A Hero On and Off the Field
Because I was born in Chicago and raised in LA, people, knowing me to be a lifelong baseball fan, have often asked why I didn’t pull for the Cubs, the White Sox, or the Dodgers but instead rooted for the Boston Red Sox from 1948 through 1995. The short answer is Ted Williams.
I not only admired his batting skills — which consisted of a .344 lifetime average, 521 home runs, 1,798 runs, 1,839 runs batted in, and an on-base average of .483, which means that every time he stepped to the plate, he had a nearly 50-50 chance of getting on base — but his character.
Although some fans and nearly all the sportswriters got on his case in 1942 because he insisted on playing baseball just a few months after Pearl Harbor, he explained that he needed to make money so that if he died in a war zone, his widowed mother would be provided for.
As soon as the ‘42 season ended, he enlisted in the Navy Air Corps and was assigned to train fighter pilots. It cost him three seasons during his prime. But he wasn’t done proving that he not only wasn’t a draft dodger but was an authentic war hero when he spent two more years as a combat pilot during the Korean War, serving as John Glenn’s wingman. By that time, Williams was 34.
Although a great many professional athletes did active duty during World War II, others, such as Joe Louis and Joe DiMaggio, spent the war years moving from base to base putting on exhibitions for the troops and having their photos taken, but nobody ever booed them.
These days, home run hitters don’t think twice about striking out 200 times in a season, but Williams had such a good eye (20-15 vision) that he only struck out 709 times in his career, while trotting down to first base via a walk 2,019 times.
Legend has it that a young pitcher once threw what he considered a third strike past Williams that Williams hadn’t even considered swinging at. When the pitcher complained to the home plate umpire that he’d missed the call, the umpire patiently explained: “Mr. Williams will let you know when it’s a strike.”
I also admired the way Williams refused to kowtow to Boston’s arrogant sportswriters, refusing to be interviewed by them after they attacked him in print for not playing hard enough. They got their revenge by not voting for him when it came time to selecting the league’s most valuable player in 1941 and 1942, when, in spite of batting over .400 one season and taking the Triple Crown (leading the league in homers, RBI, and batting average) the other, he lost the titles to the New York Yankees’ Joe Gordon and Joe DiMaggio.
Because he was such a pure hitter, he would eventually win the MVP title twice, though it should have been four times. At the plate, he was like a samurai who used a bat instead of a sword.
Perhaps the best example of his sterling character came in 1941. Boston was scheduled to play a season-ending doubleheader against Philadelphia. With Williams batting .39955, management suggested he sit out the games. By doing so, his average would have been rounded off to an even .400, making him the first player in several years to accomplish the feat. But Williams refused to be benched. He played both games, went an astonishing 6 for 8, and ended the season batting .406.
As if all that wasn’t enough, after he was elected to the Cooperstown Hall of Fame, he spent several years campaigning on behalf of his longtime teammate, Joe DiMaggio’s brother, Dom, to join him in the Hall. He failed in his mission, but Joe didn’t even try.
A sign that sanity might finally be making a comeback is that conventions are being canceled and tourism in general is taking a tremendous hit as people are discovering that San Francisco, once the crown jewel of California, is looking more and more like downtown Beirut. Or it would if Beirut had a lot more crazy people and dope addicts using its rodent-infested streets as their toilet.
In fact, things are so bad that President Trump would not be out of line if he added San Francisco to Haiti and certain places in Africa to his list of major s—tholes.
The worst thing about the current state of affairs is that it didn’t just happen. It’s not like it was a century ago, when an earthquake and fire destroyed the city. It’s all man-made.
It began in the 1960s, like so many other disasters that have befallen America.
The city fathers loved seeing flower children and beatniks flocking to Haight Ashbury, serving as a magnet for tourists who came to town to see the unwashed hippies and teenage runaways, much like visitors at a zoo.
In time, under the besotted leadership of left-wing mayors and goofy council members, the original flotsam of humanity gave way to hordes of homosexuals, transgenders, and illegal aliens, turning the once proud and beautiful city into an open sore with a municipal charter and sanctuary status.
Russ Mothershed, a beacon of light in Knoxville, Tennessee, sent along a list titled “Things to Think About.”
Among the random thoughts: “Since only 11 million people ever had ObamaCare, why do Democrats insist that 24 million people will die if it’s repealed? Will an additional 13 million be randomly shot?”
“If Donald Trump deleted all of his emails, wiped his server with Bleachbit and destroyed all his phones with a hammer, would the mainstream media lose all interest in the story and declare him innocent of all wrong-doing?”
“If women do the same job for less money, why do companies continue to hire men to do the same job for more money?”
“How is it that every Islamic attack is now a reaction to Trump’s policies, but all such attacks during Obama’s years in the White House were due to Climate Change and a plea for jobs?”
“If Muslims choose to run away from Muslim countries, does that make them Islamophobic?”
“If Liberals don’t believe in biological gender, why are they always marching for women’s rights?”
“How did Russia get Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and the DNC to steal the primary from Bernie Sanders? And how did the Russians get Donna Brazile to leak debate questions to Hillary Clinton?”
“Why is it that Democrats think Super Delegates are just fine, but they have a problem with the constitutionally-mandated Electoral College?”
“If Hillary was paid $250,000 to give speeches to Wall Street whales and other big money donors, how is it that nobody ever shows up when she’s speaking for free?”
“If Democrats don’t want foreigners involved in our elections, why are they in favor of illegal aliens voting in them?”
According to Joe Neuner, a young ventriloquist was doing his usual routine, which consisted in large part of telling blonde jokes, when a tall blonde in the fourth row suddenly stood up and started yelling at him: “I’ve heard enough of your stupid jokes. What gives you the right to stereotype and insult blondes the way you do? What does hair color have to do with anything?
"It’s men like you who keep women like me from being respected at work and in the community. It’s bigots like you who turn us into laughingstocks. It’s you and your kind who perpetuate discrimination against millions of women and try to pass it off as comedy.”
The embarrassed ventriloquist started to apologize, when the blonde interrupted him, shouting: “You stay the hell out of this! I’m talking to that rude little shrimp on your lap!”