Thursday, August 31, 2006

1959: Koufax and 18 strikeouts!

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On August 31, 1959, a young Sandy Koufax struck out 18 Giants.    It set a new National League record for most strikeouts in a single game. 

By the way, Jane Leavy's book about Koufax is one of the best baseballs I've ever read/

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We remember Frank Robinson (1935-2019)


We remember Frank Robinson who was born on this day in 1935. He died in 2019 at age 83. 

Frank was the MVP in both leagues: 1961 with the NL champs Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore 1966.    As an Oriole, he led the O's to 4 AL pennants and the World Series in 1966 & 1970.

Frank's career was more than numbers.  He was the team leader and a credit to the game of baseball.   In 1982, Frank was selected to The Hall of Fame.

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1980: Polish workers stood up to the communist state

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On this day in 1980, Poland exploded when representatives of the communist government of Poland agreed to the demands of striking shipyard workers in the city of Gdansk.    

It was the beginning of the end for the USSR.    The whole system collapsed of its own weight at the end of 1991.    

We remember those Polish workers, along with the Hungarians of 1956 and the Czechs of 1968.  They were anti-communist heroes of the 20th century.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

We remember Peggy Lipton (1946-2019)


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We remember Peggy Lipton who was born in New York City on this day in 1946.   Peggy died in 2019.

She played "Julie" in "The Mod Squad" on TV.   I did not know that Peggy was married to Quincy Jones, 1974-90.
 
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August 30, 1965: The day that Casey Stengel retired

Let's remember Casey Stengel, who retired on this day in 1965.    

Along the way, he managed the Brooklyn Dodgers (1934-1936), Boston Braves (1938-1943) and took over the New York Yankees in 1949 when he replaced the retiring Joe McCarthy.  He was the Mets' first manager in 1962 after getting "pushed" into retirement by the Yankees.

Casey won 1, 149 games (696 losses) over 12 seasons with the Yankees, including 10 AL pennants and seven World Series rings.  

He was quite a character as well as an amazing manager.  Stengel's critics say that he was a "button pusher" because of great teams.  In fact, he was the first manager to use the platoon system (lefty batter vs right handed pitcher) and was a great judge of talent.  

Casey managed great teams but he was also a great manager.  

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August 30, 1973: Willie Mays hit # 660 or his last HR


The great Willie Mays hit his last home run, or # 660, on this day in 1973.   He hit it off Don Gullett of the Cincinnati Reds.   
Mays was # 3 behind Ruth and Aaron when he retired.   He had a .302 career average, 3283 hits and 1903 Rbi.  
Maybe the greatest player ever?   He gets my vote.
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We remember Ted Williams (1918-2002)




The great Ted Williams was born on this day in San Diego in 1918.   

He was probably the greatest hitter ever, although his numbers were impacted by  military service in World War II and Korea:  .344 career batting average, a .482 On Base Average, 2,654 hits, 2,021 walks, 521 HR and 1,839 RBI.   

He hit .406 in 1941, the last hitter to do so, and flirted again in 1957 with .388!

Williams was a bit temperamental with fans and the media.   However, there was not a better hitter once the game started.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

We remember Ingrid Bergman, 1915-1982


The beautiful and talented Ingrid Bergman was born on August 29, 1915 and died on the same day in 1982.   

Her film debut was David O. Selznick’s Intermezzo: A Love Story (1939).  In 1942, she made "Casablanca" with Humphrey Bogart.   Then came "For Whom the Bell Tolls" in 1943 and few others.  


Her movies were great!   Watch one today.

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Monday, August 28, 2006

1774: We remember St. Elizabeth born in New York City



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Chicago 1968 and the Democrats

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

We remember Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-73)


We remember Lyndon B. Johnson who was born in Texas on this day in 1908.    He became president on the day that President Kennedy was assassinated, and then went on to win one of the biggest landslides ever in 1964.   By 1968, LBJ declined to run again because of the difficulties with the Vietnam War.

Before 1960, Johnson was a very powerful US Senator and Majority Leader.   

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1967: Brian Epstein was found dead

How Brian Epstein discovered the Beatles - CBS News
We remember Brian Epstein who died on this day in 1967.    

Brian signed The Beatles to a management contract on January 24, 1962.  He cleaned up their image and eventually got them a recording contract with Parlophone Records.   Later in October, the band issued their first 45 "Love me do", a top 20 hit in the UK. 

In 1963, the band hit # 1 with "Please please me" and "She loves you". Along with producer George Martin, Brian Epstein was a key player in the development of The Beatles.

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August 2007: Bonds passed Aaron but did the fans accept it?



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Back in August 2007, baseball fans saw a lot of history.

Barry Bonds tied hank Aaron.  He passed Aaron the next night. 

Will the fans accept the new record?   Probably not. 

Yet, you can not dispute what Bonds has done:
"The Giants slugger has won 7 MVP awards, a major league record. He has the 5th highest career slugging percentage in baseball history, and the 6th highest career on base percentage. For the combination of the two, the SLOB or OPS, Bonds rank 4th for his career. Bonds has the 3rd lowest number of at bats per home run in baseball history." (Is Barry Bonds Baseball's Greatest Slugger? by Richard Baehr)
It's a shame about the steroids controversy. 

It's a bigger shame that Hank Aaron's record was broken by someone with such a controversial story.   






Prague 1968 and memories of the old USSR

(My new American Thinker post)


We read about Putin and Russian troops threatening neighbors.   It's enough to remind us of another time when the then USSR invaded the then country of Czechoslovakia.   It happened this weekend in 1968: 
On the night of August 20, 1968, approximately 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 5,000 tanks invade Czechoslovakia to crush the “Prague Spring”–a brief period of liberalization in the communist country. Czechoslovakians protested the invasion with public demonstrations and other non-violent tactics, but they were no match for the Soviet tanks. The liberal reforms of First Secretary Alexander Dubcek were repealed and “normalization” began under his successor Gustav Husak. 
It was the second time that USSR tanks under the banner of The Warsaw Pact had crushed democratic impulses in Eastern Europe.    It also happened in Hungary in 1956 when Soviet tanks actually fought with people in the streets.

As a kid, we heard the stories of Cuban political prisoners.  Our family dinner table was a classroom with my parents telling us about communism or reading the latest letter from Cuba.

I grew up admiring the men and women who risked their lives to fight for freedom. Some of these men were Cardinal Mindszenty of Hungary, those who tried to cross the Berlin Wall, the guerrillas who fought Castro in The Escambray Mountains and those who tried reforms inside the Soviet bloc.

On August 21, 1968, the Rascals were riding high with a song called "People got to be free". 

It was a pop hit in the US.  It was reality in the streets of Prague.

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August 2013: The world is not respecting or fearing President Obama

(My new American Thinker post)   

 We can safely say that most of the world does not respect President Obama.    His "red lines" are useless.  His "threats" are laughed at.   We are closing embassies around the world after President Obama told us that the war on terror was as good as over.

And he looks so weak when there is a thug like Putin on the other side of the table. 

For example, the Cold War and USSR is history but Putin is boosting military ties with Cuba.  What for?  This is what "thugs" do when they sense weakness.  

Putin is having a good time insulting Obama, as Michael Crowley reminds us today 

"The Cold War may be over. But America's relationship with Russia is about as warm as a Siberian pool party. And there's not much Obama can do about it. Some commentators are urging him to "man up and punch back." But Putin is not an easily intimidated man. Indeed some close observers openly wonder if he's altogether rational. One former senior Bush administration official recently described Putin to me as having transformed from confidence to arrogance to outright megalomania. (That's not to mention the well-publicized, often-shirtless "nonsense jackassery.") And much like China, Russia simply isn't a country America can bend to its will. Especially not when oil, one of the country's prime exports, are well over $100 a barrel, giving Russia the cash and comfort to project. And especially when America's reputation around the world remains, shall we say, problematic."

Yes, our options are limited but we would have a few more of them with a stronger president! 
 
We are back to leadership 101.  The US president must be respected and feared.  Otherwise, he is useless on the world scene no matter how many times they scream "yes we can" in Paris or "we love you" in South Africa.
 
It's all about having "cards to play" and keeping your opponents guessing.
 
Unfortunately, President Obama does not have any cards to play, as Benny Avni wrote today:  

"There are always excuses: America is broke; voters no longer want us to be the world's cop. And even if we did want it, what can we do? And so the onetime leader of the free world, the globe's only superpower, has no cards left to play -- not even to bring a wayward fugitive for trial."

Yes, that's the dilemma.  He is not very respected!     

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August 28, 1963: Dr Martin Luther King and "I have a dream"

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

August 26, 1987: Paul Molitor's streak ended at 39

Image result for paul molitor images
On this day in 1987, Paul Molitor went 0-for-4 and the streak was over.  He hit .415 during the streak.  It is still the 7th longest streak and the best since Pete Rose in 1978 and Joe DiMaggio in 1941.

Molitor broke with the Brewers in 1978.   He went on to have a marvelous career:  .306 average, 3,319 hits, & 1,307 RBI.  

He hit .355 for the Brewers in the 1982 World Series and was the 1993 World Series MVP when Toronto beat Philadelphia.

Just a great player and recently managed the Minnesota Twins.

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1939: The first baseball game on TV

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We take baseball on TV for granted these days. In fact, I’m watching a game on TV as I write this post.    For much of the 20th century, baseball was a radio game.   Baseball on TV became popular in the 1960’s and flourished with cable TV and other media.
So when did “baseball on TV” start? The answer is 1939.  It was a game between the Philadelphia Phillies and Brooklyn Dodgers.   By the way, Red Barber called the game and Brooklyn won 5-2.

The game was broadcast from New York City’s Empire State Building, completed just eight years earlier, and could be seen in homes up to 50 miles away.
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Friday, August 25, 2006

August 25, 1968: "Hey Jude" was released in the US


How likely is it that a 7-minute song would end up as one of the biggest hits of the 1960's or released on a 45 rpm vinyl disc?  Not likely unless you are The Beatles.

"Hey Jude" was the first Apple single and released this week in 1968.  The B-side was "Revolution", a song that also got lots of airplay.  In fact, I remember a DJ saying that the B-side was often doing better than the A-side.

The song was a very nice ballad for about 4 minutes.  The second half of the song went on and on with McCartney "screaming" between Lennon & Harrison singing the chorus.

It was very different and became a rock classic.   It was the quintessential single of the age of "45's and singles".  In fact, the song was not released in an album until 2 years later.  A clean digital version was included in the CD "Past Masters".

Wonder how many people saved their copy of the "Hey Jude" single?  I did not and that's a shame.

Click for "Hey Jude" and "Revolution", both sides of a classic 45!

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August 1967: Dean Chance pitched his second no-hitter of the month

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Back in 1967, Dean Chance pitched 2 no-hitters in one month.   The first one was a rain shortened 5-inning game and the second was a 2-1 victory over Cleveland.

Chance broke with the Angels in 1964:   20-9, a 1.69 ERA, 11 shutouts and 15 complete games.   Later, he was traded to the Twins and had a great 1967 season:  20-14 and 2.73 ERA.     


My biggest memory of Chance was pitching for the Twins, specially when Boston and Minnesota played for the AL pennant in the last day of the 1967 season.


Overall, he won 128 games with a 2.92 ERA!    


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August 1914: The Panama Canal opened for traffic

A little history today.   The Panama Canal  has another birthday this month.   The engineers selected the location in 1906 and construction began in 1909.  As we understand, they moved 240 million cubic yards of earth and spent more than US$ 400 million.  It was finally opened for traffic on this day in 1914.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

1962: We remember John and Cynthia Lennon

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We remember Beny More (1919-63)

Bartolomé Maximiliano Moré Gutiérrez was born in Santa Isabel de Las Lajas on August 23, 1919 and died February 19, 1963.  He was only 43 and and allegedly a victim of cirrhosis of the liver.

More's music is found in every Cuban household in the US.  I remember that my parents ordered some Beny More LP's when we finally got a record player in Wisconsin.  More's music was exactly what my parents needed to survive those cold Wisconsin winters.

He started singing as a young man and eventually joined Perez Prado, the big Cuban orchestra of the 1950's.  More eventually started his own band and enjoyed tremendous success until his death.

The bad news is that he died young.  The good news is that he left a huge archive of music and much of it is available in the US.

Click here for "Santa Isabel de las Lajas", a song that he wrote about his hometown!
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1814: First Lady Dolley Madison saved the Washington portrait

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Thumbs up for First Lady Dolley Madison!

We all remember The War of 1812. Some call it the second revolutionary war.

It was also the war that put First Lady Madison in our history books.  

As British troops approached The White House and President Madison was in a near battle field, Dolley ordered the staff to save the full-length portrait of former president and national icon George Washington from British soldiers.  She anticipated that the soldiers would burn and destroy the painting.  What a great move by First Lady Dolley Madison.
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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

August 22, 1938: Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers on the cover of LIFE

Image result for fred astaire and ginger rogers life magazine
On this day in 1938, Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers were on the cover of LIFE.

Fred & Ginger danced a lot in the 1930's or a time when The Depression was hitting most Americans very hard.

They were a major and very pleasant distraction for people at that time, as Bob Mondello wrote.

Here is a suggestion: Check out one of their many films

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August 22, 1989: Where were you the night that Nolan Ryan got his 5,000th strikeout?

It happened here at the old Arlington Stadium:  Nolan Ryan got his 5,000th strikeout and set a record that will probably last forever.  

Ryan followed up his historic performance with no hitters in 1990 and 1991.  

“The Ryan Express” retired in 1993 and pursued business interests including turning into a very successful baseball executive.  The Rangers won the AL pennant in 2010 and 2011 and made the post-season in 2012 and 2013.

Ryan left the Rangers after the 2013 season and became a consultant with the Houston Astros, although he spends most of his time these days at the ranch with Ruth. 

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Monday, August 21, 2006

2013 post: A word about Eydie Gorme










Let's take a break from politics today and remember Eydie Gorme, who passed away at 84
"Ms. Gorme, who was born in New York City to Sephardic Jewish parents, grew up speaking English and Spanish. When she and her husband were at the height of their career as a team in 1964, the president of Columbia Records, Goddard Lieberson, suggested she put that Spanish to use in the recording studio.
The result was "Amor," recorded with the Mexican combo Trio Los Panchos."
And this is where my parents and thousands of other Cuban parents came in!   She recorded music that was heard from here to Argentina.

In those early days in the US, my parents found tropical relief in cold Wisconsin winters by listening to all of those Spanish ballads that Eydie Gorme recorded. 

I can remember listening to her LP (that's what we had before CD or MP3 files) over and over again. My mom really loved them.  It was the romantic music that she and my dad dance to in a little town in central Cuba.

Frankly, I learned to love it too, especially as I got a little older and could not find anything exciting in pop music. I found myself doing what a lot of friends did; I got the CD version of the old LPs that we used to listen to. One of those CDs was Eydie Gorme singing in Spanish.


My friend Bill Katz  (of Urgent Agenda) discussed her career and musical elegance:
"Eydie Gorme's career reminds us that we once had truly great popular music in America, sung by singers who actually could sing, and who could engage the audience.  We had real composers and lyricists.  Our music entertained, but didn't degrade.  I have to believe there's still an audience for that music.  And I know there are young people who still love it.  I've met them."
RIP to Eydie Gorme.  I hope that the young people check out some of her Spanish songs.  They will love them as much as I do. The words are romantic, the arrangements are great and you won't cover your kids' ears when her songs come on the radio.
 
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August 1968: Tanks in Prague & "People got to be free" # 1 on Billboard

The Rascals - People Got To Be Free / My World (1968, Vinyl) | Discogs
We remember that Warsaw Pact tanks were crushing the people of Prague this week in 1968.    Like Hungary 1956, the USSR did not tolerate dissent in any of its satellite states.   

Over here, “People got to be free” by The Rascals was #1 on Billboard USA. It spent much of the month of August as the most popular song of that summer.    
We don't know if the Rascals were inspired by The Prague Spring but it was a timely message.
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1968: The tanks rolled into Prague


Image result for prague 1968 images
The USSR and The Warsaw Pact are now history. Prague is now the capital of The Czech Republic and Slovakia is another country or The Slovak Republic.
It was a dark day for freedom.  Like the Hungarians in 1956, the people of Czechoslovakia were given a taste of Soviet “tolerance”.    The “Prague Spring” was all about freedom and reforms but the Kremlin did not accept it and sent the tanks in.
A sad day for those of us who were watching from the West.  We remember today all of the people who stood up to Soviet tanks in Prague.
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August 1968: Soviet tanks crushed the Prague Spring


The USSR and The Warsaw Pact are now history. Prague is now the capital of The Czech Republic and Slovakia is another country or The Slovak Republic.
It was a dark day for freedom.  Like the Hungarians in 1956, the people of Czechoslovakia were given a taste of Soviet “tolerance”.    The “Prague Spring” was all about freedom and reforms but the Kremlin did not accept it and sent the tanks in.
A sad day for those of us who were watching from the West.  We remember today all of the people who stood up to Soviet tanks in Prague.
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Hawaii made it 50 in 1959

Image result for hawaii 1959 images

We remember that Hawaii made it 50 on this day in 1959.   Alaska became a state in January 1959 and it was followed by Hawaii months later.
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