The Barber, The Astronaut, and The Golf Ball

979-8-98912-034-5 Paperback
6 x 9 x 0 in
200 pp.
Pub Date: 09/17/2024
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In 1971, famed astronaut Alan Shepard returned from the moon and went to get a haircut. Before settling into the barber’s chair in Webster, Texas, near NASA’s Mission Control, Shepard gave his longtime barber and friend, Carlos Villagomez, an autographed golf ball.

During his Apollo 14 moonwalk just days earlier, Shepard had conducted a world-famous demonstration of gravity by hitting a golf ball in an out-of-this-world sand trap. It took him two tries.

Carlos, a Navy combat veteran and barber for numerous astronauts, says Shepard  gave him the ball immediately after he returned to earth and was released from quarantine.
Had Shepard taken a third ball to the moon? And did he give it to his barber as a token of their long friendship?

The debate provides a backdrop for The Barber, The Astronaut, and the Golf Ball, a story of two extraordinary men and their lasting friendship. The book is based on recollections of Carlos himself, the authors—both children of NASA scientists—as well as other astronauts, memorabilia experts, and family and friends of Shepard, who died in 1998.  

Is the ball one of the most significant pieces of sports memorabilia in history, or simply a gift of enduring friendship? Did the barber’s golf ball fly to the moon?

In seeking the answers, this extensively researched account of NASA history provides readers with insight into some of America’s greatest space explorers, including Michael Collins, Deke Slayton, and Charles Duke.

The Barber, The Astronaut, and the Golf Ball offers a rare glimpse behind the scenes of America’s space program at its pinnacle and shows the ordinary people who supported one of the nation’s most monumental scientific endeavors.

Published by Stoney Creek Publishing Group