A full house of family, friends and admirers celebrated the rich, full life of Allie Pierce Reynolds at the First Presbyterian Church on Friday morning.
Reynolds, who was nicknamed the Superchief while throwing high, hard fastballs for the New York Yankees more than 40 years ago, died late Monday night at St. Anthony Hospital. He was 77 years old, and was laid to rest at Memorial Park Cemetery after American Indian services befitting his Creek heritage.
Numerous sports, civic and Indian leaders were on hand to pay final respects to one of Oklahoma's most respected native sons.
"Allie Reynolds was a great athlete, a great family man, a great civic leader, and I was privileged to be his teammate for eight years," said Dr. Bobby Brown, a former Yankee third baseman who delivered one of two eulogies. "I was even more privileged to be his friend for 47 years. Hail to the Chief. " De Vier Pierson, a Washington, D.C., attorney related by marriage, compared Reynolds to an eagle in the second eulogy.
"There is a special place in the traditions of the American Indian for the eagle," he said. "The eagle is a proud bird, it soars higher and higher in the sky until it is no longer visible to the naked eye, and then is closer to its creator. Allie Reynolds is an eagle. " Brown, the former American League president, said it was the New York City writers who tagged Reynolds as the Superchief while he was winning 131 games in eight Yankee seasons.
"I suppose it was in part due to his Indian heritage," he said.
"But for some of you too young to remember, the Santa Fe Railroad at that time had a crack train (call the Superchief) that ran from California to Chicago, and it was known for its elegance, its power and its speed.
"We always felt the name applied to Allie for the same reasons. " Brown said the name wasn't used by the Yankees, however.
"When we talked with him, we called him Allie," he said. "But when he wasn't in the room, he was referred to as the Chief, because we felt he was the one at the top, the real leader. " Pierson said Reynolds was not always comfortable with the nickname.