Friday, January 31, 2020

Who Am I?

QUIZ: What popular right-hander graced the cover of Time magazine following his 30-win season? TIME= Volume XXV, No. 15; 15-Apr-1935
He is the last known pitcher in his league to win the MVP in a season where he also won 30 games. - MVP = 1934
He is known by two different first names and two different second names - Jay Hanna, and Jerome Herman
Who is he?
Talked to David Hall last night, Maryann’s son. He’s doing well. His baby daughter is almost one. David had lunch with Daniel Dao yesterday, who is also doing well. We may meet up for breakfast soon. Since David graduated from Marist (in 1995) my friend Preston wanted to talk to him. Preston is thinking about sending his daughter there.
Left work at 2:15. Focus group on getting rid of moisture product, and potential advertising. Then to the gym to lift weights for an hour. Ceil cooked homemade refried beans and rice, with tossed salad. Also lime chips. C watched Project Runway while I played on my laptop.
Pot luck at work today: hot dogs, chicken pot pie, buffalo dip, cakes, chickfila biscuits and hash browns, Mexican dip, chips, etc. I brought soft drinks. I’m still full.
Speaking of MC, last week I was looking at Facebook. MC’s mom had just posted pictures of MC’s brother proposing to his girlfriend Holly, whose family we’ve known for years (her brother played basketball for Oglethorpe). I told Ceil about the engagement. She said yes, that happened two weeks ago. I’m always the last to know. Congrats T&H.
Kinda doubt I’ll make it to the Sara service on Sunday. If I do I know where you sit. I hear there will be a choir singing The Majesty and Glory of Your Name. Tell me this: how are the Wisenbaker’s related to the Sara’s? I never knew there was a connection.  
Anna’s new job is located in the same building as her favorite coffee shop. Just down the street for Taqueria del Sol, her favorite restaurant. Anna’s boyfriend Christian says that’s all Anna eats is tacos, and it’s true. Christian likes Waffle House.
Earlier this week on the way home from the gym I was driving through the neighborhood adjacent to our street. It’s the street I run on early in the morning when I run outside. I was driving down a hill not a quarter mile from our house as the crow flies, and a huge fox scampered across the street. Gotta be on the lookout when I walk Barney.
C took Barney to the doctor today about his leg. If he doesn’t get surgery he will be more susceptible to arthritis.
A writer I know always puts out excellent work. His memorial of Kobe written for his media company was better than any other that I read.  
QUIZ ANSWER: Dizzy Dean.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Goodbye Miss Marian

Sad news: learned last night that my Braves usher friend Miss Marian passed away yesterday. She will be missed.

Monday night I watched the beginning of UNC/NCST at the gym. Interesting that the game was in Raleigh but State wore red and UNC wore blue. You didn't watch Kobe's last game? That tempted me. Saw where when Kobe made those last two foul shots to reach 60, Gordon Hayward committed a lane violation.
I have never seen Titanic all the way through. There are movies like that I will pick up and watch since they're on, but with Hulu TV most times we don't scroll through the channels to see what's on. It's easier to watch anything we want when we want. Now we don't have to stay up for the 10 pm shows, but instead watch them the next day.

Funny comment from Andy Stanley's book Irresistible, which I listened to Andy read. All the way through he'd make offhand comments. Didn't know if they were in the book or not. He was talking about after the crucifixion Joseph of A took the body and wrapped it and put it in the tomb. He had to hurry to finish before what, before Passover started, right? On Sunday the women were headed to the tomb to re-wrap the body, Andy said, because the women were sure the men probably didn't do it right the first time. Funny joke.
Sign steaking: I'll have to read the Bradley article. I haven't really immersed myself in the controversy. Back in the 60's Joe Garagiola wrote his book Baseball Is a Funny Game. He had a chapter about sign stealing. Saw where Chipper said if that had happened on his team he would've made them stop.
Crackers: I have a picture here of the 1964 team. The only familiar names are Marty Martinez and Sandy Valdespino.    
Tuesday was crazy at work. One big mess that took a lot of digging and fixing. Typed up several emails that by the time I finished weren't needed, and had to delete. Running around in circles. Didn't leave for Taco Bell until 1230, which is late for me. Got back and got right back to work. Kept working until almost 530. When that happens other emails and paperwork stacks up, so today hopefully I can work through that stuff.
Changed clothes and left the office. Traffic heavy as usual. Stopped by the library to renew library card. While I was there I checked out two books on CD. Usually I've been listening one my phone. Was after 7 pm by the time I got to the gym. Lifted weights. After 35 minutes I had a huge headache. Went home and took a pill. Watched Parenthood, then a good Netflix movie Holiday in the Wild after C got home from a tough night at her women's ministry.
Denison: I didn’t realize the average Super Bowl ticket was over $8000.00. I’ll have to start entering Super Bowl sweepstakes. You are right about the world today – so divided. People aren’t distinguishing between wants and needs and rights. Sad that people think violence is okay if their political candidate doesn’t win. The book Denison quotes might be an interesting read (if it’s not too far over my head): Christopher Caldwell’s Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties.

In a related note, yesterday I stumbled across yesterday’s issue of The Atlanta Business Chronicle, with former SPdL member David Allman on the cover. Allman is often pictured in the ABC, as he is one of the top real estate developers in the city (I taught his son Adam at the SPdL ECS back in 1983). This time instead of news of another huge real estate deal being announced, involving the construction of another office tower or hotel, David is involved in a $25 million program to create affordable housing in the city.

Received a Gallup Poll in the mail. Took it to work and opened it up. A dollar bill fell out. Took two minutes to fill out. Questions about the job the media is doing, are they biased, etc.  
Wednesday: left work shortly after five. Haircut, so I got to the gym late. Only ran three miles but I did them in record time, not much over 13 minutes per mile. Ceil cooked chicken soup for dinner. Also tossed salad. Watched New Amsterdam, Schooled, and Parenthood – made it to season five already.
Left work at 215 pm today for a focus group on mold. Fun stuff. Made it to the gym after that.
Today was Anna’s first day at her new job in Athens. Sounds like she will be getting a new work computer. The Apple laptop her grandmother gave her for high school graduation has slowed down over time, with all the high tech graphic design programs she’s had to download.

Grizzlies seem to be doing better this year.
Just announced: construction on a new $34 million arena to host a UGA sports team. The sport: hockey. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

All-Time All-Poncey Team

More of my notes from last Saturday's SABR Day presentations.
Back to more normal boring programming tomorrow.
Building an all-time Poncey team -- by Andrew Mearns, former writer for Cut4 at and Development Research Analyst at Georgia Tech, looks at the parameters necessary to create an all-time Poncey team. Often teams recognize the history of a ballpark with an all-time team -- so who would be selected in a celebration of Crackers & Black Crackers legends?

RF 36-41 330 Emil Maitho from PCL
RF 51-54 326 Chuck Tanner also managed
CF 48-52 302 Ralph Country Brown Summersville GA
CF 40-42 309 Hubert Bud Bates robbed HRs
LF 52-59 268 Bob Montag 49 HR
LF 08-18 265 Roy Moran
LF 37-38 ABC Don Pelham
1B 35-48 ABC James Red Moore
1B 39-41 295 Kermon Les Burge MVP
1B 35-37 Alex Hooks
2B 36-47 313 ABC James Gabby Kemp Morris Brown football
2B 54-57 302 Frank Diprima
2B 24-28 Bert Niehoff
3B 50-51 287 Eddie Mathews, then a Navy stint
3B 45-47 344 Ted Cieslak
3B 40-48 Charlie Glock
SS 32-38 289 Charles Buster Chatham
SS 57-63 294 Joe Morgan
SS 37-39 ABC Thomas PeeWee Butts
C 36-42 298 Paul Richards
C 32-38 ABC Joe Greene Stone Mountain
C 23-28 John Breck
P 17-20 Tom Sheehan in WWI
P 40-45 Lew Carpenter from GT, Woodstock
P 35-43 ABC Felix Chin Evans Morehouse
P 49-53 NYG John Art Fowler
P 28-33 Clarence Climax Blethen
P 44-45 ABC Felix Manning
P ABC Telosh Howard
P 60 Pete Richert
P 38 Tom Lefty Sunkel

Honorable mention: one season wonders…Luke Appling, Tim McCarver, Frank Torre, Jack Daniels (fun guy, hit HR, more BB than K).


60 feet 6 inches, and 6 feet under:
A Grave Look at Atlanta Baseball History.

Sam Gazdziak founder of writing about baseball history one gravesite at a time. He will examine the careers of several ballplayers buried in the Atlanta area, from one-game wonders to Hall of Famer and one-time Atlanta Cracker Luke Appling. Sam travels for work. In his spare time he searches out tombstones of former ballplayers, looking for unique stories behind the statistics.

BILL WEBB 1943 Macon Peaches, then WWII. Spent years playing for amateur teams around Atlanta, with little success as a pro. During the war he lobbied the Phillies to give him a spot on the roster. Made the team and finally got the call May 29 – giving up a HR, BB, double play, then coaxing Stan Musial to ground out to first. The only MLB inning he ever pitched. Buried in Marietta’s Cheatham Hill Memorial Gardens.

HANK SMALL grew up in Atlanta, starred at Dykes High with David Hurt. Set records at South Carolina. Compared to Mantle by SC coach Bobby Richardson. Drafted by Braves. Did well in AA. First struggled at AAA Richmond then won 78 International League MVP. Called up in September. In his only game went 0-4 with a double play. At a banquet sat with Lilian Carter. Small asked if she was going to eat her chicken. Played 1B. Young Dale Murphy struggled at catcher, and was moved to first. Braves also signed 1B Mike Lum to be big contract. Left Small off the 40 man roster but the letter telling him was lost. Bitter, Small hit .220 at Richmond in 1979 and was released. Small had trouble adjusting to normal life. Moved to SC, then Griffin. Rediscovered his faith. Fell off a sloop, hit his head and died at 56. Buried in Sandy Springs at Arlington Memorial Park.

LUKE APPLING went to Oglethorpe, hit 326 for the Crackers. Signed with White Sox. Made 46 errors in 79 games playing shortstop. His bad defense affected his offense. Begged to keep his job. Two years later broke out, became an all star. Buried near Junior Samples in Saunee View Memorial Gardens in Cumming. 

TY COBB was a bad guy, prejudiced. But also a philanthropist. His hometown of Royston considered him a hero, the whole town turned out for his funeral. Buried in Royston at Rose Hill Cemetery.

ERNIE NEVERS former St. Louis Browns pitcher was inducted into the San Francisco Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in its inaugural class along with Willie Mays and Joe DiMaggio in 1980. A Stanford grad, he returned to Stanford as an assistant coach and was later the head coach at Lafayette. Played football at Stanford University 1922-25. Coached football at Lafayette University in 1936. Played for the Browns under player/manager future Hall of Famer George Sisler and had a decent batting average for a pitcher, including a brace of doubles during his career. He played 3 years in the majors 1926-28. Career BA = .200 w/12 hits. Was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in its inaugural class in 1951. He is, of course, also in the NFL Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020


Notes from two of Saturday's four SABR Day presentations.
Jackie Robinson Integrates Southern Baseball,
by author Ken Fenster – two time winner of the SABR research award.

On January 14, 1949 Crackers president Earl Mann invited the Brooklyn Dodgers to play a three game series at Ponce de Leon Park against the Crackers. In 15 years with the Crackers they’d won six pennants. Led Southern League in attendance 14 of those years. In 1935 led all minor league teams in attendance, also beating out 5 MLB teams. Plus the Crackers were profitable, except during the great depression and WWII.

Dr. Samuel Green, an Atlanta doctor, protested the series, not wishing to have Jackie Robinson play in Atlanta. Green sported a Hitler moustache, and was the leader of the KKK. He led the cross burning atop Stone Mountain, which could be seen from 60 miles away. Green led KKK rallies in every county of Georgia.

The city and state government supported the games, as did the local and national media. The New Yok Times Arthur Dayley condemned Green.  Green pledged to boycott Cracker games, saying he had a petition with 10,000 signatures (he didn’t).  Instead after the Dodger series, Crackers attendance soared.

Coca Cola owned the Crackers, but rarely interfered with day to day operations. Robert Woodruff wanted to sell Cokes.

After playing in Macon, the Dodgers played Friday Saturday Sunday April 8-9-10. Set the attendance record for a 3 games series 49339, with a record 25221 on Sunday – over 13000 blacks (photo above). PDL Park normally seated 14500. Friday night over 6000 of the 15119 were black. The crowds were orderly despite the overflow, with fans seated on the outfield grass in the field of play.

A huge media presence as well: UPI, AP, Time, Life, etc. The press lauded Atlanta, helping restore the tarnished image sullied by the earlier KKK rallies.

Jackie Robinson played all 27 innings, his RBI single in his first at bat earning a standing ovation. Later he stole home on the front end of a double steal. Jackie replaces Joe Louis as a sports hero in Atlanta. Baseball replaced boxing as the city’s favorite sport. Roy Campanella played Friday night, but only warmed up pitchers on Saturday and Sunday. Don Newcombe was not yet on the team. 

Earl Mann’s reputation was enhanced by the series, which cleared the path for integrated baseball throughout the South. By 1954 all Southern Association teams played integrated games.    The Crackers became the most powerful team in the minors. Mann bought the team from Coke, and continued to thrive into the 1960’s.

Dr. Green suffered a fatal heart attack on August 14, 1949 – perhaps of a broken heart, if he had a heart at all.

In 1954 the plan was to integrate the Crackers. Hank Aaron was the first choice. Hank had lef Jacksonville in every offensive category – except home runs. Aaron had struggled in the infield, first at shortstop and later at second base. The plan was for Hank to play outfield for the Crackers in 1954. But in spring training Milwaukee Braves incumbent outfielder Bobby Thompson broke his ankle, and Aaron took his place. The rest is history.

Felix Mantia was the next choice to integrate the Crackers, but he refused, having already integrated several other teams. Though he’d never played at such a high level, Nat Peoples started the season on the Crackers roster. Atlanta started the season on the road in Mobile. Peoples appeared in two games but struggled. He was demoted to Jacksonville before the Crackers opened at home. By then the Brown vs Board of Education decision segregated schools, and temporarily restored the color line in Southern sports.
Hope Springs Eternal at Ponce de Leon Park:
a History by Paul Crater of the Atlanta History Center.

1870 residents traveled outside the city to drink water from the springs, and enjoy nature along the railway. Water was carried back to The springs were named after explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, who discovered the Fountain of Youth in Florida.

1895 Ponce de Leon Springs is Atlanta’s most popular location. Eventually dance halls were built, along with a bandstand, ferris wheel, pony rides, and an artificial lake.

1901 Crackers play at Peters Park on what is now the Georgia Tech campus.

1902-1906 the team played at a 3000 seat stadium in Piedmont Park, next to the Cotton States Exposition Building. The outfield was said to be rough.

1905 the artificial lake was filled in, and a new wood 6800 seat stadium was built at Ponce de Leon Park, next to the trolley line. 

1907 May 25 first game at PDL Park vs Shreveport.

1923 Ponce de Leon Park destroyed by fire. Then owner Rell Spiller built a new steel & concrete stadium, seating 14000 with standing room for 6000 more. The largest in the minors by 4000 seats. Built so an upper deck could be added, though it never was. The stadium was named Spiller Park, after the owner. Today a coffee shop in Ponce City Market pays tribute to the Spiller Park name.

1925 opening day attendance 16099. Lights were added in the late 1920’s or early 1930’s. The team’s board of directors included Bobby Jones, Arthur Montgomery, and Chip Roberts, of Georgia Tech fame.

1933 Coca-Cola bought the team. The stadium was renamed Ponce de Leon Park. Attendance increased. Outdrew all teams except Birmingham and New Orleans. Blacks sat in the left field bleachers. 

1938 the Atlanta Black Crackers began play at PDL Park. Players drawn from Atlanta’s historically black colleges: Morehouse, Morris Brown, etc. The Negro Southern League often had financial problems, causing seasons to end early and abruptly. The set schedule would often be interrupted when the opportunity to make more money barnstorming arose. Film of ABC was donated from golfer Bobby Jones’ housekeeper. Search YouTube “James Richardson Jones film”

Earliest dimensions were 365 in left, 465 to center, and 321 in right. Batters complained, and in 1948 a hedge was planted, bringing in the left field fence 20 feet.  Over the hedge = HR. Into the hedge: GR2B.

1951 – 18 year old Eddie Mathews hits a ball into the top of the magnolia tree in centerfield, a feat achieved before only by Babe Ruth. The blast was said to  be not as far as Mickey Mantle’s titanic blast in Washington’s Griffith Stadium.

1960 a fence in centerfield took the bank and magnolia out of play, to the chagrin of fan Pearl Sandow. Over the years several balls were hit up onto the railroad tracks, now Atlanta’s eastside beltline trail for walkers and bikers. Bob Montag’s blast landed in a rail car headed to Nashville, later the conductor returned the ball to Montag.  

1965 Crackers move to the new Atlanta Stadium, their last season in Atlanta.

1966 Ponce de Leon Park was torn down. Crackers move to Richmond. Braves play their first season in Atlanta. 

At some point Krystal stages a contest, hiding a baseball in Atlanta. Customers could make a purchase to get a clue to the location. On the second day of the contest the ball is found by a fan who hadn’t even bothered to go to Krystal for a clue – in the most obvious location, under the old magnolia tree.

1990 the old Sears building was sold to the City of Atlanta, and was used as City Hall East.

2011 city sells the old Sears building to developers, who eventually open it as Ponce City Market, for shopping, entertainment, apartments, and condos.

Five former Crackers later managed the Braves: Luman Harris, Eddie Mathews, Clyde King, Connie Ryan, and Chuck Tanner.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Baseball Saturday

Friday night we drove down to IKEA, then to Jalisco to split a combo platter.
Saturday was all day baseball. Met at CFA at 8 am to hear Lee, the head of Advance Baseball International share the growth of the game in Malaysia. He pretty much started from scratch  but has momentum. Has several major leaguers helping out, including former GT catcher Matt Weiters and current Cardinals manager Mike Matheny.   
At ten I headed over to SunTrust Park for ChopFest. Cold. Collected several trinkets; drink can cozies, Phil the Bucket keychains, etc. Already a huge crowd and long lines. Went downstairs to the season ticket area, where it was warm. Got my picture with HOF GM John Schuerholz, then later several rookies: pitchers Ian Anderson, Kyle Wright, and Bryce Wilson. Also outfielders Drew Waters and Christian Pache. Later these guys were leaving, so I followed them and got a selfie with Pache.
Lots of food. Passed on wings, salads, cookies, brownies, and ice cream. Sampled the pizza, burgers, BBQ, and hot dogs. Later got my picture with manager Brian Snitker and coaches Ron Washington and Walt Weiss.
Went to the team store to look for a backpack (none). They had their $175.00 jerseys for $35.00. Had I gone earlier I might’ve found an #27 Austin Riley or #16 Brian McCann in my size. Didn’t want Inciarte, and everyone and their brother has a #5 Freeman, #7 Swanson, #1 Albies, or #13 Acuna. I already have an Acuna. I didn’t have a white home jersey. Said to myself “well Reid was talking about what a great player Josh Donaldson is” so I bought the $25.00 Donaldson. Didn’t want a single digit number, so #20 fits the bill. Also like the way the long DONALDSON name curves across the back.
Left SunTrust before 1 pm and drove over to Sandy Springs for another baseball meeting: several presentations about old Ponce de Leon Park: (1) an overview by Paul Crater from the Atlanta History Center (2) an “All-Poncey” team – the best players (3) details about the Crackers / Dodgers exhibitions in April 1949 (4) stories about players buried around Atlanta – including former SPdL member Hank Small. Very interesting. I’ll type up my notes and send them to you.
Then home for supper with Ceil, Anna, and Matthew: chicken and chopped vegetables.
Sunday AM: JFBC. Sat with the Malaysian baseball guy again. Spaghetti & meatballs, Nap. C went to a long meeting at JFBC. I did laundry and dishes and crashed on the couch, watching Parenthood and the Grammys – held at the Forum in LA, where Kobe played.      
Picked up my phone around 3:50. Looked on Twitter. Cowboys HOF GM Gil Brandt had posted a Kobe tweet. Didn’t think much of it. Started scrolling and saw more tweets about Kobe. That’s how I learned the news. Nice tributes by the shocked players, starting the games with 24 and 8 second violations. Didn’t think the games should’ve been cancelled. Hawks PG Trae Young hit the half court shot at the end of the third quarter, wearing Kobe’s number eight. Heard he was a favorite of Kobe’s daughter. Lots of tributes, including from Trump and Obama, Louie Giglio and JFBC pastor Clay Smith.  
Weight loss: I need to redouble my efforts. Went backwards last week. Been eating too much. BBQ chicken on Thursday, Jalisco on Friday, Braves buffet on Saturday. The protein shakes for breakfast last week didn’t help. Haven’t been to the gym since last Wednesday. Gotta finish the month strong.   
I was late to the whole vest thing.
Potentially interesting articles…

Sunday, January 26, 2020


Today the Hawks Trae Young wore number 8 in memory of Kobe. 

Saturday, January 25, 2020


Cold day for the Braves ChopFest. High of 44 degrees. I arrived after the 10 am start. Big crowd. I knew to head downstairs to the season ticket area, - where it was warm, there was food, and shorter lines for player photos.
I'd missed one photo session (Freeman? Acuna?) but went straight down to meet the rookies: pitcher Ian Anderson, outfielders Drew Waters and Christian Pache, and pitchers Kyle Wright and Dylan Wright. One of them called me sir. I admit I didn't know who was who, and their hoodies covered the names on the backs of their jerseys. Had to get other fans to tell me who they were.
I happened to be near when the five were leaving, walking through the crowd. For fun I decided to follow. Four ducked behind a curtain on their way to their next commitment.
Pache is a big boy. Filled out since his homer in the 2018 preseason game I'd attended. He and Waters should be ready to replace Ozuna and Markakis in 2021.
I followed Pache to the elevator.
While waiting I got my picture with him.
Big crowds on the field. Long lines on the mezzanine. Cold. Retreated downstairs. I passed on the wings and salads, sampled the pizza, and downed a dog, BBQ slider, and burger slider. Skipped the dessert bar. Saw Nabil, Katie, Norman, and Darrell.
Hall of Fame General Manager emeritus John Schuerholz
was holding court nearby.
Didn't have to wait long for the next photo opp, with manager Brian Snitker, legendary third base coach Ron Washington, and bench coach Walt Weiss.
Went crazy and took advantage of the Clubhouse Store clearance sale, getting rid of all the current player Majestic jerseys for $35.00. I "needed" a home white jersey. Since there are so many Freeman, Acuna, Swanson, and Albies jerseys, and no McCann nor Riley jerseys in my size, I opted for a $25.00 Donaldson jersey. Regular price $175.00. Beats a Chinese knockoff for about the same price.
It was a baseball day: 8 am breakfast with the head of the Malaysian baseball federation, 10:30 ChopFest, and 2 pm presentations on Ponce de Leon Park (notes to be typed up and posted next week). For the occasion I broke out my 47 Brand Atlanta Crackers t-shirt.