Archive | History

Doing Research and Loving It So Far

I haven’t had much time to write lately because I have started my master’s degree in history and have spent most of my time with that.

However, I have spent most of this semester doing research for my research proposal which deals with baseball’s influence on the troops during World War II. In doing the research I have come across a lot of interesting stories and tidbits which I am going to start writing about.

I have really enjoyed this research so far, and I am only in the very beginnings of it, because it has had so much to do with baseball. And it really got me thinking about where I grew up and the old professional team that was there.

I grew up in Temple, Texas where the Big State League played ball for seven seasons back in the 40’s and 50’s. Prior to that there were teams back after the turn of the century up through the 1920’s. None of the teams were established and stayed for very long as one would fold after a few years and then a new one would come along in a different minor league soon after. None of the teams were ever associated with a Major League franchise, but a few future and former Major Leaguers would make their way through Temple.

Since I am moving back to Texas very soon, I have decided to do research on the old teams that played in Temple and the leagues they played in. I’m actually very excited about it all because I had always heard stories that there were teams, yet nobody I knew growing up really knew anything about these teams.

So in the future here look for more and more posts about the history of the game.

Posted in History, MiLB0 Comments

A Visit to the Ty Cobb Museum in Royston, Georgia

Recently I was able to head out on a short road trip. Along the way I watched a Chattanooga Lookouts game, and then was able to head over into Georgia and visit the Ty Cobb Museum.

Located about an hour and a half northeast of Atlanta, the museum is in the small town of Royston, Georgia.

The museum is located in the Joe. A. Adams Professional Building of the Ty Cobb Healthcare System. It is a small museum, but one well worth the trip. It is open 9:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday-Friday and 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday. Admission is just $5 and well worth it.

While the museum might be a bit small, there is a lot of interesting stuff included. There are awards, photos, personal belongings, and some great artwork on display at the museum.

A must if you visit is to watch the short video they made about his life. It is an interesting look into the man that was Ty Cobb on and off the field. Unless you have studied his life and read many of the books about him, you might not know some of the things he did, especially off the field.

Cobb was known for his fierce play on the diamond, but it seems he was very generous off the field. I have read stories of how he helped former players who were down on their luck. But I didn’t know he donated $100,000 to help start Royston’s first hospital. Or the scholarship fund he started in 1953 to help students pay for college. His philanthropy off the field only helped improve my view of the man himself.

Outside the museum is a small gift shop where you can buy items like caps, pens, books, and much more.

But the museum is not the only thing to see in Royston.

As I was leaving, the lady whom I had paid for entrance to the museum asked me if I wanted to see the Cobb Mausoleum. I said sure and she handed me a small piece of paper with easy directions. She was also able to tell me exactly where the Welcome to Royston signs are with Ty Cobb on them which I was very thankful for.

Ty Cobb Mausoleum

Ty Cobb Mausoleum

Welcome to Royston Sign with Ty Cobb

Welcome to Royston Sign with Ty Cobb

 

The Mausoleum is nice and and an easy drive from the museum. So were the welcome signs, of which there are two. One is on Highway 17 as you come into down, and the other is on Highway 29. Both are on the left side of the road as you enter town.

I had found the museum and other sites (like the welcome signs) through Roadside Baseball: The Locations of America’s Baseball Landmarks by Chris Epting. This is a great book for anyone who is a big baseball fan. It has tons of information on places all over the USA to see for baseball fans including old historic parks, museums, and much more.

As I was touring the small downtown area of Royston, I came across a mural painted on one of the buildings. I thought it was a nice touch to the downtown area.

Ty Cobb Mural in Royston, GA

Ty Cobb Mural in Royston, GA

Then while I was looking for a place to park so I could take a photo of the mural, I found a few more things. One was a bench outside the local drugstore that simply said, “Home of Ty Cobb”.

Bench in Royston, Ga

Bench in Royston, Ga

The other thing was the drugstore itself. It was around lunch time and I saw a sign that said, “best burgers in town”. I had to check it out.

The Royston Drug Store is home to The Grill, and if you are in town you need to check it out. It was a great little grill in the back corner of the drug store where they made great burgers and even better milkshakes. So stop by and enjoy lunch or a snack and thank me later.

Overall Royston was a great stop for me. I’m glad I made the trip but there was one thing I missed. In front of City Hall is a statue of Cobb. Unfortunately City Hall was under construction at the time I was in town and the statue had been removed. I would assume they will place it back in front of City Hall when the construction is finished, but for the time being it is not there.

You can learn more information about the museum at TyCobbMuseum.org

Here are a few photos that I shot at the museum and around town. For more photos, visit my Flickr page.

Ty Cobb Museum in Royston, GA

Ty Cobb Museum in Royston, GA

Ty Cobb Museum

Ty Cobb Museum

Ty Cobb Museum

Ty Cobb Museum

Ty Cobb Museum

Ty Cobb Museum

Ty Cobb Museum

Ty Cobb Museum

Ty Cobb's shotgun - Ty Cobb Museum

Ty Cobb’s shotgun – Ty Cobb Museum

Old Coca-Cola bottles - Ty Cobb Museum

Old Coca-Cola bottles – Ty Cobb Museum

1907 AL Batting Champ - Ty Cobb Museum

1907 AL Batting Champ – Ty Cobb Museum

Ty Cobb Style Baseball - Ty Cobb Museum

Ty Cobb Style Baseball – Ty Cobb Museum

Posted in History, Travel0 Comments

Today in Baseball History – May 2nd

May 2, 1939 – Lou Gehrig ends his consecutive-game streak at 2,130 when he voluntarily benches himself. His replacement is Babe Dahlgren who hits a home run as the Yankees rout Detroit 22-2.

His record would stand for 56 years until Cal Ripken Jr. would surpass it in 1995.


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Today in Baseball History – April 30

April 30, 1946 – With rumors circling that Bob Feller had lost his fastball after spending four years in the Navy, Feller hurls his second no-hitter. Feller helped the Tribe defeat the New York Yankees 1-0. The long run came on Frankie Hayes’ home run in the ninth inning.

Feller would finish the year 26-15 with a 2.18 ERA.

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Today in Baseball History – April 28th

April 28, 1998 – Rangers right fielder Juan Gonzalez sets the all-time Major League record for RBI in April when he crushes a two-run home run in a 7-2 win against Minnesota. The home run gave Gonzalez 35 RBI setting the record.

Gonzalez would go on to drive in 157 in 1998, a career high. He would finish with 434 career home runs and drive in 1,404 runs.

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Today in Baseball History – April 27

Today in Baseball History

April 27, 1983 – Nolan Ryan strikes out Brad Mills to become baseball’s all-time leader in strike outs with 3,509 moving ahead of Walter Johnson. Ryan and the Astros would win 4-2 over the Expos.

Nolan would go on to strike out 5,714 batters over his career. He is the only one with more than 5,000 and he is 839 strikeouts ahead of his nearest competitor, Randy Johnson.

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Today in Baseball History – April 26th

April 26, 1990 – The Texas Rangers defeated the Chicago White Sox 1-0 behind Nolan Ryan’s record tying 12th one-hitter. Ryan tied Bob Feller’s mark by striking out 16 and allowing only Ron Kittle’s check-swing single to right field in the second inning. He was 43 years old at the time.

Ryan is the all-time leader in no-hitters with seven and he also threw eighteen two-hitters. Ryan would finish the year with a 13-9 record and a 3.44 ERA.

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Way Back Wednesday: What Is Your Best Sports Year?

Have you ever thought about what was the best year in sports for your favorite teams? This goes beyond baseball but of course the basis of the decision is due to baseball. Easily my best sports year was 1995.

There are a lot of reasons why this was my best sports year, but the number 1 reason is the Fall Classic. I can still see Carlos Baerga’s fly ball landing in Marquis Grissom’s glove in center field to give Atlanta its first and only title.

MLB Baseball

In 1994 the world of baseball was rocked by the strike and the loss of the World Series. The Braves came back strong in 1995 winning the pennant. It was the first year of the Wild Card in baseball, and the Braves sent the young Colorado Rockies home early before sweeping Cincinnati in the NLCS.

The greatest game of the season and one of the best pitched World Series games of all-time came in Game 6. Tom Glavine pitched 8 innings of 1 hit ball, and David Justice hit a solo home run in the 6th inning off of Jim Poole for the lone run of the game. The Indians had a vaunted offense led by Albert Belle, Jim Thome, and Manny Ramirez but the Braves rotation of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Steve Avery was too much for the Tribe.

Another big thing to happen in 1995 was Cal Ripken breaking Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive games played. I can remember watching that game on ESPN, and I still can recall the “victory lap” he took after breaking the record.

NCAA Baseball

The College World Series was a lot of fun to watch with the Cal State Fullerton Titans slugged its way to the championship behind their MVP Mark Kotsay. Some notable names that we got to see in the series were J.D. Drew (Florida St.), Billy Koch (Clemson), Todd Helton (Tennessee), Alex Cora (Miami), and Geoff Jenkins (USC).

NFL

Even though they wouldn’t win the Super Bowl until 1996, the Dallas Cowboys were the best team in the NFL in 1995. They won the NFC East and went 12-4 on the year while they were on their way to winning their 3rd Super Bowl in 4 years. It was a great year for Troy Aikman and the gang.

Tennis

Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras dominated the year in Tennis. They had a great rivalry and they were always fun to watch. Agassi won the Australian Open and Sampras won the US Open and Wimbledon.

NBA

With Michael Jordan playing baseball for most of the regular season, the Houston Rockets won their 2nd straight title defeating Shaquille O’Neil and the Orlando Magic 4 games to 0.

So overall it wasn’t a complete sweep in every sport for my favorite teams, but in the 2 biggest that I follow it was. My favorite MLB team the Atlanta Braves won their 1st title, and my favorite NFL team the Dallas Cowboys were the best all year long and would eventually win the Super Bowl. Other sports could have been better like college football. I hate Nebraska and they would win another title. However, overall this was a great year for sports in my life.

So what was your best sports year?

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Way Back Wednesday – Favorite Uniforms

There have been a lot of great uniforms over the years. One of my favorites is the old 1970s/80s Houston Astros “rainbow” uniforms.

But with the recent introduction of the Pecos League, an independent baseball league located in New Mexico, I have a new favorite uniform. One of the new teams is called the Roswell Invaders, and their jersey’s are simply amazing.

My only hope is that for at least one game they decide to go with the green tops and pants.

There are a lot of great classic jerseys out there. What are some of your favorites?

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Way Back Wednesday: Bring Back The Baseball Bunch

What ever happened to the old 80’s kids shows like the Baseball Bunch? I didn’t grow up in the age of baseball on TV 24/7, but I had some good shows to look forward to as a kid. On Saturdays we could look forward to seeing shows like This Week In Baseball (TWIB) with the late great Mel Allen or The Baseball Bunch with Johnny Bench. Both of these shows were kid friendly and helped introduce a whole new generation to the great game.

But what do kids have now? Yes I know TWIB is still around on Fox, but to be honest it doesn’t have the same feel to it since Fox took it over. It’s still a great show, but it seems kids are too busy now to watch it. Are we just a victum of too much available TV? Or are we a victum of the 24 hour networks that show sports non-stop?

All too often I hear kids are intersted in other sports and baseball is falling by the wayside. As someone who has been passionate about the game for as long as I can remember, that is just hard to wrap my mind around. The game has such a history, but when we start to look at the history it seems to deal with a slower paced society. Fathers were playing catch with their sons and coaching little league. Sandlot games were played by the kids in the neighborhood after school and on weekends. Maybe I was just one of the more fortunate ones to experience things like this, or perhaps as Dylan once sang, “The times they are a changing”.

I know this isn’t the case everywhere, but it does seem like life is starting to go at a faster pace. Does this have anything to do with baseball’s loss as the biggest sport in the US? Baseball in itself is a slower paced game than most others. With society becoming an “instant fix” society perhaps the game of baseball just doesn’t fit.

Of course, I don’t believe that and I feel people who don’t give baseball a chance are missing out, but I am biased.

Baseball’s  popularity might not be fading. Overall the decade of 2000-2010 was the best the sport has ever seen attendance wise. However, it seems more and more young players are choosing other sports over baseball. The NFL has become the biggest sport in the US although that might change with a long protracted lockout this next season. In the grand scheme of things, baseball seems to be picking up steam worldwide even without it being a sport in the Olympics anymore.

I guess my main point to this long rant is I would like to see more kids baseball programming. It was such a great show with Hall of Fame baseball players each week giving tips to kids in little league. Add in the greatness of the San Diego Chicken and it was a great combination to not only entertain kids but to educate them as well on baseball and just being a good sport. But I wonder if a show similar to The Baseball Bunch would be a hit today with so much competition on the TV front?

Thoughts?

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Quote of the Month

There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit. ~Al Gallagher, 1971

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