Lee Lowenfish is a freelance writer and author of Branch Rickey: Baseball’s Ferocious Gentleman (University of Nebraska Press), which won the Seymour medal from SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) and a Choice award from the American Library Association.
On January 10, 2018, the 14th Annual Portsmouth Murals Baseball Banquet will take place in the picturesque Scioto County seat on the Ohio River. The murals stretch for 2,200 feet and have become one of the greatest tourist attractions in the Buckeye state. They have turned the desolate decaying walls erected in 1937 to stem a major flood into over one-third of a mile of inspiring art, the largest such installation in the United States.
It is hard to believe that we are more than a half-century removed from the turbulent decade of the 1960s. Though it is exaggerated how static the 1950s actually were—two of modern America’s most significant achievements occurred in that decade: the GI Bill that opened college education to millions and the Eisenhower administration’s establishment of the interstate highway system—there is no doubt that the 1960s were a watershed in our history.
“Nothing Like Baseball to Take Your Mind Off Your Troubles”: On the Solace That Baseball Provided American Film Genius Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton rocketed to national fame in the 1920s in the heyday of silent film comedy. Except for Charlie Chaplin, there was no greater star in the comedic movie firmament.
I didn’t become an ardent Orioles fan until 1970 when I was teaching and living in Baltimore. I picked a good time to join the fold of the orange and black because under Manager Earl Weaver’s feisty leadership the Orioles averaged almost 94 wins a season, made six postseason appearances, won four American League pennants and the 1970 World Series.
Mention the name Joe E. Brown these days, and probably the only item that comes to mind is the last line he delivered in Billy Wilder’s classic 1959 film, Some Like It Hot. Brown plays the millionaire playboy Osgood Fielding III and is infatuated with Jack Lemmon, who is impersonating a woman Big Band saxophonist to elude Prohibition Era gangsters. Osgood is unperturbed when Lemmon’s “Daphne” removes his wig at the end of the film and tells him they can’t marry because he’s a man.
The restoration of full diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba in December 2014 excited the Cuban baseball community. The hope that the hostility between the two governments ever since Fidel Castro overthrew the Batista dictatorship in 1959 was at last easing was given another boost late last year when Major League Baseball sent a good will delegation to the island nation.