Thursday, August 23, 2012

Great Photos of Baseball's Greats

I think that some people have the idea that baseball a hundred years ago was very primitive and that the players wouldn't be great by today's standards. However, ask people from previous generations who really know the game and they'll generally tell you that baseball players were actually better the farther back you go. I know my dad always felt that way, but he was always quick to acknowledge a great modern day player too. He grew-up watching Enos Slaughter and Stan Musial with the Cardinals and would say unequivocally that the 40s Cards were considerably better than any team they've ever fielded since.

I think there's something about seeing really high quality photographs from the early days of baseball that makes you somehow appreciate the great calibre of play they had back then. I don't know why, it just does. So many of the photos you see from the turn of the 20th century are grainy and just plain poor overall, and I think this somehow causes people to believe this reflects on their play when this really couldn't be further from the truth. So here are some great photos from the golden days of baseball. You can click on most of them to enlarge them considerably.

Stan Musial as a roookie - 1941
Enos Slaughter - 1938
The Cardinals were a great team long before Musial ever joined them though. In fact, Stan came to the club as a regular in 1942, the year after the great Johnny Mize left for new York.
Johnny Mize - 1939

The Cardinals are known for big power hitting 1st basemen, and long before McGwire and Pujols was Johnny Mize. He and Slaughter were great together although the Card's never one a world series with them. (Slaughter did win several alongside of Musial later though.)

And of course before any of them was the old Gashouse Gang of 1934 with the likes of Dizzy Dean (probably the best pitcher of the decade and one of the best ever), Pepper Martin, Frankie Frisch, and of course Joe Medwick. That team had five starting players batting over 300 and won the world series that year. The Cards won five world championships between 1926 and 1934 with many of the players in that lineup. They may have been even better than the 1940s Cardinals. The Cardinals didn't win any championships before 1926, but they still had some great teams and terrific players like Jim Bottomley, Jack Fournier, and Rogers Hornsby.
Rogers Hornsby - 1925

Hornsby was almost certainly the greatest right-handed hitter who ever lived and maybe the best period. He was also one of the best 2nd basemen. He hit over 400 three times and once hit for a 401 average and 40 home runs in the same season—a feat that will likely never be repeated. You might recall that the 1926 world series between the Cardinals and the Yankees was among the best ever recorded. It went the full 7-games and the Cards took game seven by one run. Babe Ruth hit three home runs in one game and hit the longest fly ball ever recorded at the old park. Actually, he kind of blew the series though. He walked in the 9th inning and tried to steal second with two outs but didn't make it, and that was that. He hit two home runs recorded to be over 500 feet in the series though. I would have loved to have lived back then, but this was even before my dad was born.

I found some footage of that series. It's grainy, but it's very cool to see Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig play against (and lose to) Hornsby, Bottomley and the Cards in a world series.

Here are some other nice photos of some early ball players mostly from the dead ball era:

Babe Ruth in 1914 when he was still a pitcher.

Ty Cobb sliding into 3rd - 1914

Shoeless Joe Jackson -1920

Joe hit 408 as a rookie in 1911. Babe Ruth said he more or less copied Jackson's swing.

Tris Speaker - 1911

What a great stance Tris Speaker had! And what a great hitter. He would be in the top 10 or 20 at least on anybody's list.

Fielder Jones - 1904 with the White Sox

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Just How Old Is Uncle Martin?

In light of the recent Mars landing I thought it might be time to reveal something I'm sure everyone is dying to know. Just how old is Uncle Martin--Really?

If you grew-up watching My Favorite Martian then you already know that Uncle Martin is 450 years old since he cited his age several times on the show; however, what you may not realize is that this is his age in Martian years. During episode #19 during the first season he said that there were 300 weeks in a Martian year and 8672 days in each Martian week. So I did the math. (You won't learn this from NASA.)

Uncle Martin is 3,207,452 Earth years old! He was here visiting before the first humanoid. File under Cool Martian Facts.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Pope's Butler Is No Hero

Leaked documents, most of them confidential letters between various clergymen in the Catholic Church, and many to and from the Pope himself, have found their way into the media since last January. The biggest bombshells came by way of a book written by investigative journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi called Sua Santità. This is just one of six books Nuzzi has written since 2009 concerning the inner workings of the Vatican. Nuzzi refuses to name his sources. Nor do we know what, if anything, he paid for the leaked documents.

We learned a couple of weeks ago that the Pope's butler/personal assistant, Paolo Gabriele, admitted to leaking the documents. And we learned in the past couple of days that he had help by way of another Vatican employee—computer analyst Claudio Sciarpelletti. Gabriele claims that he leaked these documents as "an agent of the Holy Spirit" for the good of the Church and to "help" the Pope. He denies having been paid for the leaked documents.

However, after raiding Gabriele's apartment in May, not only were more stolen letters and other documents found, but also a stolen a check for 100,000 Euros ($124,000), a gold nugget and a valuable 16th century book all belonging to the Church.

Does this sound like a do-gooder? I'm sure there's plenty of corruption in the Catholic Church. After all, they've never denied the content of any of these letters. But I don't think this butler is any kind of a hero for a minute. He's now been indicted on aggravated theft and his co-conspirator, Sciarpelletti, will face charges for complicity. I believe that if Nuzzi and other media persons involved with the leaks are pressed by the Italian police to reveal their sources we'll find that, not only did they come from the Pope's butler, but that a good deal of money was paid for them.

The American media needs to quit portraying this thieving butler as a great servant of the people.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Heat Killing Fish by the Millions in the Midwest

This is something I don't think any of us counted on. The intense heat and drought has caused water temps in shallower lakes, ponds, and streams to reach as high as 100%. this is a photo of hundreds of dead fish at a pond in Rock Port, MO.

Possibly a million or more fish have recently been found floating dead in Illinois waters. Some 40,000 shovelnose sturgeon alone were found dead in Iowa last week. These sturgeon were valued at $10,000,000 because their eggs are prized for caviar.

Dan Stephenson, a biologist with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, said, "We're talking hundreds of thousands (killed), maybe millions by now," Stephenson said. "If you're only talking about game fish, it's probably in the thousands. But for all fish, it's probably in the millions if you look statewide."

High levels of bacteria have also been found in lakes lately. Carp at Lewis & Clark Lake in Missouri have been found with lesions on them indicated bacteria. This is typical when water gets hot. This includes flesh eating bacteria which is often found in water. There's also a brain eating bacteria that enters through the nose. Not a good time to be on the jet-ski.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tommy Emmanuel — Live at the Sheldon Concert Hall (2001)

This is the entire 2-hour concert. I was really surprised to find it at YT. The first couple of minutes are in mono for some reason, but then the stereo kicks for the rest of the show. Tommy's a terible hotdog and general ham, but he sure can play. So hook your laptop up to your living room TV for a couple of hours and enjoy some great old tunes played by one of the best.

1. Luttrell (00:37)
2. Blue Moon (02:51)
3. Borsalino (05:44)
4. Mombasa (08:35)
5. That's The Spirit (11:54)
6. I've Always Thought of You (15:00)
7. Guitar Boogie (23:10)
8. Amazing Grace (30:56)
9. Classical Gas (35:11)
10. A Guitar Lesson With Tommy (39:07)
11. Windy and Warm (46:35)
12. Just an Old Fashioned Love Song (50:00)
13. Beatles - Medley / Day Tripper / Taste of Honey / Lady Madonna (52:50)
14. Those Who Wait (59:47)
15. Mona Lisa (01:04:34)
16. Initiation (01:09:46)
17. Biskie (01:17:24)
18. Michelle (01:19:06)
19. Dixie McGuire (01:22:04)
20. The Hunt (01:24:16)
21. Waltzing Mathilda (01:29:12)
22. Saltwater (01:33:53)
23. Imagine (01:36:58)
24. Train to Dusseldorf / To "B" or not to "B" / Mr. Guitar / Waltzing Mathilda (reprise) / Road to Gundaghi (01:41:03)
25. Tom's Drums (01:48:09)