When World War II veteran Ralph Houk, "the major," was a Yankees coach under manager Casey Stengel, Stengel one day gave him a bag of baseballs to hold onto during batting practice, while the "Old Professor" went off to tend to some pregame business. Houk set the bag down a little too close to the box seats and a zealous fan reached over, grabbed it, and ran off with the baseballs.
George Michael Steinbrenner III, the colorful, turbulent, and outspoken owner of the New York Yankees, died Tuesday at age 80, after a massive heart attack. His passing came just nine days after his July 4th birthday and only two days after the team's legendary public address announcer, Bob Sheppard, died at age 99.
Like millions of other baseball fans, I vividly remember the sights and sounds of the first big league game I attended. The journey began early on a Sunday morning with a two-hour train ride from Wallingford, Connecticut, my hometown, to New York City, the capital of the universe. I was ten years old at the time and was making the trip in the company of an adult cousin and his son, a boy of about my age. It was only my second trip to the big city, the first having been a year earlier when I accompanied an aunt and one of her friends on a sightseeing trip, visiting attractions like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. But this trip was even more special. This was a trip to Yankee Stadium.
Now that we are done with three days celebrating — or at least (more or less) observing — Independence Day with cookouts, fireworks, trips to the beach, and possibly even a thought or two about our independence from Great Britain, it might be a good time to turn our minds, however briefly, across "the pond" to jolly old (well, old anyway) England and remember a man who lost his head on this date 475 years ago.
John William Finn, the last survivor of the 15 Navy veterans who received the Medal of Honor for heroism during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, died on May 27 at the Veterans Home of California in Chula Vista. Finn, who retired from the Navy in 1956 with the rank of Lieutenant, was 100 years old.
J.D. Salinger is dead, if you care to know. That's the way the reclusive author might have written his own obituary. Since moving, in 1953, to a 90-acre leafy hillside in rural New Hampshire, Salinger has assiduously avoided even glancing contact with the larger world outside his hermitage.
The impact Oral Roberts had on the latter half of the 20th century was staggering. From a dirt-poor childhood to a ministry that touched hundreds of millions worldwide, Roberts, who passed away on December 15 at age 91, set in motion waves that continue to be felt today.
Former John Birch Society writer and speaker Alan Stang succumbed to cancer in his home state of Texas on July 19th. Stang was born and raised in New York City. Once a New York City taxicab driver and ballroom dance instructor, he was a graduate of City College of New York and Columbia University. He became a writer/producer for shows featuring television personality Mike Wallace.
Despite all that is going on in the world, the biggest story for the past week has been the death of Michael Jackson. In fact, it's reported that his funeral, now scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 7 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, will be watched by tens of millions worldwide and that his elaborate funeral procession will at least rival those of Princess Diana and John F. Kennedy
It was January, 1987. I gave a nine-hour lecture in Long Beach called Evidence of a Master Conspiracy. In attendance was a very handsome and nicely dressed gentleman who introduced himself to me as Tom Dorman, an M.D. cardiologist from San Luis Obispo. He endured the long day and my even longer-winded presentation and asked very thoughtful questions.
More than a decade ago, when Rush Limbaugh was ascending to his version of heaven (the one where dollars flow his way), he also travelled the country giving speeches. In an appearance in Daytona Beach, he told his adoring public, "The reason I do what I do, the way I do it, is to get the largest radio audience possible to get the largest dollar amount I can for commercials. It's a business — strictly a business."