Saturday, September 30, 2006
Chuck Connors used to play baseball. In fact, he played with the Dodgers and Cubs in 1949-51. Connors, who was 6'5 and 190 lbs, never hit much: .238 in 67 major league games!
On this day in 1958, "The Rifleman" made its debut on US TV and an entire generation of boys like me grew up watching it. Even now, I catch episodes on Saturday mornings over at AMC.
The show's message was simple: right and wrong, a widowed father who was a good role model and a cast of characters that we enjoyed every week.
The great Roberto Clemente got # 3,000 on this day in 1972. It turned out to be his last major league hit and at-bat because he died in a plane crash 3 months later.
Friday, September 29, 2006
What can I say? I used to love this show not realizing that I would have 3 sons someday.
The original series was about widower Steve Douglas raising three sons with the help of the one and only Uncle Charlie.
The show ran until 1972. The family expanded when Douglas remarried and new characters came into the story.
By the way, McMurray died in 1991. He had a long film career before this show. Don Grady, who played Robbie, died in 2012. William Demarest, who played Uncle Charlie and served in World War I, died in 1983. The other two sons are still living.
A great show now available for sale..........
Gene Autry was born in Tioga, Texas and grew up here and Oklahoma. Where else?
We remember him for songs and movies. "Rudolph the red nosed reindeer" is the second all-time best selling Christmas single, i.e. 30 million copies. He is the only entertainer to have all five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one each for Radio, Recording, Motion Pictures, Television, and Live Theater performances.
And he owned the Angels, the AL baseball team in Los Angeles. Sadly, he never saw his Angels win the 2002 World Series.
Autry was one of the most famous people of the 20th century.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
On this day in 1941, Williams was batting .399955 when he woke up in the last day of the season. He decided to play a double header against the A's. Williams went for 6-for-8 and finished the season at .406.
On this day in 1960, Williams hit a home run in his last at bat in the major leagues.
Let me add this note: Williams also hit .388 in 1957!
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
The Beatles recorded "Abbey Road" in the spring and summer of 1969. It was eventually released in September 1969 in the UK and a week later in the US.
Abbey Road was special because of Side 2, or the medley.
How successful was Abbey Road? It included 2 of George Harrison's finest songs: "Something" and "Here comes the sun".
John Lennon had "Come together" and the very long "I want you she's so heavy" that goes on forever.
Ringo had "Octupus' garden", maybe his best composition.
And Paul had several lead vocals.
Jim Palmer and the Orioles made a little history on this day in 1971. He won his 20th and joined teammates Mike Cuellar, Dave McNally & Pat Dobson as 20-game winners.
A few days later, the O's swept the A's in the ALCS. Then they lost to the Pirates in the World Series.
It was indeed a tough series against Pittsburgh. At one point in game 7, the O's had McNally and Dobson warming up in the bullpen as happened in game 6.
A great moment in O's history: Four 20-game winners in one staff!
This is "See you in September" by The Tempos. It was included in the soundtrack of "American Graffiti"!
It is my favorite of the "school is over" songs. There is also a great version by The Happenings!
I look forward to September and a little relief from this heat.
Monday, September 25, 2006
It was in the middle of a pennant race between the Astros and Dodgers plus a national audience (NBC Saturday Game of the Week).
Let me add that I was lucky to catch the last few innings. In the 9th inning, Ryan struck out Reggie Smith, a pinch-hitter for his 11th strikeout of the game. Ken Landreaux and Dusty Baker grounded out to complete the gem.
The Partridge Family made its debut on ABC this week in 1970. They were inspired by The Cowsills, the pop group that featured mom singing with her kids. Apparently, the idea of the show was offered to The Cowsills but it did not work out.
The Partridge Family had a couple of big hits. In the end, David Cassidy became a huge teen idol and had hits as a solo artist in the 1970's.
Back in 1960, millions of Americans tuned in for a real "TV first" this week. They watched a debate by the two major presidential candidates running for president in 1960.
Who won? Did the debates impact the vote?
Senator Kennedy won by 114,000 votes out of 70 million cast that day. It was 49.72% vs 49.55%.
The conventional wisdom is that JFK won "the video" and Nixon won "the audio".
Again, your guess is as good as mine. It's like losing the pennant by one game and arguing about what "one game" made the difference.
What impact did it have?
Senator Kennedy hit the Eisenhower administration very hard about the growing communist menace in Cuba. His debate comments actually had an impact on many Cubans, like my father, who were following the debates by shortwave radio. Sadly, President Kennedy dropped the ball at The Bay of Pigs the next spring. He contradicted with his actions what he promised at the debates.
What else do we remember from the 1960 presidential debates? Vietnam was not a topic in the Kennedy-Nixon debates but it consumed the nation in the 1960's.
In 1960, we learned an important lesson. Debates are important and we should continue the tradition. However, the reality of the presidency often overwhelms campaign promises or 'tough talk" at the debates.
For a look back at the 1960 campaign, check out.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
For years, I caught a local radio show about The Beatles. It was full of details about their songs and personal lives.
Linda McCartney was born in New York City on this day in 1941. She died in 1998 after almost 30 years of marriage to Paul McCartney. It stands as one of the most successful and enduring marriages in pop music.
We grew up with Paul, Linda and all of those McCartney kids running around in the farm.
You can hear her voice in some Wings' songs. Her greatest contribution was being a great wife and mother.
We remember F. Scott Fitzgerald who was born on this day in St. Paul, Minnesota. He served in World War I and moved to France where he wrote "The Great Gatsby" or his most famous work, in 1925.
On this day in 1964, President Johnson received The Warren Report on the assassination of Pres Kennedy. It concluded that Oswald had acted alone.
It was an extraordinary report based on hundreds of interviews and experts.
Over the years, there have been serious challenges to the Report and not serious ones, such as Oliver Stone’s JFK movie from 1991.
Overall, the Report's conclusion stands years later.
By the way, future President Ford was a member of the Commission. He is standing to the left of Chief Justice Warren.
Al Kaline was one of the most consistent hitters of the 20th century. He was also a superb right fielder.
On this day in 1974, Al Kaline got # 3,000 in a game against the Orioles in Baltimore. He retired at the end of the season Overall, Kaline retired with 3,007 hits, a .297 career average, 399 home runs and 1,582 RBI.
We remember Curt Motton. He was born in California on this day in 1940.
Curt broke with the Orioles in 1967 but did not get a lot of playing time with Don Buford, Paul Blair and Frank Robinson as the outfield regulars.
He did hit .303 in 1969 but only had 89 AB's. Motton did play in 1969-71 post season teams. Eventually, he was traded to the Brewers in 1972 but came back to Baltimore and retired after the 1974 season.
In late 1976, I saw Curt speak at a dinner in Baltimore. He mentioned that the O's had this switch hitter in the system who would make the team in 1977. He was talking about Eddie Murray.
Curt died in 2010. He was a great guy and a popular teammate in one of the best teams of the 20th century. He played with Frank & Brooks Robinson in those great Orioles' teams:
Saturday, September 23, 2006
From 1954 until 1976, Hank Aaron was one of the best players in baseball. He was selected to the Hall of Fame in 1982.
In 1957, Aaron led the Braves to the NL pennant. On this day, he hit the extra inning HR at County Stadium to clinch it.
The "walk off" was one of the greatest moments in Milwaukee baseball history. A few weeks later, Milwaukee beat New York in the World Series and it was quite a celebration:
Friday, September 22, 2006
Lasorda broke with the Dodgers in 1954 and played a couple of seasons. His overall record was 0-4.
We remember him as the manager of the Dodgers: 1,599 wins, World Series champs in 1981 & 1988, NL champs in 1977 & 1978 plus NL West divisional champs in 1983 & 1985.
Lasorda was one of the game's greatest ambassadors.
On this day in 1966, the Baltimore Orioles clinched their first AL pennant with a 6-1 victory over the A’s in Kansas City. It was an amazing year for a very good team, as remembered by The Sun:
Yet when they formally clinched the pennant in Kansas City on Sept. 22 — Palmer beat the Athletics, aided by a sensational diving catch by outfielder Russ Snyder — they did not take the moment for granted.The victory touched off a celebratory food fight that lasted more than an hour. Egg salad, chocolate milk and shaving cream filled the air. Players tossed fully clothed teammates, and owner Jerry Hoffberger, into streaming showers and swirling whirlpool tubs. A champagne-addled Johnson, who’d go on to manage the Orioles 30 years later, nearly drowned in 8 inches of water.Powell cut off announcer Bill O’Donnell’s pants at the knee. An upended buffet table landed on reserve Charley Lau’s head.“Most outlandish thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Watt says.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
It quickly became one of the most popular events on TV. The Browns (now in Baltimore) beat the Jets, 31-21.
In late 2005, Monday Night Football said goodbye to ABC and moved to ESPN.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
How about this little fact? She and Jim Morrison attended George Washington High School in Virginia. Wonder if they knew each other?
Where did the years go? It seems that it was only yesterday that we heard about the Mexico City earthquake of 1985.
Morgan was born in California in 1943 and broke with the expansion Houston Colt-45 in 1961 now the Astros. He was traded to the Reds before the 1972 season and enjoyed incredible success: MVP 1975 & 1976. In 1990, Morgan was selected for The Hall of Fame: 2,517 hits, 1,650 runs scored, 268 home runs, 689 stolen bases and 1,865 walks!
Without question, one of the best second basemen in the game's history. After baseball, he turned into a fabulous baseball TV analyst. We will always his leadership role with The Big Red Machine.