Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Are People Different Today? You'd Better Believe It!

If you want a graphic display of the difference in people today and those when I was growing up during the Great Depression, take major league baseball players as an example. Back then they made about the same amount of money as the average man. All but the true superstars had to work at other jobs during the off season.
In attitude there is no comparison between the players back then and today's millionaires. A year or two before he was forced to retire, Lou Gehrig and his New York Yankees teammates came to Akron for an exhibition game with their Class C Mid-Atlantic League team, the Akron Yankees. All the regular New Yorkers started the game: Gehrig, Dimaggio, Dickey, all the others. When the Cleveland Indians of today travel 35 miles to play their AA team, the Akron Aeroes, most of the regulars stay behind owing to "pressing business," whatever that is.
In the 1930s, Akron's old League Park had a wooden grandstand and dugouts. After a few innings Gehrig walked around the end of New York's dugout along the third base line and lit a cigarette. All the kids hanging over the edge of the grandstand yelled, "Hey, Lou!" He looked up, ground out the cigarette, waved his hand and gave us one of his famous, lopsided grins. A couple of innings later the same thing happened with Dimaggio.
In 1936 the St. Louis Cardinals, the old Gas House Gang, stopped off in Akron for an exhibition game after completing a series in Pittsburgh. They were a tough bunch that looked right at home in their unwashed, filthy uniforms. It was August and the Cardinals were in a heated pennant race, yet all the regulars were in the lineup: Frankie Frisch, Terry Moore, Leo Durocher, Joe Medwick and so on. Paul Dean was the starting pitcher. His brother Dizzy had pitched the previous day so he went in as a pinch hitter so the fans could see him on the field. After that he wandered through the grandstand, hot dog in one hand, a bottle of soda pop in the other. He'd sit down with people, talking and laughing, then wander on and sit down with another group.
The only regular who didn't play was Pepper Martin, sidelined with an injury. So he climbed up to the press box, took over for the PA announcer and called the entire game, throwing in little anecdotes about his teammates. They'd look up at the press box, shake their fists and laugh. But they didn't find it humorous when they lost to the Akron Yankees.
Can you imagine any of those things happening with today's pampered millionaires? If so, you have a better imagination than I do.

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