At Anderson High School, former graduates Dan Albers and Steve Ellis host a "This Week in Anderson" podcast that features former athletes, administrators and coaches that have been a part of the school's Forest Road history.
On occasion, they've also interviewed nearby mediocre members of the media.
This past August, Albers and Ellis may have broken new ground with they interviewed former Anderson Hall of Fame athlete Richard Dotson, who was drafted out high school by baseball's then-California Angels.
Just barely removed from pitching on Anderson's skin infield at age 18, Dotson was traded to the Chicago White Sox with another player of note: Bobby Bonds, the father of Barry Bonds.
He went on to win 22 games for the White Sox in 1983 when they went to the American League Championship Series. A year later, he pitched in the All-Star Game at Candlestick Park. Dotson pitched parts of 12 seasons which is 12 more than most.
Except in his family.
The "This Week in Anderson" August edition with Dotson actually contained breaking news. Through DNA testing, Dotson discovered family members who were a 100% match for him.
It was then that he found out his biological father was none other than Richard Joseph "Turk" Farrell who logged 590 games from 1956 to 1969 with the Phillies, Dodgers and Houston Colt .45s/Astros.
The truth revealed
Sadly, Dotson never knew the man that died in June 1977, shortly after he graduated from high school and was heading to his first minor league assignment.
Had it not been for the sister he grew up with, Pat Hicks, Dotson may have never known.
Hicks started dabbling in genealogy 10 years ago but Richard never did the DNA test. Finally, after his mother passed five years ago. he got involved along with his known father and his kids.
One night while in South Carolina, he got a message from a Shannon Kos in New England. Science had declared them related. As it turns out, she was Farrell's niece. Also, as it turns out, Dotson was not biologically related to the man he called Dad.
Dotson called his sister Pat with a plethora of questions about the events in and around 1958.
"She says. 'Mom and Dad sent me to West Virginia to live with our grandparents because they were having trouble'," Dotson said. "My sister's like, 'I guess this could be a possibility'. That's how I found out. It just so happens the Phillies were in Cincinnati in '58 in April and I was born in January of '59. You can imagine being 60-years-old and all of a sudden finding out your Dad's not really your Dad. Then, to find out he played in the big leagues, it's like, you've got to be kidding me!"
The discovery has led him to a pair of half-sisters in Houston (where Farrell also played) and an aunt in Boston with three nieces where Farrell was born. There are also many relatives in Ireland Dotson has discovered where Farrell's family originated.
A picture's worth a thousand words
The parents Dotson knew divorced twice, once shortly after getting married. They remarried, then divorced again when Richard was 13-years-old. His mother never told him and the man he knew as his father, Jimmy Dotson, apparently never knew.
After his mother passed, Dotson and his daughter had found a Turk Farrell baseball card in a box of her belongings where she lived in Reno, Nevada. Before Jimmy Dotson died in the spring of 2019, Richard took a photo of Turk Farrell on a visit.
"I showed him this picture and all he did was point at me," Dotson said. "He said, 'That's you.' I go, 'That's not me Dad.' I just left it at that. If he didn't know, which is the reason I asked. He didn't know so I didn't say anything."
A month after the Anderson podcast with Albers and Ellis, Dotson's story went public via Jayson Stark of The Athletic. Before the 2020 season culminated, he was able to use his White Sox connections to buy cardboard cutouts of himself and Farrell to be placed in the seats at Guaranteed Rate Field on the south side of Chicago.
He has actually known of his father's identity for two years and has been sorting out the information since.
"My Mom never said anything and I don't think my Dad had a clue," Dotson said.
Following family and folklore
Farrell was 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds and won 106 big league games with 83 saves. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Dotson had no saves but edged his father in wins with 111. Farrell was a five-time All-Star to Dotson's lone appearance in 1984.
Official records aren't necessarily kept on such things, but Dotson and Farrell combined to win 217 major league games. While there have been notable father/son duos, the next best pitching combination may be Mel and Todd Stottlemyre who had 302 wins between them.
"We're up there," Dotson said. "I might have been a better pitcher if he had helped me out."
At the plate, Dotson spent his career in the American League and despite being a feared hitter in high school, never got an official at-bat. Farrell was a career National Leaguer who had pitcher-like hitting numbers but did blast four career home runs.
One of his half-sisters in Houston has helped him catch up on the man he never met.
"She's sent me old programs and pictures of Turk," Dotson said. "I've got his 1965 silver-plated bowl when he made the All-Star team and 12 silver-plated cups that say, ''65 All-Star Game Turk Farrell'. She gave me that and a ring from the '58 All-Star Game. She said, 'Well, you're his son."
Among Farrell's major league highlights Dotson can speak of now is that he started the first game in the Houston Astrodome, an exhibition with the New York Yankees on April 9, 1965. Farrell got the win in front of President Lyndon Johnson 2-1 allowing just a home run to future Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle. For reference, former Red Joe Morgan and Cincinnatian Jimmy Wynn were both in the Astros line-up with Dotson's biological father.
Still with the White Sox organization (most recently as the pitching coach for the AA Birmingham Barons), Dotson has come across many baseball acquaintances that also knew Turk Farrell. One of his minor league pitching coaches, Ken Silvestri, was also a coach for the Phillies when Farrell played.
He's heard of his father's "Dalton Gang" reputation in the big leagues where the losses were tough, the wins were celebrated and life was generally enjoyed.
"When he was the Phillies they made the coaches stay with these guys," Dotson said. "Turk had a coach for a roommate."
He's also heard how Hank Aaron once hit a line drive off of Farrell's forehead that went into the stands for a ground-rule double. Farrell refused to leave the game.
Another yarn had Willie Mays lining off of Farrell's noggin with Jimmy Wynn catching the ball in center field. Again, Farrell continued to pitch. Once in a coffee shop in Hawaii, Dotston spotted Hall of Famer Joe Torre in line ahead of him and introduced himself.
"I said. 'I found out Turk Farrell's my father,'" Doston said. "He said, 'Yeah, he was mean!'"
The pieces of a perplexing puzzle continue to be put together
Farrell played his last big-league game in 1969 and eventually moved to England where he worked on an oil rig. He died in a car accident there at age 43. Farrell also had another son, Richard Farrell Jr. who died six months later in a motorcycle accident.
Richard Dotson turns 62 on Jan. 10. He still hasn't physically seen his two new half-sisters due to the coronavirus pandemic but hopes to soon. He also hopes to make the trek to Ireland to find more ancestors with smiling eyes that resemble his.