“The Way It Was: September 2012” from Bob Stockton

My former Navy shipmate and long-time friend, Bob Stockton, sent me an email describing his feelings regarding the state of Major League Baseball in our country today and how things have changed over the years. It reads so well, that I thought I should share it with you.

First, a little background about Bob: He and I both served in the United States Navy during the late 1950’s through the late 1970’s. We were both Chief Petty Officers and served aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) at the ends of our careers. Bob is an excellent writer and has published about a dozen books. I’ve read and enjoyed them all. You can check out his website at Bobsbooksite.com.

Growing up outside of Philadelphia, Bob is a lifetime Phillies fan. Growing up outside of Boston, I am a lifetime Red Sox fan. We have had frequent bets (who buys lunch) on the outcome of Phillies-Red Sox games over the years since Major League Baseball has added inter-league play. I was surprised to read that he has migrated from the Phillies to the Baltimore Orioles. Of course, the Orioles and the Red Sox are not only in the same league, but the same division so they play each other frequently. I completely agree with Bob’s statement that Gary Thorne, a New Englander by birth, is the best in the business!

Here is Bob’s email:

Birdland

Rather than watch the Phillies awkwardly stumble toward the finish line I have begun to watch the Baltimore Orioles who are making their first serious postseason bid since 1997. The Orioles play by play television announcer, Gary Thorne is in my view the best announcer in the game today. He is knowledgeable, erudite and has a wicked sense of humor. Thorne keeps the viewer in the game at all times and is also paired from time to time with Jim Palmer, the Hall of Fame Orioles pitcher who brings a vast knowledge of the game to the booth and complements Thorne’s narrative nicely.

The two men obviously have a mutual respect for one another and seem to genuinely like one another as well. Palmer now states that his wife “is again interested in baseball,” which cracks Thorne up. Palmer continues with an imitation of the telephone calls from his wife; “What’s the score? Who’s at bat”, and so on.

Thorne meanwhile can hardly maintain his composure, laughing at Palmer’s faux imitation of his wife’s constant calls. Is he the patient husband of a baseball wife who pretends interest when the team is winning but affects complete disregard for the rather strange and mysterious career that her famous husband has chosen when the Orioles are less than stellar? Whatever the answer to the between inning exchange – or is it a monologue? – during the late stages of a laugher with the Red Sox it is funny, the kind of humor that is usually on display when the two get together for the MASN broadcast. Palmer, who was well known for his verbal jousts with legendary Baltimore manager Earl Weaver will often times relate one of those delightful baseball anecdotes that are all too infrequent in today’s Bud Selig manipulated game (I suppose that millionaire players and their entourage of agents with briefcases are too self important to see any humor in the game).

The reflections that Palmer shares are priceless! Weaver, the minor league catcher with the brilliant baseball mind was notorious for his umpire baiting and the fans and most players loved it. With his cap turned around catcher style and going nose to nose with the umpire du jour, he’d kick dirt on the ump’s shoes and remark none too demurely on the umpire’s heritage, usually after being ejected from the game. His tenure in Baltimore lasted through three decades and the fans loved just about all of it.

Jim Palmer was not a great fan of Weaver’s antics but you get the feeling that underneath his disdain he respected the man for his commitment to the game. Palmer may in his advancing, no more underwear ads please years, look back on some of Weaver’s quotes with fondness. During a recent broadcast Palmer referred to Weaver’s teams in Baltimore City as “The First Amendment Orioles,” the implication being that players could say whatever they felt and Weaver would retaliate with a devastating quip that would give the player cause – exception Palmer – to think before he uttered any more disparaging remarks about his manager.

Palmer gives us a great case in point: When Orioles pitcher Mike Cuellar who was one of the “Fab Four” Orioles pitchers who won twenty games in the same season – complained loudly to the press about being pulled for a relief pitcher early in a game one season, Weaver’s only response to the press when being questioned about the move simply replied that he had given Cuellar “more chances than his first wife.”

I miss those days. How about you?

I highly recommend that you check out Bob’s books such as “The Blue Collar Blues and Other Stories” and others on Bob’s website to learn about his other writings.

Thanks for taking a look! I truly appreciate your interest.  Please Post Your Thoughts, Comments, Corrections, and Remarks in the “Leave a Reply” Section below… >>>>>

“Shoeless Joe” Jackson House

“Shoeless Joe Jackson” Historical Marker outside his former house that is now a museum.

“Shoeless Joe Jackson House”

As lifelong Boston Red Sox baseball fans, Helen and I were excited to go to Greenville, South Carolina, to attend a baseball game at Fluor Field, “Little Fenway Park of the South.” When Greenville became the new home of Red Sox Class ‘A’ affiliate, the “Greenville Drive,” they rebuilt their baseball park to resemble Boston’s Fenway Park.

We went there in 2006 and I wrote about our visit in my earlier post.

“Shoeless Joe” Jackson House, built in 1940, was the last home of “Shoeless Joe” Jackson (1888-1951) one of the greatest natural hitters in the history of baseball. The house currently sits just outside of Fluor Field, Greenville, SC, home of the Greenville Drive (Boston Red Sox Class ‘A’ affiliate)

I went back to Greenville in 2011 and visited the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum which sits across the street from Fluor Field and shot this photo. The building, which is now the museum, was Joe and Katie’s final home. When they lived there, it was located at 119 E. Wilburn Avenue in Greenville and was later moved to the location across from the ballpark.

A couple of days ago, I was surprised to receive an email from the museum. Apparently, I had included my email address in the visitor log while I was there about nine years ago. Interestingly, they have moved the house again, (but this time only about 100 yards) and are expanding the building to make more room for its contents. The letter mentioned

"The street address became 356 Field Street, which was chosen as a way to honor Joe’s .356 career batting average, the third- highest in baseball history."
Two weeks ago, on Friday, July 31, our museum was moved. Like, the whole building. As you may or may not know, the building that has been our museum since we opened was the actual house Joe and Katie Jackson lived in for over a decade. In 1941, they bought the brick home at 119 E. Wilburn Avenue in Greenville, South Carolina. They lived out the rest of their days in that home, with Joe passing away in 1951, and Katie in 1959.

© 2020 Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum and Baseball Library Unsubscribe P.O. Box 4755, Greenville, SC 29608

If you are a baseball fan and are ever in the Greenville area of “upstate” South Carolina, I think you would enjoy a visit. You can find more info on their website HERE. I know I will be going back soon!

I truly appreciate your interest!  Please Post Your Thoughts, Comments, Corrections, and Remarks in the “Comments” Section below… >>>>>