Garry Marshall: The best teammate

Story highlights

  • Marion Ross, star of "Happy Days," remembers show creator Garry Marshall
  • As teammates, it was our softball team that made us such a family, says Ross

Marion Ross is an Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated film and television actress known for her role as Marion Cunningham on "Happy Days," which ran for eleven seasons. The opinions expressed in this remembrance of "Happy Days" creator Garry Marshall are hers.

(CNN)One of the things I remember most about Garry Marshall: If I did something good on the ball field, he would send me flowers.

Marion Ross
The most important thing in our lives was our softball team -- certainly more important than the show. We'd go to all these cities and that's how we did our PR. We would go down and play ball with the television media in every town.
They had no idea what we were like. And we beat the pants off them all the time! We took it very seriously. We had uniforms and everything.
    [After the games] you'd get back on the bus and Garry would say to me, "You should have had that. You should have caught that ball."
    I played rover [an extra fielder whose job it is to position herself between the infield and the outfield to catch blooper hits]. And I could hit really well. I would run to first with my arms up so then they would have to overthrow to first base. Once I got on base, they [my teammates] would always get me in [to home].
    Garry Marshall's encouraging notes to the author
    It [softball] was the thing that made us such a family. You know, a television show has at best a life of about six or seven years. When we started coming up toward that goal [on "Happy Days"], Garry would say, "I don't see why we just can't keep going." I think he really just didn't want to give up the softball team.
    Garry Marshall's encouraging notes to the author
    When I was nominated for an Emmy, I received this note from Garry: "It must be nice for a superb athlete like yourself, to also have a successful hobby like acting! Congratulations on your Emmy nomination."
    I have framed these little cards that always came with the flowers. My favorite one reads: "You are the baseball player's baseball player. I want my son to grow up to be just like you. Love, Teammate Garry Marshall."