Since 1964, Ed Lucas has worked as a reporter/broadcaster, covering the New York area sports scene, despite being totally blind, as he has been for the last 55 years.
Ed’s success in this competitive field while overcoming a disability has led to many opportunities to speak to crowds both large and small on motivational matters relating to facing life's challenges.
On October 3, 1951, Ed was at home in Jersey City watching a baseball playoff game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and his beloved New York Giants. In the ninth inning, Bobby Thomson of the Giants stepped to the plate and hit the game winning home run off of Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca, in what would become one of the most famous moments in American sports history, known as “The Shot Heard Round the World.” When the dramatic game on TV concluded, Ed went outside to play sandlot ball. A few minutes into the game, he was struck between the eyes by a wicked line drive and lost his vision. It never returned.
Depressed and scared about his future as a blind person, Ed pictured himself as a helpless soul standing on the corner with a cup and a cane selling pencils. His mother did two things that changed his life. First, she enrolled him in Saint Joseph’s School for the Blind, a revolutionary institute run by disciplinarian nuns who believed that blind people could do anything they set out to do if they could learn to be independent and have self confidence. A “no cup or cane” mentality was instilled.
At the same time, his mother wrote letters to Leo Durocher, the manager of the NY Giants, and to Bobby Thomson, the home run hero, explaining what had happened to Ed, and how his love of baseball was the only thing lifting his spirits. Durocher invited Ed to be his guest at the Polo Grounds for the 1952 season. Yankees star Phil Rizzuto, who worked at a New Jersey clothing shop in the off season, heard about Ed’s story, and also befriended him.
In 1958, just seven years after losing his sight, Ed enrolled at Seton Hall University, graduating four years later with a degree in communications (one of the first blind students in the country to do so.) With his baseball connections, Ed was able to land coveted print and broadcast jobs covering the major league teams in New York City.
In October 1965, Ed got married. Shortly after that, two sons - Edward M. and Christopher - were born. In 1972, his wife walked out on the marriage, leaving him alone with two little boys to raise.
Luckily, Ed had a loving and supportive family who pitched in and helped him with the housekeeping and child rearing duties. At the same time, the New York Yankees were starting to regain prominence, and his workload became bigger. Ed still managed to balance both lives, while buying a larger house for his boys and his mother and sister.
In September of 1979, after seven years, Ed’s ex wife came back and announced that she was seeking full and complete custody of the boys.
Ed went to court to and fought a long custody battle, as the case made its way up to the New Jersey Supreme Court. Witness after witness, friends and famous people alike, came forward to testify that he had done a good job raising his sons alone for seven years.
On September 25, 1980, history was made when Ed Lucas was awarded full and complete custody of his children. No male in New Jersey had ever won full custody from a female, and no disabled person in the United States had ever won full custody from a non-disabled spouse. Newspapers all over the globe carried his story as an example of the ways disabled people can achieve great things in society.
In 1985, Ed became the first layperson to be appointed to the board of St. Joseph’s School for the Blind, where he worked tirelessly to raise funds for the completion of a state of the art 21st century facility. Together with his longtime friend Phil Rizzuto, Ed has helped to raise millions of dollars towards that cause, thanks largely in part to their annual celebrity golf tournament.
In the late 1980’s, Ed was introduced by Phil Rizzuto to Allison Pfeiffle, his florist, who was also legally blind. After a long courtship, Ed married Allison at home plate in Yankee Stadium on March 10, 2006. This was the first time that anyone was allowed to be married in that hallowed spot, and the wedding made news all over the globe. (The coverage of the wedding on the YES Network was nominated for an Emmy Award.) Director Penny Marshall was a guest at the wedding, and has expressed an interest in bringing Ed’s life story to the silver screen.
Ed’s two sons now have families of their own, and he is blessed with three grandchildren. In 1995, Ed was inducted into the NJ Sports Hall of Fame, alongside a class that included Super Bowl winning quarterback Joe Theismann and Baseball Hall of Famer Larry Doby. In 2001, Ed was honored to be chosen, along with his sons, as one of the inspirational people to carry the Olympic flame through the streets of New York City on its way to the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Five and a half decades after losing his sight, Ed Lucas, through his production company, “No Cup Or Cane”, tries to continue to inspire others and show people, both disabled and non-disabled, that there are no true handicaps in life. With faith in yourself, a passion for something, and a determination to reach your goals, any obstacle - big or small - can be overcome. He is living proof of this.