When I was a boy, and all my life, no matter what the madness of the world screamed, there was always a haven for sports. Playing. The watching. Lines on a track or field brought calming reassurance. Cross one and you were in or out. A pass has been taken. Or fallen. There was rarely any discussion of whether a basketball floated through the hoop or not.
Political activists, nuns, little kids who couldn’t take their eyes off roving concessionaires, workers, the rich, we could all forget our grudges, sit together and enjoy a ball game.
I am so terribly disappointed with the world right now, with its constant nagging, embarrassing, and deliberate self-destruction. I am terribly disappointed in sports for violating a neutral temple. Baseball was once our national restful spot. The lunatic screamed again, forcing the relocation of the 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta. Corporate cowards, such as MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, are withering.
If I had magic seeds to grow balls, I would put them in an envelope and send them to baseball horse hide poobah with instructions for Manfred to take two with water and grow a few. I am so deeply disappointed with so many things these days, from Coke to razor blade manufacturers. Unless there is a planet-shifting seismic shift, I will not watch baseball anymore, I will not drink my sacred drink, Coca-Cola. I realize at the same time that I cannot get a bitter heart. I am tired of complaining. My index finger feels like it weighs 12 pounds from all pointing.
So. What to do?
It’s spring. Maybe I can bring a little joy. I am hopelessly in love with baseball, I love to sit in the stands, tilt my head back, close my eyes and feel the warm sun on my face. And I love trivia.
I did some research and ended up on this list. They are my 13 strangest MLB factoids. Instead of complaining to me, maybe it will put a smile on someone
1) During World War II, the US military designed a grenade the size and weight of a baseball, because, according to the military, any young American man should be able to throw it properly.
2) Before John Dillinger Public Enemy No. 1, he played second base for the Martinsville Athletics in 1924, earning $ 75 a month. Diller’s teammates nicknamed him Jackrabbit and he played shortstop. Years later, a graphic artist created Dillinger’s fake baseball card and sells it on eBay for $ 7.99 each.
3) Don’t do this at home. Kerry Wood, Jorge Posada (no relation to Plaza Posada), Moises Alou and a slew of MLB players admit they peed on their hands during the season. Why? They say the formula strengthens their grip. If I was a grandstand rabbit, excuse me if I didn’t want to hold a hand after the game.
4) Try These: Johnny Bench can hold seven baseballs in one hand.
5) Remember hearing about Pete Rose getting banned from baseball in 1989? The MLB commissioner who kicked Charlie Hustle out for life was A. Bartlett Giamatti. His son? Famous actor, Paul Giamatti.
6) In the 1930 season, Joe Sewell played in every game and had 353 at bats. To get. This. Joe only hit out twice in the same game THREE TIMES that year.
7) In the 1920s, 17-year-old Jackie Mitchell played for the AA Chattanooga Lookouts. In an exhibition game, Mitchell eliminated Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig back-to-back. Why is that so cool? Jackie was a girl.
8) Patching was a mid-1800s rule that allowed players to throw the ball and hit a baseball runner directly to get them out. I wouldn’t mind doing that with some business leaders today.
9) Baseball’s first professional baseball uniforms were created in 1849 and worn by the New York Knickerbockers in 1851. The unis came with matching straw hats. The Knicks were originally a New York fire department who played intramural baseball.
10) Hall of Famer Bob Feller’s mother only saw him pitch once in his 18-year career. That game? Mrs. Feller was hit by a foul ball from one of the Bobs throws.
11) Jay Justin Clarke played nine MLB seasons, but his record in the minor league will never be broken. Laying. Money. On. It. On June 15, 1902, Clarke was caught in the Texas League for the crackerjack Corsicana Oil Citys (spelling correct). They beat the Texarkana Casketmakers (wouldn’t you KILL to have the jersey!) 51-3. Clarke hit 8 HOME RUNS in that game. Note: The right field fence for the chest boys was a sneeze from home plate at 70 feet. The official scorer later swore that the statistics were correct, as were dozens of witnesses. Clarke collected that game $ 185 in cash after fans passed the hat for him. He played in the Bigs for years, but hit only six homers in total. Ty Cobb said he was one of the greatest catchers in baseball. He was the first catcher to wear shin guards and would die the same day as that 8-dinger day, in 1949.
12) Do you remember William Frawley, the bald actor who played Fred Mertz on the old TV show I Love Lucy? Frawleys’ contract stipulated that he would not work if the Yankees were in the World Series.
And my favorite
13) In the 1970s, few realized that Castaic Elementary’s quiet, stately janitor had such a great past. Vic Harris was a superstar in the old Negro Baseball League, a giddy ball player, hitting .306 for a lifetime. Harris played for the famous Homestead Grays from 1931 to 1948, where he also succeeded and won the Negro League title eight years in a row. In his heyday, Harris made $ 1,000 a month. Nice dough, but that was for a season of 200 game. Harris not only played against NBL greats like Cool Papa Bell, Satchel Paige and a young Jackie Robinson, but faced Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Lou Gehrig in off-season exhibition games.
John Boston is a local writer who wishes his country to come together.
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