I’m still running on a treadmill, trying to finish many life projects before my time is up (I’ll be 88 in a few days)
I’ll send occasional issues as time permits.
happy, tho late, Halloween
(from my upcoming “Amazin’ Baseball)
A Message for Gehrig
In 1939 Fred Lieb, the dean of American baseball writers, wrote a little-known but important book, Sight Unseen: A Journalist Looks at the Occult. A close personal friend of Lou and Eleanor Gehrig, Lieb reported spending an evening with the Gehrigs playing with a ouija board.
An “entity” identified as Mark Antony spelled out the following message: “You soon will be called on to face the most difficult problem of your life.”
Two months later Lou learned that he had contracted the muscular disease now known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” an illness that would kill him two years later at the age of 39.
In 1943 Jack Lohrke, a 19-year-old shortstop for Twin Falls Montana, was on a troop train to California. The train ran off the rails and crashed, killing three men and spewing scalding water over most of the rest, but Lohrke walked away without a scratch. It was the first of his legendary escapes from death.
He would fight in Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. Men died all around him, but again he escaped without a wound.
Back in the States in ‘45, Lohrke boarded an army transport plane for a flight home to California. “I was already in my seat,” he says, “when an officer climbed aboard with a priority and took my seat.” The plane crashed in Ohio, killing everyone on board.
In 1946 with was playing with Spokane. On June 19, the players piled into their bus for the trip across the Cascade Mountains from Spokane to Bremerton. It was rainy and slick when they pulled into a diner at Ellensburg, then filed onto the bus once more.
Just as Jack was about to climb aboard, the diner manager called him back to take a long-distance call. It was the club owner, who told Lohrke he had just been called up by San Diego. Did he want to return to Spokane or continue to Bremerton and leave from there? Jack decide to go back. So, he waved goodbye to his buddies and watched the bus with 16 men pull onto the highway and disappear into the rain.
Twenty minutes later the driver swerved to avoid oncoming headlights. The bus smashed through the guard rail and plunged over a bank. Men were thrown out the windows or trapped in flames inside. Nine were killed. One received a broken neck.
Lucky went on to play with the 1951 “Miracle Giants,” who won the pennant on Bobby Thomson’s playoff home run. He told me:
I’m a firm believer in fatalism. It just wasn’t my turn to go. But I’ve often wondered how the Spokane owner knew we’d stop at the diner in Ellensburg to eat. That was pure fate. And what if he had called a few minutes later and missed us? I would have been on the bus.
If you have the opportunity to make things better, and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on earth.
The Death of Clemente
On New Years Day 1972 Roberto Clemente boarded a plane to carry aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Hours earlier his young son, Roberto Junior, told his grandfather, “Daddy isn’t coming back, because the plane is going to crash.” The old man dismissed it as “a little boy talking.”
Several miles away, Clemente’s father-in-law, Melchior, was having “a terrible dream…. I saw a plane crash into the sea, and I saw Roberto go down with it. There was no doubt that it was Roberto’s plane. The dream was so clear.”
Soon afterward the plane did crash on takeoff. Roberto was killed.
His close friend, catcher Manny Sanguillen (on the left), had been scheduled to be on the flight, but when he tried to drive to the airport, his car wouldn’t start. The flight was postponed one day, but the second day Manny couldn’t find the keys. They later turned up in a closet high on a shelf he never used.
When I asked him about it, he said it was too painful to talk about. “But is the story correct?” I asked.
He silently nodded his head.
Next: Was this is the Astros’ secret weapon?
I can’t resist sticking in my two-cents on the larger world that baseball is part of
Warning. full disclosure: I am a Blue. readers who don’t want to read the following may vote with their fingers and delete it
To Stand or Kneel?
Why kneel for the entire National Anthem? there are 91 words in the first stanza, and only one of them is objectionable – word #85, “the land of the free.” Yes, it’s free for 80% of us – the white 80%. Gary Koepernick and the black players are trying to tell us it’s not free for the other 20%, the browns and the blacks the players don’t disrespect America or the entire Anthem, only that one hypocritical word. I suggest they issue a statement that they love America, but they want to add five words:
“We will strive to be the land of the free and the home of the brave.” We should make a similar change at the end of the Pledge of Allegiance: “… to bring liberty and justice to all.”
Perspective on terrorism
Eight people are killed by a New York terrorist. banner headline on page one
Hundreds are slain in a remote country in Africa. it might get a paragraph on page 18
100,000 civilians. mostly women and children, were roasted in one night by our bombers over Tokyo. do our high school history books even mention it?
Ken Burns quotes one Viet Nam vet as saying: “We’re not the dominant species because we’re nice. killing is in our genes. war is just the finishing school”
One rowboat or five?
America is adrift in hurricane seas in a rowboat
Or five rowboats – East, South, Midwest, West, and Pacific
we are lashed together inextricably
the oars are on the outside
the tiller is in the middle
and the captain is insane
would we be safer in two rowboats, Blue and Red? should they be lashed together or float independently side-by-side? each with its own nuclear bombs, capable of blowing both up together?
or would we be safer in one rowboat, with some theoretical – but any much actual – control over the captain?
The Blues now support the Reds financially, sending more taxes to the national treasury than they get back. can the Reds survive without that aid? should the Blues continue to provide it through foreign aid?
this is the third time we have faced the crisis of a minority president
1876 – Hayes vs Tilden was resolved in the House of Representatives after the Republican Hayes agreed to remove federal troops from the South. this wiped out the North’s victory in the Civil War and re-enslaved the blacks under Jim Crow. after 1876, despite what Lincoln said, those 750,000 American dead did die in vain
2000 – Bush vs Gore was resolved in a party-line vote by the Supreme Court; one consequence: the Iraq war, seeking weapons of mass destruction that weren’t there. it may be the basis for the hate directed at us today by the Arab world
2016 – Trump vs Clinton
all three times the victim was the Democrats
it will surely happen again. next time the Republicans may be the victim
if we somehow get through this storm without sinking the rowboats and all of the passengers in them, the battered and gasping survivors who crawl onto the beach should vow that one of their first acts will be to tear up the electoral college
if not, this whole ordeal will have been in vain
the majority of voters are far from all-wise. but the alternatives have been disastrous – and this time could be fatal
The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump
27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts
Assess a President
edited by Bandy Lee, MD
St Martins Press
The contributors agree that the president exhibits symptoms of psychosis. why don’t our newspapers also speak up?
Back in 1964 Senator Barry Goldwater ran for president against Lyndon Johnson and was also subject to worries that he was psychiatrically unfit. but medical authorities were blocked from giving their opinion by what is still called the “Goldwater Rule”
(The press was not barred by the rule)
The doctors in this book argue that they are not violating a patient/doctor confidence but have a duty to issue a public health warning. they believe it’s their duty to cry “Fire!” in a crowded theater if it will save the lives of everyone inside. if a priest learns in the confessional that a man might be about to be murdered, should he violate his vows and warn the intended victim or the police?
In this case we’re not talking about a theater but about the planet.