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 it’s entire run from 1964 until 1966.

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

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Alvin Dark Slides Home Safely At The Polo Grounds – 1950

Al Dark – Giant Star And Religious Man

Andy Seminick Al Dark May 27 1950

Dark Deed

New York: Alvin Dark of the Giants plows home safely from third in the eighth inning of the game with the Phillies at the Polo Grounds May 27. Action came in Don Mueller’s grounder to Eddie Waitkus at first. Eddie ran in for the ball and threw to catcher Andy Seminick in an attempt to nail Dark, but the throw was late. Umpire is Al Barlick. Phillies won, 8-5. credit: (Acme) 5-27-50

Al Dark is 92 and living in Easley, South Carolina. He is at peace with his life and can look back on a very successful fourteen year playing career in which Dark compiled a .289 career batting average, had over 2,000 hits and was a three time all-star.

Alvin Dark in 2012 ERIK S. LESSER FOR SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

Alvin Dark at home in Easley, SC in a 2012 photo: Erik S. Lesser for the San Francisco Chronicle

Dark said in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle on the eve of his 90th birthday, “I never drank, never smoked, never chewed, never anything like that. It was all against my sports upbringing. I feel very fortunate. And very happy. God blessed me.”

After his playing career ended in 1960 at the age of 38, Dark managed four teams over the course of 13 seasons winning the pennant in 1962 with the Giants and the World Series with the Oakland Athletics in 1974. Athletics owner Charlie Finley dumped Dark after the 1975 season when the team went 98-64, but the Athletics were swept in three games by the Red Sox in the divisional playoffs. Finley had previously fired Dark in 1967 with the Kansas City Athletics.

According to sportswriter Harold Parrott, Finley fired or technically “did not rehire” Dark, not for losing the playoffs in 1975 but for something Dark said at a prayer meeting!

Dark recounted what he said in the prayer meeting in his autobiography When in Doubt, Fire the Manager: My Life and Times in Baseball, “You know — and I’m saying this with respect — Charlie Finley feels he is a fantastic big person in the game of baseball. And he is. He has accomplished things, and I give him credit for building up the ball club. But to God, Charlie Finley is just a very little bitty thing that’s lost, and if he doesn’t accept Jesus Christ as his personal savior he’s going to Hell.”

Shortly after he was fired Dark claimed he held no grudges against Finley and delivered a sermon at a church in Louisville saying, “I really care for Charlie Finley, my family and I pray for him; in fact we have Christians all over America praying for him.”

When later asked by a reporter, “Would you ever work for Charlie Finley again?”

Dark said, “If I thought that was what the Lord wanted, certainly.”

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Why Are There Annoying Flies At Jones Beach Field 6?

Is There Anything You Can Do To Keep The Flies Off Of You?

Jones Beach – photo: Newsday

In the summer if you ever go to Jones Beach in Long Island, especially the often filled popular field 6, you will notice one of two things, there are hundreds of flies swarming around and biting you or there are none at all. I have spent an inordinate amount of time swatting and killing flies as they relentlessly bite away.

So why is this?

The answer lies not in the temperature, the food you bring with you, your choice of sunscreen or fly repellant.

The swimming flags hold the key. If the flags are blowing towards the water you will be inundated by flies. If the flags are blowing towards the boardwalk away from the water, you will generally have a pleasant stay, unless annoying people settle near you.

The flies come with the direction of the wind.

Most of the time at Jones Beach the wind blows in from the Atlantic Ocean and there will be no flies.

But occasionally on some days in the mornings, the wind will come from the north and blow the flies from inland towards the beach where they will seek shade and attack your umbrella, chairs, blankets, bags and your exposed human flesh.

By the afternoon the wind will usually shift and be blowing towards the boardwalk, in from the ocean and will blow all the flies away.

So is there anything you can do to avoid the flies?

Not really, except don’t go to Jones Beach in the morning. But then you probably won’t get into field 6 if you show up past 10 A.M.

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Miss America, Not Once, But Twice

There She Is, Mary Campbell, The Only Two Time Miss America

Miss America 1922 1923 winner Mary Campbell

Growing up I have slight memories of the Miss America Beauty Pageant: mostly of the perennial emcee Bert Parks singing the “There She Is, Miss America” song, while some young woman was given flowers and started crying.

The Miss America Beauty Pageant and all beauty pageants are generally a bore. They are really thinly disguised T & A shows.

But back in the 1920′s when the Miss America Beauty Pageant began, things were set up a little differently.

In 1922 Mary Campbell was named the winner of the second Miss America Beauty Pageant. Nothing extraordinary in that. As you can see in the above portrait and below that Mary Campbell was not breathtakingly beautiful, but still an attractive girl.

But what caught my attention was that this 17-year-old was not just the winner of the Miss America Beauty Pageant in 1922, but also the winner of the pageant in 1923!

Miss America 1922 winner Mary Campbell on beachHow Mary Campbell became the only two time Miss America winner is an amusing story.

Mary Campbell did not even consider herself the least bit good-looking. In 1922 when Campbell was watching the preliminaries for an Ohio beauty contest, a judge suggested she enter the contest. She did and surprisingly won the contest becoming “Miss Columbus.”

Later she was told she won because of her figure, which was 35-26-36. Being self admittedly  very naive, Campbell did not even know what a “figure” was. She asked her mother who replied, “It’s none of your business.” Continue reading

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Red Auerbach Shows Rookie Bill Russell A Thing Or Two -1957

Auerbach And Russell And The Beginnings Of A Dynasty

Red Auerbach Bill Russell Jan 12 1957

For people of a certain generation Bill Russell was and is the greatest basketball player ever.

In this photograph Arnold “Red” Auerbach coach of the Boston Celtics is showing 22-year-old rookie Bill Russell how to spin a basketball (like Russell doesn’t know how to do that!)

Heralded as the most exciting player to enter the NBA since George Mikan, the six foot ten Russell made his NBA debut December 22, 1956 and played flawless basketball for the next 13 seasons. During their time together, Auerbach, Russell and the Celtics won an incredible 11 championships.

One completely silly observation: Red Auerbach looks an awful lot like Mel Brooks in this photo.

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Classic Hollywood #33

James Stewart & Orson Welles Visit James Cagney On The Set Of His New Movie – 1957

James Stewart James Cagney Orson Welles August 20 1957

STEWART AND WELLES HELP CAGNEY “GET THE SHOW ON THE ROAD”

Jimmy Stewart, left, and Orson Welles, right, paid a surprise visit to the famed Phantom Stage at Universal-International Studio to extend best wishes to Jimmy Cagney at the start of production on “Man Of A Thousand Faces,” the life story of Lon Chaney, Hollywood’s famed man of mystery. Stewart was filming “Night Passage” on an adjoining stage at the studio and Welles was on the lot starring with Jeff Chandler and Colleen Miller in “Pay The Devil.” “Man Of A Thousand Faces,” also starring Dorothy Malone, “Oscar” winner for her portrayal in “Written On The Wind,” and Jane Greer. Joseph Pevney directed for Producer Robert Arthur. (credit: Universal-International Photos August 20, 1957)

Lon Chaney and his makeup kitMan Of A Thousand Faces was not one of Jimmy Cagney’s better films. As good as Cagney was, he was miscast as Lon Chaney who he did not even remotely resemble. Here is a rare photograph of Lon Chaney with his famed make-up kit.

Lon Chaney was considered one of the greatest actors of the 1920′s making hit film after hit film such as The Phantom of the Opera and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Chaney died of bronchial cancer in 1930 at the age of 47. Chaney is mostly forgotten by modern film audiences because he made only one sound film, The Unholy Three.

Had Chaney lived, that might not have been the case. He was director Tod Browning’s first choice for the lead in Dracula (1931). Instead, the starring role led to eternal fame for Bela Lugosi who had earlier played Count Dracula in the 1927-28 Broadway production.

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1949 Yankees All-Stars – DiMaggio, Berra, Henrich, Reynolds & Raschi

New York Yankees All-Stars Of Yesteryear

Vic Raschi Tommy Henrich Joe DiMaggio Allie Reynolds Yogi Berra Yanks All Stars July 6 1949 photo © Acme

In 2014, the struggling New York Yankees have three players that were named to the All-Star team: Derek Jeter, Dellin Betances and Masahiro Tanaka, who will not play because of an elbow injury.

In 1949 the Yankees had five players play on the All-Star team. Seen in this photo from left to right are Vic Raschi, Tommy Henrich, Joe DiMaggio, Allie Reynolds and Yogi Berra.

There were 32,577 fans in attendance in what turned out to be a slugfest at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, as the American League topped the National League 11-7. Joe DiMaggio drove in three runs and Vic Raschi pitched three scoreless innings to get the save.

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