conversation set in motion the events that led to the surprise visit.
Linda was stunned when she realized who had walked into her hospital room that morning.
"I just can't believe it, I just can't believe it," she said. "When I was a kid, I memorized all the batting averages and stats, listened to all the away games on the radio and prayed for him when he was at the plate. Wally was my favorite player and always will be."
Moon sat at Linda's bedside and visited with her for more than an hour. When it was time to go, he hugged her and assured her that he would now be praying for her recovery.
When the door closed behind him, Linda excitedly said to her sister, "Was that really Wally Moon?"
Three days after the visit, Linda was discharged from the hospital to recover in Houston. She will return to her home in Phoenix in a few weeks and continue her follow-up care at MD Anderson Banner Cancer Center.