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Thread: Baseball and Memorial Day

  1. #1
    Resident optimist OldRightHander's Avatar
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    Baseball and Memorial Day

    Baseball and Memorial Day have become intertwined over the years, part of that beginning of summer tradition along with the cookouts and the opening of the swimming pools and the parades. I think that many of us enjoy all the trappings of Memorial Day and we don't often stop to contemplate what the day means.

    I don't want to take this in a direction not related to baseball though. This day is meant to observe those who lost their lives serving this country, but I think it is also fitting to observe all who served because they all risked the same, just that not all made the ultimate sacrifice.

    Throughout this country's history, ballplayers have been among those many who put their country ahead of themselves and served when called upon. Future National League president Morgan Bulkeley served in the Civil War before getting involved in baseball and eventually a career in politics.

    Who knows what kind of career Bob Feller would have had if not for spending four years in World War II. Feller served in the Navy on board the Alabama and saw action at Iwo Jima and Tarawa. He was the first major leaguer to volunteer for active duty, signing up right after Pearl Harbor. Feller said in an interview I heard recently, "I'm not a hero. The heros didn't come back."

    Warren Spahn was wounded at the Battle of the Bulge. How many more wins would he have had if not for the three years he served?

    Ted Williams flew fighters in World War II and Korea. There were many others who served as well, Enos Slaughter, Yogi Berra, and quite a few others I can't recall. To name them all would make for a very long post.

    So while we're enjoying our Memorial Day activities we should pause and remember those who answered the call when their country needed them. Today we sometimes refer to a ballplayer as a hero because he's a great player or conducts himself well off the field. Maybe we shouldn't use that word in that way. Those players who served were the true heros.

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  3. #2
    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball and Memorial Day

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    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
    ~ Mark Twain

  4. #3
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball and Memorial Day

    Former Reds player Eddie Grant, first MLBP to die in WW1

  5. #4
    15 game winner Danny Serafini's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball and Memorial Day

    The Enquirer ran a story on Eddie Grant today.

    http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.d...T04/705280324/

  6. #5
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball and Memorial Day

    Quote Originally Posted by Danny Serafini View Post
    The Enquirer ran a story on Eddie Grant today.

    http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.d...T04/705280324/
    Eddie Grant
    After graduating from Harvard in 1905 and brief tryout with Cleveland Grant kicked around the minors until 1907, when he hooked up with the Phillies, a team that had finished 45.5 games behind the first place Cubs in 1906. Eventually Grant took over as leadoff batter in 1908, and even led the NL in at-bats in 1908 and 1909. Grant was a fine-fielding third baseman, in an era that valued that skill set more than it is in today’s game and an anemic bat often was part of the package. Grant’s other skills were that he was fast on the bases and said to be dependable in the clutch. His pedigree certainly indicates that he was smart. If they say he was fast we’ll have to take their word.

    As for the clutch claim thanks to the wonders of www.retrosheet.org, we have Grants splits with the Reds from one year (1911, yes it is a small sample size, but it’s what we have)

    Code:
    Situation *    AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  AVG   OBP   SLG
    None On       113   0  10   1   0   0   0i 13 .088  .183  .097
    Men On         96  18  25   5   1   0  20i 11 .260  .333  .333
    RISP           57  17  15   3   0   0  19i  8 .263  .348  .316
    Bases Loaded    5   3   2   1   0   0   5i  1 .400  .500  .600

    Compared to his ability that year with the bases empty I’d say anything is an improvement.

    Grant was later traded to the Giants in a great trade that McGraw was sure to want to forget. When the Reds flipped him with Art Fromme to New York Giants in exchange for Red Ames, Heinie Groh, Josh Devore and $20,000.

    Got to hand it to the Reds, good old Reds getting cash and bodies from the coastal cities to run the business. Groh ended up as perhaps the best Reds 3rd baseman of all time, this deal should be remembered as a steal, especially since both Fromme and Grant were out of the game by mid 1916.

    After two-and-a-half seasons with the Giants, Grant retired in 1915 to practice law in New York City. and it is his post career life that he bmost remembered for. In World War I, he led a mission in the Argonne Forest offensive to rescue the “Lost Battalion” trapped behind German lines. When he met with machine gun fire, he became the only ML player killed in wartime action. A monument to his memory was placed in the Polo Grounds’ deep centerfield, and each Memorial Day there was a wreath-laying ceremony at his plaque.

    Oddly enough the Memorial vanished after the dismantling of the Polo Ground, of course events like this get the conspiracy folks worked up and the Giants lack of title since 1954 is noted at the following link.

    Eddies Curse


  7. #6
    Kmac5 KoryMac5's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball and Memorial Day

    Great thread, I am really surprised that MLB doesn't do more to honor all the soldiers who have played ball on a professional level. It might be nice if Bud and his staff could come up with a way for all the teams to honor these players.
    If you have a losing record at Reds games, please stop going.


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