New Articles This Week at The National Pastime Museum
A Memorial to Mythical Founder Abner Doubleday Lays the Groundwork for the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown
In the first few pages of his 1994 book, The Politics of Glory, Bill James focused on the Clark family of the Singer sewing machine fortune, their administrator Alexander Cleland, and then-National League President Ford Frick as driving forces in getting the Hall of Fame and its accompanying museum built.
On January 6, 1951, it was announced that Joe DiMaggio—36 years old, perpetually injured, and hardly certain about his long-term future with the Yankees—would be offered the same $100,000 salary that he had received in 1950. Little effort was made to obscure that the figure was based largely on past performance, or that the marginalization of the Clipper had already begun.
The minor leaguer most prominently mentioned to replace DiMaggio was a 19-year-old from northeast Oklahoma named Mickey Mantle.
The day after Babe Ruth passed away on August 16, 1948, at the age of 53 after a long battle with cancer, his obituary appeared on the front page of the New York Times. The happy-go-lucky slugger, whom many sportswriters and baseball officials credited with saving the National Pastime in the wake of the 1919 Black Sox scandal, garnered similar front-page news around the country, and stories of his funeral received major attention for days.
In 1987, baseball was two years from celebrating both the 50th anniversary of the Hall of Fame’s 1939 dedication and the 150th anniversary of the game’s purported, though widely discredited, founding in Cooperstown, New York. Four popular baseball films—Eight Men Out, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, and Major League—would come out by 1989, with the myth of Cooperstown stoking box office demand.
The Lady in the Broadcast Booth:
Betty Caywood’s Single Season with the A’s as Baseball’s First Female Broadcaster
When Charles O. Finley bought the Kansas City Athletics in 1960, he was ambitious, energetic, and focused, but he was not a miracle worker. Not yet, anyway. The last-place club he acquired actually managed to fall in the standings, dropping from eighth place to ninth thanks to the introduction of two teams, the Angels and the Twins, to the American League. Even that indignity, however, would be superseded in 1964, when the Athletics tumbled to 105 losses, finishing a whopping 42 games behind the league champion Yankees.