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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Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Sad State of Baseball

This will be the last year for an exhibition baseball game as part of the Hall of Fame inductions at Cooperstown. Why? Because the players made it part of their agreement with the owners.
This hardly comes as a surprise considering the overwhelming number of overpaid, under-talented loafers in the major leagues today. Big money and long-term contracts spoiled what once was the greatest game of all. I quit watching the major leaguers years ago when the players quit going all out on every play. Quit when a great many of them began bulking up with drugs, when every bum picking up splinters on the bench earned far more than the average worker, when a sore finger was excuse enough for taking a month off. Now those poor boys can't play an exhibition game to please the fans.
It was August of 1936 when the St. Louis Cardinals came to town to play an exhibition game with the minor league Akron Yankees. The team known as the Gas House Gang because they never backed away from a fight was involved in a tight pennant race, yet they passed up a day off to make the people who pay their salaries happy.
Did a bunch of rookies play the game? Not on your life, it was the regular lineup featuring such stars as Frankie Frisch, Joe Medwick, Leo Durocher and Terry Moore. Paul Dean pitched, then George Earnshaw. Dizzy Dean had been on the mound the previous day but he knew the fans wanted to see him so he pinch hit with the understanding the intended batter could stay in the game. After that Dizzy wandered through the grandstand with a hot dog in one hand, a bottle of Coke in the other. He would sit with one group, then another.
The only regular who didn't play was Pepper Martin. He was out with a legitimate injury so he went to the press box and took over the public address announcing. When the game ended, the Cardinals were in a sour mood because they lost, 6-5, to a team that included several future major leaguers.
Could it happen today? Not a chance. Not with the present day prima donnas who would have been eaten alive by the Gas House Gang. One of the greats of the game, Bob Feller, had this to say in an Associated Press story: "It's all money, isn't it? I think it's a shame. It's an insult to the Hall of Fame and to the Hall of Famers. I just think they should do it for the fans. What do they do for the fans, anyway? Take their money? Raise their prices?"
Yes, Bob, that's what they do. It's why I quit watching them.


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