Posts by BluesDuke

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  • Merry Christmas to all; and, to all, classic Christmas radio!

    12/25/2014 1:47:51 PM PST · 1 of 3
    BluesDuke
    Enjoy!
  • Now, have some Christmas Eve old-time radio!

    12/24/2014 12:44:08 PM PST · 1 of 6
    BluesDuke
    Now, I wonder: Could Lionel Barrymore have retired if he'd had a dollar for every time he got yanked into doing/re-doing/re-re-doing Scrooge in those years? ;)
  • Have some Christmastime old-time radio!

    12/24/2014 12:21:22 PM PST · 30 of 31
    BluesDuke to greene66
    The television version of The Green Hornet should have lasted longer than a year. I read an interview with Van Williams (who played the role on TV) some years back in which he said that if they'd moved to concentrate as much on certain further character development---I think he mentioned, especially, Britt Reid, Kato, D.A. Scanlon, and secretary Lenore Case---the show might have been more successful.

    Sad note: Of the original five main players on the television version of The Green Hornet (Williams, Bruce Lee, Wende Wagner, Lloyd Gough, and Walter Brooke), Van Williams is the only one still alive today.

  • Have some Christmastime old-time radio!

    12/24/2014 11:04:13 AM PST · 28 of 31
    BluesDuke to greene66
    You can watch this movie serial based on a classic radio show on YouTube:

    The Green Hornet Strikes Again (1941)

  • Have some Christmastime old-time radio!

    12/24/2014 11:02:12 AM PST · 27 of 31
    BluesDuke to Intolerant in NJ
    I have a better one for you that aired Christmas Eve day in 1942:

    Columbia Workshop: The Plot to Overthrow Christmas, a classic written and directed by Norman Corwin, a titan of old-time radio drama.

  • Have some Christmastime old-time radio!

    12/24/2014 10:58:32 AM PST · 26 of 31
    BluesDuke to greene66
    Kids in those years were also listening to . . .

    The Green Hornet

    . . . which I still think was the best of the juvenile-oriented radio crime dramas, probably because it didn't exactly sound like a kids' show . . .

  • Have some Christmastime old-time radio!

    12/24/2014 10:56:10 AM PST · 25 of 31
    BluesDuke to mrsmith
    I'll see and raise you ;)---

    Internet Archive old-time radio collection

    The Old Time Radio Researchers Group Library

    Between those two sites is how I built a collection of 13,000+ old-time radio shows and counting!

  • Vanity - trying to think of an oldie, with almost nothing to go on

    12/23/2014 3:20:57 PM PST · 91 of 168
    BluesDuke to NewJerseyJoe
    Roy Hamilton had the original hit . . .

    . . . and the Righteous Brothers (Bobby Hatfield singing lead) took a remake to the charts in 1965.

  • Have some Christmastime old-time radio!

    12/23/2014 3:12:54 PM PST · 18 of 31
    BluesDuke to greene66
    I remember when Jim (Fibber McGee) Jordan died at a rather ripe old age in the 1980s, it was announced on CNN by a young newslady, who was warmly reporting about this old show-biz personality having passed away, and thinking how it was pretty obvious that this lady almost assuredly had no idea who he was. At my young age, I probably shouldn’t have known who he was either, but I was already a big purchaser of old-time-radio on cassette tapes, and knew the “Fibber McGee and Molly” show pretty well.
    Specifically---and perhaps appropriately, considering his long-living character---Jim Jordan died at 91 on April Fool's Day 1988. (No, that isn't just a Fibber McGee joke . . . though it could have been!)

    Marian Jordan died of ovarian cancer 7 April 1961. (She was 63, I believe.)

    The Jordans are buried next to each other. (So, for that matter, are Phil Harris and Alice Faye.) But strangely enough, to the left of their plot is buried Sharon Tate, the actress murdered by the Manson Family.

    Recommended reading about Fibber McGee & Molly:

    Mickey Cohen (not the gangster!), How Fibber McGee & Molly Won World War II
    Clair Schulz, Fibber McGee & Molly On the Air 1935-1959
    Charles Stumpf and Tom Price, Heavenly Days: The Story of Fibber McGee & Molly

    Recommended reading about classic network radio, period:

    John Dunning, On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio
    Gerald Nachman, Raised on Radio
    Leonard Maltin, The Great American Broadcast
    Fred Allen, Treadmill to Oblivion
    Henry Morgan, Here's Morgan: The Original Bad Boy of Broadcasting
    John Crosby, Out of the Blue: A Book About Radio and Television (Crosby was the New York Herald-Tribune's radio critic and an excellent one.)
    Paul Rhymer, Vic & Sade (A collection of selected Vic & Sade radio scripts.)
    Goodman Ace, Ladies and Gentlemen---Easy Aces (A collection of latter-year Easy Aces scripts.)
    Sally Bedell Smith, In All His Glory: The Life of William S. Paley (The best biography of the CBS founder.)
    Michele Hilmes, editor: NBC: America's Network (Scholarly writings about NBC, particularly its early years in the radio era.)
    Michael Leannah, editor: Well! Reflections on the Life and Career of Jack Benny
    Abe Burrows, Honest, Abe! Is There Really No Business Like Show Business (Before he became renowned as a Broadway script doctor and writer, Burrows was the co-creator and original head writer for Duffy's Tavern, and wrote for other radio shows while also hosting his own witty music and patter radio exercise for a couple of years.)
    Michael Barson, editor: Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel: The Marx Brothers' Lost Radio Show

  • Have some Christmastime old-time radio!

    12/23/2014 2:54:09 PM PST · 13 of 31
    BluesDuke to jsanders2001
    I don't know that I'd call life amidst a full-blown economic depression or a world war simpler, but I might say that radio entertainment in that time and place was a simple matter of using your mind's and heart's eye, a pair of faculties rather much eroded since the advent of television.

    And since I was barely alive when classic network radio went onto life support, as it were, this isn't something I came to enjoy for the sake of remembering a time that wasn't mine, even if I do have vague memories of my grandmother listening to the last days of Pepper Young's Family.

    The best thing about not being of the classic network radio generations is being able to listen not for the sake of clanking nostalgia but for living, breathing art. Approaching it that way I came to appreciate even more how the absolute best of classic network radio transcends its own time and place.

    And can still make you laugh like hell.

  • Have some Christmastime old-time radio!

    12/23/2014 1:47:51 PM PST · 9 of 31
    BluesDuke to Do Not Make Fun Of His Ears
    You can have all the Fibber McGee & Molly you want without waiting for podcasts. Just hit this link, scroll to Fibber McGee & Molly, and have fun. (Free downloads---the shows are in the public domain) . . . ;)
  • Have some Christmastime old-time radio!

    12/23/2014 1:31:30 PM PST · 5 of 31
    BluesDuke to Vision

    If you like those, tune in again tomorrow, there’ll be more!

  • Have some Christmastime old-time radio!

    12/23/2014 1:19:13 PM PST · 3 of 31
    BluesDuke to stephenjohnbanker

    Thank you! I should have noted in the text that all these shows aired on today’s date back in the year(s) . . .

  • I’m Not Proud That We Elected Obama

    12/23/2014 1:18:38 PM PST · 37 of 38
    BluesDuke to PROCON
    I'm going to take a wild guess that the only things His Excellency Al-Hashish Field Marshmallow Dr. Barack Obama Dada, COD, RIP, LSMFT, Would-Be Life President of the United States, and Chairman of the Organisation of Halfrican Unity hasn't blamed for his woes are the Kardashians.

    (If Kim Jong-Un and/or his minions had hacked them, even we'd nominate him for Man of the Year!)

  • Have some Christmastime old-time radio!

    12/23/2014 1:14:04 PM PST · 1 of 31
    BluesDuke
    If you can't smell the chestnuts roasting on the open fires listening to these, you probably need to detox from television. ;)
  • "The Big Broadcast" Live Sunday 12/21 7-11pm est

    12/22/2014 12:37:24 PM PST · 46 of 48
    BluesDuke to Vision
    It worked!

    And a Merry Christmas to you too!

    (We Jewish folk have to love this year: Hanukkah ends smack dab when Christmas Eve begins!)

  • Dragnet: "The Big Little Jesus"

    12/22/2014 12:29:56 PM PST · 12 of 12
    BluesDuke to lefty-lie-spy
    This is the review I plan to publish on my old-time radio blog later today:

    If The Big .22 Rifle for Christmas proves Dragnet wholly (and perhaps uncharacteristically) capable of a tragic tear-jerker, then tonight's episode—aired a year later—proves the customarily no-nonsense crime drama could deliver a tear-jerker that may well leave you with gentle admiration for a holiday thief.

    This, too, would be taken to the show's original television version and to its mid-to-late 1960s television remake. And, neither will feel quite as embracing as the radio original that lets your mind's and your heart's eyes operate.

    TUNE IN TONIGHT:
    Dragnet: The Big Little Jesus (NBC, 1953)

    Friday (Jack Webb) and Smith (Ben Alexander) are rather baffled on Christmas Eve day when the oldest church in Los Angeles reports a theft—an old, slightly battered, but still valuable statue of the infant Jesus Christ from its equally old Christmas nativity scene.

    They come to concentrate on an unlikely, down-and-out suspect (James Griffith), and to face their possible forced return to another investigation, before they can recover the missing statue in time for Christmas morning's first mass, when the statue returns to the church under a very surprising escort who tells an equally surprising—and touching—story of its disappearance.

    If you can think of any other classic radio crime drama in which you stand an excellent chance of wanting to give the culprit a hug instead of the hoosegow, you're better than I am.

    Father Rojas: Harry Bartell. Capt. Bernard: Walter Sande. Shopkeeper: Ralph Moody. Hotel clerk: Herbert Vigran. Paco: Joe Carioca, Jr. Announcers: George Fenneman, Hal Gibney. Music: Walter Schumann. Director: Jack Webb. Writer: Jim Moser.

    (Fair disclosure: I have a collection of over 13,000 old-time radio shows, including every known surviving episode of Dragnet. My personal favourites among the old-time radio crime dramas are Broadway is My Beat and The Whistler, but Dragnet is one of the radio jewels, too.)

  • FReeper Canteen ~ Tunes For Our Troops!! ~ 15 November 2014

    11/14/2014 7:34:03 PM PST · 53 of 267
    BluesDuke to left that other site
    I'm like you. Watch whenever I get the chance. Likewise Standing in the Shadows of Motown and the documentary accompanying the Bloomfield box set, Sweet Blues, not to mention The Life of Riley, the documentary film about B.B. King.
  • FReeper Canteen ~ Tunes For Our Troops!! ~ 15 November 2014

    11/14/2014 7:29:17 PM PST · 47 of 267
    BluesDuke to left that other site
    I've been picking up the box sets when I can. (I keep getting interrupted by such boxes as volumes one and two of The Complete Motown Singles, The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1961-68, Michael Bloomfield: From His Head to His Heart to His Hands, Muddy Waters: The Complete Aristocrat and Chess Singles, As and Bs, 1947-62, heh heh heh . . . ) They have done a great job in cleaning up the sound where possible. And the abrupt endings are still intact . . . ;)
  • FReeper Canteen ~ Tunes For Our Troops!! ~ 15 November 2014

    11/14/2014 7:20:54 PM PST · 44 of 267
    BluesDuke to left that other site

    You’re welcome! (I’ve loved Bessie Smith for years . . . )

  • FReeper Canteen ~ Tunes For Our Troops!! ~ 15 November 2014

  • FReeper Canteen ~ Tunes For Our Troops!! ~ 15 November 2014

    11/14/2014 7:15:27 PM PST · 38 of 267
    BluesDuke to left that other site
    OMG...I love Bessie Smith.
    This one's for you . . .

    Bessie Smith, The Collection (complete album)

  • FReeper Canteen ~ Tunes For Our Troops!! ~ 15 November 2014

  • Favorite Name Songs-Tell us your Favorite's.Freeper Canteen 11~14~14

    11/13/2014 8:31:21 PM PST · 310 of 416
    BluesDuke to fatima
    Some others . . .

    The Animals, "Roberta"
    The Beach Boys, "Caroline No"
    The Beach Boys, "Help Me, Rhonda"
    Chuck Berry, "Maybelline"
    Nat King Cole, "Mona Lisa"
    Elvis Costello, "Alison"
    Derek and the Dominos, "Layla"
    Donovan, "To Susan on the West Coast Waiting"
    Bob Dylan, "Visions of Johanna"
    The Drifters, "Ruby Baby"
    Eddie Holland, "Jamie"
    Martha and the Vandellas, "Jimmy Mack"
    John Mayall, "Leaping Christine"
    Mott the Hoople, "Evangeline"
    Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, "Mickey's Monkey"
    Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, "Little Latin Lupe Lu"
    Simon and Garfunkel, "Cecilia"
    Frank Sinatra, "Don't Cry Joe"
    10cc, "Donna"
    Three Dog Night, "Eli's Coming"
    The Velvet Underground, "Sweet Jane"
    The Who, "Mary Anne with the Shaky Hands"

  • Favorite Name Songs-Tell us your Favorite's.Freeper Canteen 11~14~14

    11/13/2014 7:58:51 PM PST · 298 of 416
    BluesDuke to Kathy in Alaska
    Damn, Kathy, you reminded me of a couple that I forgot!

    Pink Floyd, "See Emily Play"
    Pink Floyd, "Arnold Layne"

  • Favorite Name Songs-Tell us your Favorite's.Freeper Canteen 11~14~14

    11/13/2014 7:53:13 PM PST · 294 of 416
    BluesDuke to fatima
    Lucy in Disguise (With Glasses)” — John Fred and His Playboy Band.
    You meant "Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)," I think . . .

    Anyway, a few of my favourite name songs, in no order of preference . . .

    Arthur Alexander, "Anna (Go to Him)" (though the Beatles did an absolutely gut-wrenching cover of this one)
    The Beatles, "Lovely Rita"
    The Beatles, "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" (Hey, I liked it when they got goofy!)
    The Beach Boys, "Wendy"
    Chuck Berry, "Nadine"
    Mike Bloomfield, "Carmelita Skiffle"
    Johnny Cash, "A Boy Named Sue"
    Ray Charles, "Hit the Road, Jack"
    Leonard Cohen, "Suzanne"
    Miles Davis, "Freddie Freeloader"
    Bo Diddley, "Mona"
    Dr. John, "Mama Roux"
    Bob Dylan, "Sara"*
    The Four Seasons, "C'mon Marianne"
    The Four Tops, "Bernadette"
    Hank Garland, "Ed's Place"
    Jimi Hendrix, "The Wind Cries Mary"
    The Hollies, "Carrie-Anne"
    Lightnin' Hopkins, "Katie Mae"
    Howlin' Wolf, "Louise"
    David Johansen, "Justine"
    Janis Joplin, "Me and Bobby McGee"
    B.B. King, "Lucille"
    The Kinks, "Lola"
    Manfred Mann, "Pretty Flamingo"
    The Marvelettes, "Don't Mess with Bill"
    Thelonious Monk, "Crepuscle with Nellie"
    Van Morrison, "Ro Ro Rosey"
    Procol Harum, "Magdalene"
    Redbone, "Maggie"
    Roxy Music, "Virginia Plain"
    Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, "Jenny Take a Ride"
    Bruce Springsteen, "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)"
    Big Joe Turner, "Corrina, Corrina"
    The Turtles, "Elenore"
    Jr. Walker & the All Stars, "Cleo's Back"
    Muddy Waters, "Little Anna Mae"

    (*---Bob Dylan wrote this song to his first wife in hope of trying to convince her to give their marriage another chance . . . and she was in the recording studio the day he cut the song for his album Desire . . .)

  • Burger joint slammed for mocking vegan customer and comparing her beliefs to Nazism

    11/11/2014 11:31:37 AM PST · 120 of 122
    BluesDuke to GGpaX4DumpedTea
    Medium rare is way too well done!
    Waiter, GGpaX4DumpedTea will have the cow still mooing . . . ;)
  • Burger joint slammed for mocking vegan customer and comparing her beliefs to Nazism

    11/09/2014 9:09:31 PM PST · 12 of 122
    BluesDuke to naturalman1975

    That settles it. I was planning to have a late dinner tonight. I’m going to have a steak. Medium rare. With a little splash of Lea & Perrin steak sauce.

  • "The Big Broadcast" Live Sunday 11/9 7-11pm est

    11/09/2014 4:05:59 PM PST · 21 of 58
    BluesDuke to WXRGina

    *blush* Thank you Gina!

  • "The Big Broadcast" Live Sunday 11/9 7-11pm est

    11/09/2014 3:55:23 PM PST · 19 of 58
    BluesDuke to WXRGina

    I’ve been doing it for quite some time, now. I took a few breaks now and then to try to think of better ways to do it, but I got back on the horse last week and don’t plan to hop off. Especially since I keep finding stuff I hadn’t fallen upon before even with 12,000+ shows in my collection already!

  • Gov. Scott Walker: "Governors Make Much Better Presidents Than Members Of Congress"

    11/09/2014 3:53:06 PM PST · 65 of 120
    BluesDuke to Puppage
    Well, if you want to get technical . . . ;)

    (He is, however, further evidence that ex-Hillions don't make good presidents . . . )

  • Gov. Scott Walker: "Governors Make Much Better Presidents Than Members Of Congress"

    11/09/2014 3:47:18 PM PST · 61 of 120
    BluesDuke to Hugin
    It took that long? ;)
  • "The Big Broadcast" Live Sunday 11/9 7-11pm est

    11/09/2014 3:34:44 PM PST · 17 of 58
    BluesDuke to WXRGina
    Hey, thanks for sharing that with us, BluesDuke!
    Thank you for the kind words, Gina! Now, if you'd like to go to town several times over and build yourself a nice old-time radio collection, you can go here, to archive.org; or, here, to the Old Time Radio Researchers Library. Happy listening!
  • "The Big Broadcast" Live Sunday 11/9 7-11pm est

    11/09/2014 3:27:35 PM PST · 14 of 58
    BluesDuke to Vision
    I listen to a personal collection of 12,580 old-time radio broadcasts and counting. And I write a blog (which I recently re-launched) in which I review a particular show on the date it originally aired and link to other shows that aired the same date. Keeps me engaged, keeps me listening to OTR when I'm not picking up a guitar and playing the blues . . .

    Give it a pull. You of all people would probably enjoy it! Here are the last few entries:

    5 November: Pushed, pulled, nicked, nicked
    6 November: When Alice went walknig home
    8 November: The big broadcast to be . . .
    9 November: The extended lives of Fibber & Molly

    (Missed 7 November thanks to an outage involving my Net provider . . . )

  • "The Big Broadcast" Live Sunday 11/9 7-11pm est

    11/09/2014 3:07:39 PM PST · 8 of 58
    BluesDuke to Vision
    I enjoy what they do, of course, but you'd think that with so much classic radio surviving to be heard today, they could coordinate their lineup to play broadcasts on the same date as the date on which they aired in the first place. Might be much more fun that way, especially with things like the 1955-56 Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar which became a five-part, fifteen-minutes-a-day offering each week for that couple of years. (And is often considered the best Johnny Dollar.)

    If they did that, there could be days when you get three installments of, say, Fibber McGee & Molly or Lux Radio Theater or The Jack Benny Program or Suspense . . .

  • Gov. Scott Walker: "Governors Make Much Better Presidents Than Members Of Congress"

    11/09/2014 2:58:58 PM PST · 51 of 120
    BluesDuke to Argus
    Lyndon Johnson was entirely a creature.
    Fixed!
  • Gov. Scott Walker: "Governors Make Much Better Presidents Than Members Of Congress"

    11/09/2014 2:57:40 PM PST · 50 of 120
    BluesDuke to Puppage
    Before Obama, the last member of congress to be president was JFK.
    You kind of forgot Lyndon Johnson (senator and majority leader), Richard Nixon (congressman and Senator), and Gerald Ford (congressman).

    Unless you meant going directly from the Hill to the White House, in which case Johnson and Nixon did stop at the vice presidency on the way.

  • The KKK vs. Hebrew All-Stars Baseball Game: 1926

    10/17/2013 12:58:31 PM PDT · 14 of 14
    BluesDuke to justiceseeker93
    BTW, the late Shirley Povich (father of Maury), mentioned in the story as the brother of one of the participants in the game, was a very well known Washington sportswriter for over fifty years. Too bad we don't seem to have a story from him about this.
    Povich probably wouldn't have been allowed to write such a story at the time it happened, if it happened and if his brother was part of that game. (The game supposedly happened two years after Povich joined the Post, by the way.) When I was a newspaper reporter in the late 80s-early 90s, we had it hammered into us that you couldn't cover events involving your relations. Conflict of interest.

    I haven't read Povich's memoir, All These Mornings, but I'd hazard a guess he could write about such a game if it happened in that book.

    I do have a wonderful posthumous collection of Povich's columns assembled on his 100th birthday, All Those Mornings . . . at the Post. It sits on the same most prominent sports book shelf in my home as To Absent Friends from Red Smith, Red Smith on Baseball, The Sporting World of Jim Murray, How Life Imitates the World Series (Thomas Boswell), Guys, Dolls and Curveballs (Damon Runyon), all of Roger Angell's collections, Lardner on Baseball, The Best of Sport, Impossible Dreams: A Red Sox Collection, and Bunts (George F. Will) . . .

  • The KKK vs. Hebrew All-Stars Baseball Game: 1926

    10/17/2013 12:57:37 PM PDT · 13 of 14
    BluesDuke to justiceseeker93
    BTW, the late Shirley Povich (father of Maury), mentioned in the story as the brother of one of the participants in the game, was a very well known Washington sportswriter for over fifty years. Too bad we don't seem to have a story from him about this.
    Povich probably wouldn't have been allowed to write such a story at the time it happened, if it happened and if his brother was part of that game. (The game supposedly happened two years after Povich joined the Post, by the way.) When I was a newspaper reporter in the late 80s-early 90s, we had it hammered into us that you couldn't cover events involving your relations. Conflict of interest.

    I haven't read Povich's memoir, All These Mornings, but I'd hazard a guess he could write about such a game if it happened in that book.

    I do have a wonderful posthumous collection of Povich's columns assembled on his 100th birthday, All Those Mornings . . . at the Post. It sits on the same most prominent sports book shelf in my home as To Absent Friends from Red Smith, Red Smith on Baseball, The Sporting World of Jim Murray, How Life Imitates the World Series (Thomas Boswell), Guys, Dolls and Curveballs (Damon Runyon), all of Roger Angell's collections, Lardner on Baseball, The Best of Sport, Impossible Dreams: A Red Sox Collection, and Bunts (George F. Will) . . .

  • Selig will retire as Commissioner in January 2015

    09/28/2013 5:14:14 AM PDT · 33 of 34
    BluesDuke to castlegreyskull
    I don’t think I will ever know all the politics involved in such city projects. I just know that they are expensive but the city also receives the a benefit of having a major sports franchise.
    It depends. I'm not entirely sure Miami has gotten all that much benefit having the Marlins---particularly after their rather odious owner (Jeffrey Loria) snookered the city into building him a spanking new ballpark on the promise to provide a competitive team. He got the ballpark but the team is still anything but competitive. (Flip the coin and you see the Tampa Bay Rays, who are very well run, very competitive, and play in a park nobody likes---possibly including the team itself.)
  • Selig will retire as Commissioner in January 2015

    09/28/2013 5:00:05 AM PDT · 32 of 34
    BluesDuke to justiceseeker93
    Then how do you explain the name "Municipal Stadium" in Cleveland, which was built, I believe, in the 1930s. Wasn't that a government funded project?
    Cleveland Municipal Stadium wasn't built for baseball alone. I should have made clear I was speaking of baseball-only parks when I spoke of Milwaukee County Stadium; I shouldn't have said "sports stadium." Cleveland Municipal was built with local government funds. (There were rumours for years that it was a WPA project, but the WPA was formed after the stadium was built.)

    Another rumour that turned out false: Cleveland Municipal wasn't built to attract the 1932 Summer Olympics. Those Olympics had been awarded to Los Angeles several years before the ground was broken in Cleveland. The old Mistake on the Lake was financed by voters approving a $2.5 million tax levy, though the park actually cost $500,000 more to build.

  • Selig will retire as Commissioner in January 2015

    09/27/2013 3:38:09 PM PDT · 27 of 34
    BluesDuke to castlegreyskull
    I don’t mind if the city helps build the infrastructure support the stadium, or even donates land . . .
    It was the latter issue that triggered the departure of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants for the west coast:

    Dodger owner Walter O'Malley wanted to build a new ballpark in Flatbush, over or adjacent to the Long Island Rail Road's terminal there. What stopped him: New York building and planning czar Robert Moses, who was hell bent on never allowing a privately-built sports facility in New York city or state again so long as he ran the planning/building show for both.

    Moses obstructed O'Malley from acquiring the final parcels he needed to build the park. Moses also wanted to all but jam down O'Malley's throat a publicly-built stadium in Queens. (To which O'Malley said, famously, "If we play in Queens, we're not the Brooklyn Dodgers anymore.") Read very carefully: Walter O'Malley had no intention of leaving Brooklyn until he realised Moses's power was greater than his own and that he wouldn't get the final land he needed to build a new park.

    The intriguing historical question: If O'Malley was that adamant about not moving to Queens, why didn't Moses offer the Queens facility to the Giants, who couldn't afford to build the new ballpark they needed but who didn't have the specific borough identification the Dodgers did?

    Giants owner Horace Stoneham originally planned to move to Minneapolis (the Giants had a farm team there at the time), where a publicly-built park was going up as well for a major league team. Only when O'Malley's jig was up in Brooklyn and O'Malley reached out to him---O'Malley knew there would be no point in going west without another team to compete out there, considering the scheduling of the time and the then-furthest west team being the Cardinals---did Stoneham agree to move the Giants to San Francisco.

    You can get the whole, real story in two books: The Dodgers Move West (Neil Sullivan) and The Last Good Season (Michael Shapiro).

  • Selig will retire as Commissioner in January 2015

    09/27/2013 3:30:32 PM PDT · 26 of 34
    BluesDuke to Repealthe17thAmendment
    The worst development in sports isn't PEDs or expansion or tinkering with the playoffs, but it's the use of public funds for sports stadiums. I'm not sure where it started, but we haven't even begun to experience the problems that will bring.
    It actually began with Milwaukee County Stadium, built for the old-old Milwaukee Brewers minor league team. The park was the first sports stadium in the country to be built entirely with "public funds."

    The irony: the old Brewers never got to play there---the park was ready in 1953 . . . just in time for the Boston Braves' arrival. And the Braves weren't the first major league team to cast eyes on the Milwaukee park: Bill Veeck hoped to move the St. Louis Browns there a year before the Braves moved, but Veeck was blocked.

    Another irony: moving the Browns to Milwaukee would have meant returning the franchise to their city of origin. Where they had been known, from 1894 through 1901, as the Milwaukee Brewers! Those Brewers had been an ancient Western League franchise and one of the two not to fold when, in 1901, the Western League declared itself a second major league: the American League.

  • Saved (Mariano Rivera's Final Season and His Greater Calling- His Faith)

    09/27/2013 12:55:36 AM PDT · 24 of 24
    BluesDuke to raybbr
    Maybe you misunderstand. A “cutter” is not a doctored ball. It refers to the way the pitch “cuts” one way as it approaches the plate. It’s how you hold it and cause it to spin allowing the raised laces to create a specific aerodynamic action. It’s like a curve ball or slider - it’s how the ball spins that makes it move. Not the way the ball is doctored.
    Roy Halladay tells a story from his Toronto years: He once asked Rivera to show him how to grip the cutter (trivia: it's short for "cut fastball"). Rivera oblighed. Halladay beat the Yankees in his next three starts against them and, Halladay relates, the Yankees' clubhouse kangaroo court fined Rivera for teaching Halladay the pitch. ;)

    But that was The Mariano. Like Sandy Koufax before him, he preferred to pull everyone else up. He'd beat you on the mound but he was a gentleman and a teacher off it. Bob Hendley (who almost threw a no-hitter of his own on the backside of Koufax's perfect game) likes to say, whenever he's asked about Koufax, that it's no disgrace to get beat by class.

    They say the same thing about The Mariano. Even in Boston.

  • MLB to expand instant replay in 2014

    08/17/2013 2:21:38 PM PDT · 78 of 88
    BluesDuke to Wiggins

    You left out one probably and very critical reason for the attendance dip this season: the season-long interleague play. For which we can thank, among others, whomever had the brilliant idea to name the Houston Astros the team to have been named later to complete the deal that made a National League team out of the Milwaukee Brewers. ;)

  • MLB to expand instant replay in 2014

    08/16/2013 11:56:00 AM PDT · 68 of 88
    BluesDuke to mikrofon
    I have to smirk when I hear the announcers refer to the certain umpires “giving the outside corner”, “low-ball ump” etc… a lot of personal judgment is already entrenched in the game. When I watch in record mode on the computer and freeze pitches crossing the plate, it’s obvious how non-standard the strike zone really is (and how well most pro players can see the ball).
    Once upon a time that was one of the key issues that led to the destruction of the original Major League Umpires Association---right up to the day MLUA chieftain Richie Phillips called for and got the infamous mass resignations that ended up destroying the careers of about a third of its membership. The late Doug Pappas of the Society for American Baseball Research wrote of it in "Summer 1999: 22 Men Out":
    On July 14 [1999], the calm of the All-Star break was shattered by astonishing news from the Major League Umpires' Association. After a meeting of the MLUA, union head Richie Phillips announced the resignation of 57 of the 66 major league umpires, effective September 2.

    Phillips explained that MLB had hurt his the umps' feelings. His men "want to continue working as umpires," insisted Phillips, "but they want to feel good about themselves and would rather not continue as umpires if they have to continue under present circumstances. They feel in the past seven months or so, they have been humiliated and denigrated."

    This "humiliation" and "denigration" took several forms. Many umps were outraged when umpire Tom Hallion was suspended for bumping a player -- though not as outraged as they'd be if a player wasn't suspended for bumping an ump. When MLB redefined the rulebook strike zone to reflect the umpires' collective refusal to call the high strike, Phillips insisted that MLB had no right to do so without MLUA approval. Before the season, the MLUA blocked MLB's proposal to move control of the umpires from the league offices to the Commissioner's Office by claiming that the move would constitute a change of employer, entitling the umpires to millions in severance pay.

    Phillips reserved his greatest scorn for attempts to hold the umpires accountable for their on-field performance. Upon learning of a MLBPA survey of players, coaches and managers which ranked each umpire against his peers, Phillips sneered, "I don't give any credence at all to ratings of officials because ratings are always subjective." When MLB asked clubs to chart pitches and file a report on each umpire's strike zone, Phillips snarled that this was "just another case of Big Brother watching over us."

    An employer evaluating the competence of its employees. The nerve!

    On the June 14 episode of HBO's Real Sports, Phillips took his arrogance to a new level. "I equate umpires with federal judges," said Phillips. "And I don't believe they should always be subject to the voter, just like federal judges are not subject to the voter." [Former Oakland and future New York Mets GM] Sandy Alderson of MLB responded: "Federal judges can be impeached. I got worried when I found out that players were more concerned with who was umpiring the next day than they were about who was pitching." (Emphasis added.---BD.)

    Richie Phillips has run the MLUA since 1978. The umpires have prospered under his leadership: their annual salaries have risen from $17,500 to $95,000 for first-year umps, and from $39,000 to $250,000 or more for the most senior arbiters. Umpires now also receive paid vacations during the season. But throughout his tenure, Phillips has emphasized confrontation over shrewd bargaining. His in-your-face approach has worked in wage negotiations, where MLB can buy labor peace for virtual pocket change, but this time he picked the wrong battle and the wrong weapon. With one arrogant, blustering, breathtakingly stupid gesture, Phillips sent his membership on a suicide march.

    In announcing the umpires' mass resignations, Phillips explained that as of September 2, they would be employed by a new company called 'Umpires, Inc." Umpires, Inc. would negotiate to provide umpiring services to MLB -- and it, not MLB, would supervise and assign the umpires. In short, Phillips proposed to turn the umpires into a self-governing association, free of MLB control.

    To owners and players alike, this demand was tantamount to a municipal police union demanding an end to civilian control of the police force. Even if the owners had been willing to cede such authority, the screams of the MLBPA would have killed the deal. And the owners weren't willing. When informed of the umpires' move, Sandy Alderson of the Commissioner's Office termed the resignations "either a threat to be ignored or an offer to be accepted."

    You might remember a group of the umpires, led somewhat by John Hirschbeck, revolted against the Phillips strategy, got their jobs back, and led the charge to decertify the original MLUA in 2000 and form what's since been the World Umpires' Association.

    The bad news: Hirschbeck, the WUA's first president, stepped down in 2009. His successor, who still holds the post: Joe West, God help us.

    Richie Phillips, incidentally, died in May . . .

  • MLB to expand instant replay in 2014

    08/16/2013 11:43:34 AM PDT · 67 of 88
    BluesDuke to Starboard
    Sometimes managers WANT to get ejected to light a fire under their team. The umps certainly are aware of this.
    I'm reminded of an amusing story from 1961: The final game of the regular season for the Detroit Tigers. Frank Lary, the Tiger pitcher, who wasn't scheduled to pitch that day, had inadvertently booked himself a flight home that was supposed to take off about midway through the game, and Lary was edgy because he needed to be at the airport about an hour and a half before takeoff time.

    So Lary approached Ed Runge, the ump scheduled to work home plate that day, and told Runge the dilemna. "Ed," he said, "can you see about getting me out of this game early?" Runge suggested Lary bark at a pitch call during the first inning. Sure enough, as the first inning went on, there came a close call on a pitch. I forget what the call was, but Lary barked and Runge gave him the ho-heave.

    "Thanks, Ed!" Lary hollered as he hopped into the clubhouse, showered and dressed to make his flight.

  • MLB to expand instant replay in 2014

    08/16/2013 11:33:55 AM PDT · 65 of 88
    BluesDuke to Wiggins
    Players are charged with errors when they make mistakes but very rarely are umpires held responsible for bad calls.
    Even more: If a player, a coach, or a manager is disciplined for some on-field incident, we know as soon as it's handed down how long they're suspended and how much lighter in the bank account they'll be. We even know it when an owner is disciplined, including how much lighter in the bank account he or she will be over such an incident. (Good God, it was always page one stuff when the like of George Steinbrenner or Marge Schott or George Agyros or even one of the good guys like Bill Veeck or Gene Autry or Ruly Carpenter got disciplined.)

    But we never know just what discipline is handed to an umpire for game misconduct other than a suspension. And I'd have a hard time believing baseball government wouldn't fine an umpire over such misconduct, but wouldn't it be nice to know that they're not exactly the privileged class a few too many of them think they are?

  • MLB to expand instant replay in 2014

    08/16/2013 11:28:50 AM PDT · 64 of 88
    BluesDuke to 1rudeboy
    I became convinced about replay after making note of two protagonists in one of the worst blown calls in postseason history coming out in favour of it, and with impeccable logic: Whitey Herzog, who managed the St. Louis Cardinals to the 1985 World Series; and, Don Denkinger, the umpire whose blown call at first base in Game Six went from outrageous to nuclear after he turned up as the plate ump for Game Seven.

    Herzog made his argument in You're Missing a Great Game, though he was arguing for replay primarily in the postseason:

    The questions go to the heart of baseball. When should a bad call really be part of the game? When should it not be? If the ump blows one in June, you go out there, kick some dirt, cuss a little; and if the ump admits he blew it, her---you've got half the season to make it up. But can you look me in the eye and tell me it'd be the same thing if you were two outs from the world championship?

    If I'd pulled the vanishing act [note: earlier in the chapter, Herzog said if he'd had it to do all over again, he'd have pulled his team off the field if the play wasn't reviewed and reversed] maybe we'd have instant replay in the World Series by now. Bad calls at the bases, and along the foul lines, too, can be fixed in two seconds with a look at video. You'd have to put some limits on it, but that's what we ought to do. Like I said, this is for the championship---let's get it right

    Denkinger came out for replay in 2010. A couple of umps since involved in notable blown calls (Jerry Meals comes to mind at once; normally a good ump, he blew a call at the plate two years ago that cost the Pittsburgh Pirates an extra-inning win against the Atlanta Braves and may have taken the steam out of their then-surprising surge to the top of the NL Central: Meals himself admitted he blew that call when he saw a replay of it after the game, but no matter---the call may have taken some of the steam out of the Pirates, who fell out of the race quickly enough after that . . . ) have come out in favour of replay to one or another extent.

    I have another thought about the replay issue: Want to help make sure it's gotten right, replay or no? Easy: Pass a rule that no ump who's blown three or more calls on the season shall be considered eligible for that year's postseason work. (If nothing else, this'll keep us from the spectacle of a jerk like Angel Hernandez or an ego freak like Joe West from showing up in a postseason set.)

    And, a final thought: If you can see a television replay of a tight play and know whether the call was right or wrong within about four seconds, so can those doing a field-level replay review. It's called common sense.

    Should have been done long enough ago. Come to think of it, there were a few plays during the 2004 American League Championship Series that were close enough that the umpires themselves called for reviewing the plays. They didn't use replays, they consulted on each other's viewing angles, before either upholding or reversing a call, depending, and as I remember it went pretty even between a call favouring the Red Sox and one favouring the Yankees. Unfortunately, that was the exception, and everybody in baseball knew it. (Believe it or not, the umpiring crew for that LCS included one of the game's best umpires [John Hirschbeck], one of its worst [Joe West], and a future perfect game blower [Jim Joyce] . . .)

    Replay had and will have nothing to do with the length of games a lot of people still like to kvetch about. (Want to shorten the games? Shorten up the commercial time between innings and lose the damn commercials every time a manager makes a pitching change. Then ask yourself why the same people kvetching about a three-hour baseball game---involving a game that has no inherent time limit in the first place---have little to nothing to say about how or why it takes up to four hours to complete sixty minutes of football. Now that I think of it, once upon a time if you watched a game on television you stayed at the ballpark for the seventh inning stretch and it wasn't cut to commercial after singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" or "God Bless America," either. Football, which has the two-minute warning and not the seventh inning stretch, has been cutting to commercials for the two-minute warning ever since, oh, Chicago had the Cardinals and they were the NFL's pre-answer to the 1962 Mets.)

    I'm all in if it comes to replay during a) the heat of the pennant race stretch drive (approximately two weeks after the All-Star break to whenever the divisions and wild cards are settled) and for the entire postseason. Whitey Herzog was right: when it's toward or for a championship, you get it right. Fans have been watching instant replays on television for years. Why shouldn't it be used to help get things right on the fields themselves?

  • EYDIE GORME, EL TRIO LOS PANCHOS, BOLEROS ROMANTICOS

    08/11/2013 1:39:18 PM PDT · 10 of 21
    BluesDuke to Patriot Babe
    RIP Eydie your with your husband Steve now.
    Hate to break it to you but it's Eydie Gorme who'll be saving a place for Steve Lawrence: Eydie has been my partner on stage and in life for more than 55 years. I fell in love with her the moment I saw her and even more the first time I heard her sing. While my personal loss is unimaginable, the world has lost one of the greatest pop vocalists of all time.---Steve Lawrence's statement on his wife's death.