• On November 5, 1988, the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, opened its “Women in Baseball” display, much of which is devoted to the 1940s/1950s All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Among the women players present for the opening was catcher/outfielder Sarah Jane “Salty” Sands, who brought her 88-year-old father. For more than 30 years, he had boasted about his daughter’s accomplishments in professional baseball. Another player, outfielder Lois “Tommie” Barker even chartered a Greyhound bus to transport her supporters to the display opening.
• Nat King Cole was a baseball fan, and his son, Kelly, was a little jealous of the attention that Mr. King gave to baseball. After a tour that had kept Mr. King away from his family, he returned home, but left almost immediately with his wife to attend a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game. In the ninth inning, the game was tied, and LA fans were hoping for a Dodger hit to win the game, but Kelly simply wanted to see his father. Listening to the game on the radio, Kelly said, “Come on, anybody, and get a hit so my mommy and daddy can come home.”
• In 1944, Carolyn Morris, a pitcher for the Rockford (Illinois) Peaches team of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, saw some boys playing baseball in a sandlot. She asked if she could take a turn at batting. The boys were agreeable, and Ms. Morris promptly hit a home run. Properly impressed, the boys asked her, “Say, lady, have you got a brother who’d like to play ball with us?”
• Baseball manager Joe McCarthy came home discouraged after his Chicago Cubs were defeated. His wife saw his discouragement and said, “You still have me, Joe.” Mr. McCarthy smiled, then joked, “Yes, but in the ninth inning today I would have traded you for a sacrifice fly.”
• Olympic gold medalist Dot Richardson, a softball shortstop, was discovered when she was a 10-year-old. While she was playing catch with her brother, a man asked her if she wanted to play on his Little League team, telling her, “We’ll cut your hair short and call you Bob.”
• Dr. Rosalyn S. Yalow, a Noble Prize winner, worked at a Veterans Administration hospital which required pregnant women to stop working during the fifth month of pregnancy; however, Dr. Yalow was so valuable to the hospital that the administrators did not want her to stop working. What to do? Answer: Fudge a few documents. According to the official records of the hospital, Dr. Yalow gave birth during the fifth month of two pregnancies — each “five-months-in-the-womb” baby weighed a remarkable 8 pounds, 2 ounces.
• James McNeill Whistler was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, on July 11, 1834. Lowell was then a new town that was devoted to the manufacture of cloth — it was not a classy town. However, Mr. Whistler had the perfect reply when a society lady asked, “Whatever possessed you to be born in a place like that?” He answered, “The explanation is quite simple — I wished to be near my mother.”
• Jerry Clower knows that his wife, Homerline, loves him. She had just given birth to a girl, and Mr. Clower, a sports fan, told her, “Honey, we got us a little cheerleader.” Homerline, who of course was very tired, looked at him and asked, “Honey, have you had any supper?”
• While growing up in the 1930s, children’s book author Tomie dePaola had two grandmothers and one great-grandmother, all of whom were called Nana. To keep them straight, he referred to Nana Upstairs, because his great-grandmother spent all her time upstairs, and Nana Downstairs, because unless this grandmother was helping Nana Upstairs, she could be found downstairs. There was also Nana Fall River, who lived in Fall River, Massachusetts. Nana Upstairs was 94 years old, and she had to be tied to her chair so that she wouldn’t fall off the chair. Young Tomie wanted to be like Nana Upstairs, so when he visited her, he requested that he be tied to his chair, too. Nana Downstairs honored the request, but she always tied the knot in front so that he could untie himself when he wanted to wander around. While wandering around, Tomie looked for and often found candy in a sewing box. One day, no candy could be found, so he looked in the medicine cabinet, where he found what he thought was chocolate, which he and Nana Upstairs ate. Unfortunately, the “chocolate” was actually a laxative, and he and Nana Upstairs made messes. After that incident, Nana Downstairs always made sure that there was candy in the sewing box.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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