A Newnan man is learning first hand it's easier to win a World Series than get approval for Social Security disability.
Brian Doyle still wears his 1978 World Series ring... on the shaky right hand that symbolizes the life he lives four decades later.
"If it wasn't for family, and friends, we wouldn't be making it," Brian Doyle slowly says.
Doyle made himself a Yankee favorite from two pressure-filled weeks in October, 1978. Filling in for an injured Willie Randolph, the seldom-used second baseman hit .438 against the Dodgers in the World Series, including three hits off future Hall of Famer and future Braves broadcaster Don Sutton. The Yankees won the series in six games.
"I closed my eyes. They hit the bat," Doyle told FOX 5 I-Team reporter Randy Travis.
"That's your secret?" Randy replied. "Well, you closed your eyes a lot didn't you?"
Three years later Doyle retired with a career batting average of just .161. He went into coaching.
But after a bout with leukemia in the 1990s, Doyle began having problems with his bones. His family blames the chemotherapy, Pentostatin, for causing joint deterioration.
Despite two neck fusions, the pain just got worse. So in 2013, Doyle applied for Social Security disability benefits. He got turned down. Twice. Then the man who learned how to gracefully turn two on the baseball diamond got hit with something else: Parkinson's Disease.
"Most people don't think that they're going to be here. But here we are," said his wife Connie. "Stress just makes the whole thing worse."
For many Americans like Brian Doyle, getting Social Security disability benefits has become a cruel waiting game.
In Georgia can take as long as nine months just for someone to rule on your initial claim. If you're denied, the wait can be another three months for your first appeal to be heard. If that's denied, you'll wait an average in Georgia of 500 days for a social security administrative law judge to rule on your case.
That's as much as 2 1/2 years worth of waiting for a judge to finally look at you and decide your claim... for people who clearly don't have that kind of time to wait.
And even when a judge does finally hear the appeal, our earlier investigation revealed the decision can sometimes depend on which judge you get rather than how sick you are.
Some judges in Georgia almost always deny those appeals.
Other judges almost always grant them.
"I would like someone to see him," said Connie. "He's more than a stack of papers."
Instead of waiting months just for a judge to schedule a hearing, Doyle's attorney Greg Rogers is asking for something called an "on-the-record decision." Basically, asking a judge to issue a quick ruling without a hearing.
"So you're asking for a very specific, rare favor." Randy said to the attorney.
"Right." said Rogers. "Really this is a case we shouldn't have to wait any further for a hearing."
The 61-year-old Doyle still gets a small pension from his brief baseball career. In addition to coaching, Brian became an ordained minister, part of a group called Global Baseball that uses the sport to spread the word of Christ throughout other countries.
Since his physical problems surfaced, friends have helped the Doyles pay their home mortgage. Connie still does full time office work to bring in some money. At this moment, just like all those other Georgians denied benefits, the government considers Brian Doyle able to work.
"Do you think you can hold a job today?" Randy asked Doyle. He took a long time to reply.
"There's... I am... Randy... quite a bit homebound. I can't drive."
"We are, by the grace of God, getting groceries on the table," his wife said. "There's probably folks out there that aren't. If this helps them, that's why we're here."