Archive for the ‘In Memorium’ Category
You won’t find his name on MLB.com in a blustery article, and you won’t find today’s date mentioned in any major baseball article today. Bud Selig won’t designate a day to honor his memory. He was overlooked for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame until an act of the veteran’s committee in 1995 recognized him, ignored by Cooperstown for 113 years even though he was born two miles away in Burlington Flats, NY. “Major League Baseball” would not exist in its current form without his contribution. On February 2nd, 1876, in New York City, William Hulbert, of what would become the Chicago Cubs, called together the principle owners of the seminal baseball clubs in order to form what would become the National League.
Hulbert established the central authority of the league to enforce schedules, hire umpires, ensure compliance both by the owners and by the players (who, until then, habitually “jumped” contracts), and promote the integrity of the sport in the practice of the clubs and in the eyes of the buying public. One of his early steps was to banish clubs from the two most popular baseball towns – Philadelphia and New York City – for not submitting their schedules in a timely matter. There was to be no drinking, no gambling, and no games on Sunday. Players would be bound to team for their entire careers, a novel concept surprisingly accepted broadly by fan, owner, and player alike, as it lent a continuity to the game never before realized. Four men on the Louisville squad were banned for life after it was revealed they tried to throw the 1877 championship series.
By far the best chain of events to be found lays out the progression of reserve clauses and contracts and unions and minors, and is a great read to put the current chaos of baseball in its proper perspective.
Please enjoy, and remember, the way things are are because someone made them that way.
“Catching a fly ball is a pleasure, but knowing what to do with it after you catch it is business.” – Tommy Henrich, from the Baseball Almanac
Henrich was also a teammate of a host of a greats that spanned the late 30’s powerhouses through to the dawn of the Fourth Dynasty – to name a few: Gehrig, DiMaggio, Rizzuto, Bauer, Dickey, and Berra, who is among a few Yankee notables who eulogize the five-time All Star:
“Tommy was a darn good ballplayer and teammate,” former Yankees teammate Yogi Berra said in a statement. “He always took being a Yankee to heart. He won a lot of championships and did whatever he could to help us win. When I came up in 1947, he taught me little nuances about playing the outfield. Being around Tommy made you feel good, whether playing cards or listening to him sing with that great voice. He was a proud man, and if you knew him, he made you proud too.”
“Tommy was a terrific player,” former teammate Dr. Bobby Brown said in a statement. “What made him so special was that he always played well in big games. You get him in a close or important game and he would always show up ready to play. It seemed like he never made any mistakes in the outfield. He was a true professional and an ultimate Yankee.”
Jerry Coleman, a former teammate, said Henrich’s “Old Reliable” nickname perfectly described an uncanny ability to come through in big spots.
“My first year with him was 1949, and it seemed like every home run he hit won the game,” Coleman said in a statement. “His career stats might not show it, but he was a great clutch player. When he hit, it counted. He was also a fine defensive player in the outfield.”
Tommy was part of the record-breaking power show of June 28th, 1939 in which he, Joe DiMaggio, Babe Dahlgren, and Joe Gordon contributed three homeruns apiece as the Yankees slugged for 53 total bases in a double-header versus the A’s.
Thanks to the Babe for the heads up.
Who could forget that perfect September morning?
How could anyone forget the sound of a jet roaring in just above the buildings of lower Manhattan?
Who could forget the way the world literally shook when it slammed into Tower 2?
Who could forget the blue September sky snowing?
Who could forget that looking into the gaping wounds of Towers 1 and 2 and the fires that filled them made you feel as if you must be staring straight into hell?
Who could forget the people jumping and thinking how horrific it must have been to pick that as the better option?
Who could forget the heroism of the NYFD and NYPD and all the Emergency Service workers who sped by in what seemed like an endless parade of sirens, many rushing to their deaths trying to rescue others?
Who could forget the sense of relief that it was over only when you saw the US fighter jets soaring over Manhattan?
Who can forget finding out about friends lost as you saw their families on tv holding pictures and hoping against hope that they would find them?
Who could forget the friends that were only there for that morning and never left?
Who could forget the anger and sadness going back into a war zone or the thick, burning air that engulfed you for months?
And who could forget the twins you now see everyday, born after Sept. 11, who never got to know their father?
Never Forget? How could I?