I always enjoyed playing ball, and it didn’t matter to me whether I played with white kids or black. I never understood why an issue was made of who I played with, and I never felt comfortable, when I grew up, telling other people how to act. Over the years, a lot of organizations have asked me to be their spokesman, or have wanted me to make speeches about my experiences as a black athlete, or to talk to Congressmen about racial issues in sports. But see, I never recall trouble. I believe I had a happy childhood. Besides playing school sports, we’d play football against the white kids. And we thought nothing of it, neither the blacks nor the whites. It was the grownups who got upset … I never got into a fight that was caused by racism.
Thanks to Hank Aaron’s 11th inning home run, the Milwaukee Braves defeated the Cardinals 4-2 to clinch the 1957 National League pennant. It was the first time since the 1950 season that a team not from New York state finished first in the National League. From 1951 to 1956, NL pennants were split between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants.
A little music baseball humor for our Friday. I’m not sure whether swinging that giant instrument would make it easier or harder to make contact with a 100 mph pitch.
A baseball swing is a very finely tuned instrument. It is repetition, and more repetition, then a little more after that.
Jim ‘Nixey’ Callahan threw the White Sox’s first no-hitter in franchise history on September 20, 1902, defeating the Tigers, 2-0. In addition to pitching in eight out of his thirteen Major League seasons, Callahan was a utility player who also played left field.
In this 1970s song, Del Reeves manages to turn a list of Major League Baseball team names into a song about girls. I took a moment to look up the word “filly,” which I somehow had never heard before. It turns out that a filly is a young female horse — essentially the female version of a colt.
I was a teenager when I first watched this movie and came across a copy while browsing around the library this weekend. Feeling like I was overdue to re-watch it, I decided to check it out.
The Pride of the Yankees was released in 1942 and is subtitled “The Life of Lou Gehrig.” Starring Gary Cooper as Gehrig, Teresa Wright as his wife Eleanor, and Babe Ruth as himself, it chronicles events of Gehrig’s life, from boyhood to his iconic speech at Yankee Stadium at the end of his career. The movie is much more touchy-feely and relationship-focused than it is a baseball biography. There is certainly baseball in the movie — after all, how could there not be? — but emphasis falls more on Gehrig’s relationships with his parents and with his wife.
The complete turnaround in Gehrig’s mother’s attitude towards baseball is certainly one of my favorite aspects of the plot. In the beginning, Mrs. Gehrig is determined that her son will become an engineer, only wishing for him a better life than she had. When Gehrig signs with the Yankees out of Columbia, she is naturally disappointed. However, Gehrig’s solid play and eventual stardom win her over, and by the end, she insists that anybody can be an engineer, but there is only one Lou Gehrig.
Gehrig’s “luckiest man” speech, both the original and the movie version, is so moving that anybody with a heart can’t help but be moved to tears. The movie as a whole revolves around the pulling of heart strings, from Gehrig’s too-good-to-be-true relationship with Eleanor, to the story of hitting two home runs for little Billy in the hospital, to the speech at the end. Certainly it was intended much more as a feel-good tale than a baseball movie. The movie ran a bit longer than I remembered it going (a little over two hours), but as a whole, was definitely worth watching once again.