One Of The Greatest Pitching Performances Ever

49 Years Ago, Satchel Paige Shut Out The Red Sox For Three Innings. 

No Big Deal, Except That He Was 59

Satchel Paige, age 59 warming up on September 13, 1965  two weeks before facing the Red Sox photo: AP

Satchel Paige, age 59 warming up on September 13, 1965 two weeks before facing the Red Sox photo: AP

To hold “a day” for a ballplayer years after he last played in the major leagues is a special treat for the player. What makes it even more special is when the player participates in the game.

Forty nine years ago on September 25, 1965, Satchel Paige stepped on to the field at Kansas City’s Municipal Stadium on Satchel Paige Night as the starting pitcher for the Kansas City Athletics. It was supposed to be a publicity stunt conceived by Athletics owner Charlie Finley to boost attendance, but Paige took his pitching seriously and would not be embarrassed.

Paige considered by many to be the Negro League’s best pitcher for over two decades, came to the Major Leagues when he was 42-years-old in 1948 when he was signed by Indians owner Bill Veeck.

Paige went 6-1 with a 2.48 ERA that year and helped Cleveland win the pennant. Paige stayed in the majors until he was 46 and continued playing in the minors and barnstorming into the early 1960’s.

At Satchel Paige Night, Charlie Finley had provided a rocking chair for Paige to sit in before the ball game began and a nurse was stationed next to Paige to massage him and keep his arm loose.

The visiting Boston Red Sox did not lay down for Paige. They tried, but the crafty 59-year-old was not going to let a bunch of kids show him up on his own night.

In the first three innings the Red Sox managed to get a runner on with an error and a double by Sox star Carl Yastrzemski.

At the beginning of the fourth inning with the A’s winning one to nothing, Paige went to the mound but was removed by manager Haywood Sullivan and given a standing ovation by the crowd of 9,289. Paige’s final line read: no runs, one hit, no walks, and one strike out.

The Athletics ended up losing the game 5-2 and finished the season a week later in last place with a 59-103 record.

Major League Baseball fans were deprived of seeing how great Satchel Paige was during his prime because of segregation, but the ballplayers knew. Joe DiMaggio called Satchel Paige “the best and fastest pitcher I’ve ever faced.” When Mickey Mantle was asked who was the hardest pitcher for him to hit, he replied, “Satchel Paige.”  Many Negro Leaguer’s who played against Paige would be in agreement with those assessments.

This one pitching performance by Paige in 1965 has to be viewed as one of the most amazing and greatest of all time.

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Dumb Advertisement Sign Of The Day

How Much Can I NOT Save?

Shop Rite Not On Sale Sign

The fact that Shop Rite Supermarket was selling fresh lemons last year at 4 for $1.99 was not surprising. But the fact that lemons are normally 50¢ and telling me that by buying four I could save 0¢ (and highlighting the fact) makes me wonder about the intelligence of their sign designer.

Yes, technically I know you would save one cent by buying four.

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The Ninth Avenue Elevated Train Crash Of 1905

 In 1905, The Worst Elevated Train Accident In New York’s History Occurred

9th ave elevated railway accident 9 11 1905 postcard photo R Weigel

For as long as you live September 11 will be remembered as the date of  the terrorist attacks on America that brought down the World Trade Center towers. But before 2001,  9/11 marked the anniversary of the worst elevated train disaster in New York’s history. It is a disaster no one wanted to remember and was quickly forgotten except by train and New York history buffs.

The four elevated lines in Manhattan which had a glorious history are long gone, demolished between 1938 and 1955. The elevated lines began service in 1878 and until the subway was built, they provided the quickest and safest routes around New York.

9th Ave 53rd Street junction photo via -  http://warofyesterday.blogspot.com

9th Ave 53rd Street elevated junction
photo via – http://warofyesterday.blogspot.com

But there were always fears among riders that one day an elevated train would jump the tracks.

Those fears came true on September 11, 1905.

Not surprisingly it happened at one of the more dangerous stretches of track along the elevated system.

The Sixth and Ninth Avenue Elevated lines shared their tracks above 53rd Street along Ninth Avenue. At 53rd Street the lines diverged, with the Sixth Avenue el traveling three avenues east along 53rd Street to continue its journey along Sixth Avenue.

At that Ninth Avenue junction, the towerman (also called switchman) was responsible for controlling whether trains traveling downtown would continue straight on the Ninth Avenue line or go along 53rd Street to the Sixth Avenue line.

The passengers aboard a five car “el” train that September 11 morning believed their train was going to continue straight down Ninth Avenue, as that was what the station guards at the previous station at 59th Street had told them.

If the train was proceeding down Sixth Avenue it was supposed to come to a full stop at 54th street and await a signal. The recommended maximum speed if a train was to continue down Ninth Avenue was nine miles per hour.

Diagram of Ninth Avenue El crash

Diagram of Ninth Avenue El crash (click to enlarge)

It was 7:05 in the morning as Paul Kelly, the motorman of the el train approached the intersection at 53rd street without stopping.

Witnesses said Kelly slowed down a bit but the train’s estimated speed was 25 miles per hour. Continue reading

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A New Yorker Entertains Her Tourist Friend And Finds Her Missing Brother – 1905

Places A Tourist Should Go in 1905? Bellevue And The Morgue.

1st Ave. 26th Bellevue Hospital postcard circa 1912

Visiting New York City today there are things that most tourists go and see: The Empire State Building, Times Square, The Statue of Liberty and other typical touristy places. A hundred years ago you might be surprised at what sights people would go and visit. In 1905 for one New Yorker, Miss Laura Magner, taking an out-of-town friend to Bellevue and visiting the morgue seemed like an interesting, if not macabre way to spend the day.

They say truth is stranger than fiction, so we’ll let The New York Evening World of September 11, 1905 pick up the rest of this strange story:

SAW PICTURE AT MORGUE OF DEAD BROTHER

Miss Magner, Showing a Friend the Sights, Identifies Photograph.

This isn’t a very big world since the railroad, the telegraph and the telephone annihilated distances, but here is the strange story of what happened at the points of a triangle with sides only a mile long.

On Feb. 26, 1904, the body of a young man was found on the doors of No. 269 Ninth Avenue, dead. No one knew him. At the morgue the body was photographed and a complete description taken. The breast and arms were tattooed with the form of a woman, the emblems of Faith, Hope and Charity and the initials “J.M.”

After a few days the unidentified body was burled In Potter’s Field, where it has lain for nineteen months. Last Saturday Miss Laura Magner, of No. 354 West Forty-sixth Street, who was entertaining a visiting friend from out-of-town, took him to see Bellevue Hospital and the Morgue.

Continue reading

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Old New York in Postcards #9

Postcard Views Of The Interior Of Old Penn Station

Because it was dismantled over 50 years ago, many people are familiar with the grandeur of the original Penn Station only through photographs.

The station was opened to the public on September 8, 1910 and the cost of the exterior alone was over $100 million.

Seen from the exterior, the beautiful McKim Mead and White masterpiece represented a merging of modernity and classic architecture. Penn Station exterior

The interior was spacious and wondrous to behold. But according to the Pennsylvania Railroad, the owners of Penn Station, by the mid 1950’s, it was also grimy, outdated, in need of costly repairs and difficult to keep clean. These conditions existed mostly because the Pennsylvania Railroad let the station fall into that state.

The Pennsylvania Railroad knew the land the building was sitting on was worth more than the station itself. This grand monument to railroads and public space was sacrificed to “progress,” the development of the Penn Plaza office buildings and a new Madison Square Garden.

Without regard that a great civic wrong was being done, Penn Station was demolished between 1963 and 1966. It was replaced by a banal, claustrophobic, ugly underground maze also called Penn Station which bears no resemblance to the original, to cattle chute passengers to their trains.

More than two generations of New Yorkers have lamented the loss and contemplated replacements to bring about a new edifice and station worthy of the name. The Farley Post Office (also by McKim Mead and White) between 8th and 9th Avenues directly across the street from the current Penn Station is often discussed as hosting a remodeled station, but nothing has been done to bring those plans to fruition.

Here are some postcard interior views of the original Penn Station. (click on any image to enlarge.)

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Salaries Of Hollywood In 1937 – A List of The Film Stars Pay

Katharine Hepburn Was Paid $206,928, While Peter Lorre Made Just $15,265

1937 Was A Good Year For Film Salaries

Gary Cooper - Filmdom's top paid personality in 1937

Gary Cooper – Filmdom’s top paid personality in 1937

I find this sort of stuff fascinating.

In 1938 the U.S. Treasury released a report to Congress that listed how much compensation was paid to luminaries in the film industry for 1937.

The highlight of the report was that Gary Cooper ($370,214) overtook Mae West ($323.333) as the highest salaried film personality.

This was during the height of the Great Depression, so many of the salaries seem astronomical when compared to the average annual salary of a working person which was only $890 in 1937 according to Time magazine.

The list is interesting to look over and there are quite a few surprises. For instance Zeppo Marx ($56,766) is listed in the report and his more famous brothers Groucho, Chico and Harpo are not. Laurel and Hardy are there, and Stan Laurel ($135,167 ) earned nearly $50,000 more than his rotund comedy partner Oliver Hardy ( $88,600).

Ginger Rogers and those famous legs. Ginger received a $124,770 salary in 1937.

Ginger Rogers and those famous legs. Ginger received $124,770 in pay in 1937.

Studio chief and creative genius Walt Disney made only $39,000, yet William A. Seiter, director in 1937 of This is My Affair and Life Begins In College made $135,750!

Box office draws, Barbara Stanwyck, Ginger Rogers and Claudette Colbert were all pulling in over $100,000.

I recognized most of the names on the list, but there are also a handful of people I never heard of like The Yacht Club Boys, ($32,166) who were a popular singing group. And I should have known Alan Dinehart, ($39,666) a busy character actor who appeared in 89 movies during his abbreviated acting career (he died at the age of 54 in 1944).

Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Spencer Tracy, Olivia de Havilland, Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart and many others who were big stars are unfortunately not listed.

There are writers, directors, producers, and songwriters mixed in among the stars and supporting players of the movies.

Sadly, so many of these names are now completely forgotten except by a much older generation of contemporaries or rabid TCM movie fans.

Here are the 1937 salaries of over 160 of some of Hollywood’s top talent in alphabetical order:

  1. Don Ameche, $34,499;
  2. Heather Angel, $15,375;
  3. Jean Arthur, $119,041;
  4. Fred Astaire, $211,666; Continue reading
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Thurman Munson And Billy Martin Argue A Call

Thurman Munson Is Out And Billy Martin Does Not Agree

Thurman Munson Billy Martin argue call July 21 1978

There was no instant replay back when this scene occurred on July 21, 1978 as Billy Martin pleads his case in vain to umpire Durwood Merrill. Believe it or not, they are arguing that Munson should have been called safe when he attempted to steal home.

The Yankees were playing the Minnesota Twins at Metropolitan Stadium, a place very familiar to Yankees manager Billy Martin and the theft of home. When Martin managed the Twins in 1969 he taught Rod Carew how to swipe home and Carew ended up with a record seven steals of home.

It was not a big deal that Munson was called out in this instance, as the Yankees won the game 4-0.

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The 11-Year-Old New York Pancake Flipping Champ For 1947

Henry McChesney Wins An Unusual Contest

Pancake flipping champ 1947

Bet you didn’t know there was once a pancake flipping champ in New York? Well there was in 1947.

Note the concentration in young Henry McChesney’s face. The rules and how many other entrants there were in this contest is anyone’s guess. The caption for this Acme news photo reads as follows:

Fancy Flapjack Flipper

New York: When Henry McChesney end-over-ended a flapjack five times, he became champion flapjack flipper of the Madison Square Garden Club. Judging the contest, held August 28th, is Legionnaire John M. Lewis, who awarded the wise old owl emblem to the club, one of the Boys’ Clubs in which the National Americanism Commission of the American Legion is interested. credit: (Acme) 8-28-47

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Old New York In Photos #39

Union Square Looking East Along 14th Street From University Place – February 1954

14th st looking east Kleins February 1954

It is a brisk February morning in 1954 and on the left is Union Square Park. But dominating this view in the center of the photograph is what was a magnet for generations of bargain-hunting New Yorkers, the large department store of S. Klein On The Sqaure.

S. Klein’s emblem was a measuring square which can barely be seen under the “KLE” in the KLEIN sign in the photo. The “On The Square” tag line was a play on words in that S. Klein was not only located on Union Square,  but implied that they were fair and honest in their dealings – “on the square.” Continue reading

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When Grandmama Was Young

And This Glamorous Young Actress Is…

Blossom Rock Marie Blake Grandmama Addams Family

Well the signature on the photo says Marie Blake.

But you probably do not know who that is.

Marie Blake was the older sister of famous movie star Jeanette MacDonald. Yet more people today probably know Marie Blake than her famous sister Jeanette, because Marie later went under the stage name of Blossom Rock, better known as…

Blssom RockGrandmama from The Addams Family TV series.

Marie Blake / Blossom Rock appeared mostly uncredited in dozens of films from 1933 through 1964. When she landed the role of Gomez Addams’ mother on The Addams Family it granted her small screen immortality.

She was with the famed sitcom for its entire run from 1964 until 1966.

Marie Blake / Blossom Rock died January 14, 1978 at the age of 82.

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