Umpire Augie Donatelli Learned Trade In POW Camp

Umpire Augie Donatelli Learned Trade In POW Camp

By Joe Guzzardi

During World War II, 130,000 American soldiers and nearly 19,000 U.S. civilians were prisoners of war. In all but the worst circumstances, usually the Japanese camps where POWs lived in brutally inhumane conditions, a little recreation was possible, and baseball was the preferred pastime.

In his book, “POW Baseball in World War II,” author Tom Wolter tells the stories of baseball played behind barbed wire in the most unlikely places that included Central Asia, along the Baltic Seacoast, in Indonesian jungles and in Japanese cities where guards challenged prisoners to games. Refusal would have been dangerous.

Games were played, said one POW, to avoid crushing boredom, and to create a “Little America.” Within the camps, the players formed leagues, and rivalries were intense. Umpiring disputes were heated, and ringer roster-stacking allegations common. Prison-run newspapers detailed the games in prose that would have made Damon Runyon proud.

Among those liberated from POW camps was Army Air Force Sergeant Augie Donatelli, a future National League umpire. Stationed in England with the 379th Bomb Group as a tail-gunner on a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, one of the Air Force’s most dangerous jobs, Donatelli’s plane, during the first daylight mission over Berlin, was shot down. Looking back, Donatelli said that “fighters [were] diving at us, 20-millimeter shells exploding all around. We flew into the clouds to hide. What action! That day 68 bombers were shot down.”

Donatelli, who previously had flown 17 successful missions, parachuted out but broke his ankle when he hit the ground. Trying to escape from the forest after his fall, Donatelli recalled that he heard a Nazi soldier yell, “Halt,” and was soon a Stalag Luft IV POW.

During his 14 months as a POW, Donatelli tried to escape twice, but was recaptured. Former National League umpire and friend Doug Harvey later recalled, “He always laughed when he talked about his second attempt. He was hiding in a haystack, but didn’t get all the way in. His rear was showing. One of the German guards got him out with a pitchfork.”

Umpire Augie Donatelli Learned Trade In POW Camp

As a young boy, Donatelli, the son of Italian immigrants, worked in Western Pennsylvania’s coal mines. Donatelli told the Society for American Baseball’s Oral History Committee, “It was dangerous and hard work, but what else were you going to do? I started even before graduating from high school.” But Donatelli began his 24-year career, which ended with him universally regarded as one of baseball history’s best umpires, when he presided over POW softball games.

Before Donatelli enlisted, something he said that his patriotic spirit compelled him to do, he had played shortstop in the Class D league for the St. Louis Browns. But Gus, as Donatelli’s friends called him, sensed that his skills weren’t up to MLB snuff. After graduating from umpire school, his new career began, and soon, he was umpiring in the big leagues where he became famous for his quick hook and the dramatic gestures that accompanied it.

By the time he retired, Donatelli had worked four All-Star games, five World Series, two League Championship Series. Donatelli was also behind the plate for four no-hitters, as well as when Whitey Ford set the World Series record for scoreless innings, 32, when Don Drysdale got the single season consecutive shutout innings in a season, 58, when Stan Musial hit five homers in a doubleheader, and when “The Man” got his 3,000th base hit, and when Nate Colbert hit five homers and had the most RBIs, 13, in a doubleheader.

In 1970, Donatelli helped organize the Major League Umpires Association which eventually led to today’s umpires earning an average $235,000 salary. When Donatelli looked back at his career, he pointed with pride to missing only one game in 24 years, and his patriotic World War II service; “I felt it was something I had to do, not to escape the mines but because you just felt it was up to you to get into it.” At age 75, Donatelli died at home in St. Petersburg, Fl.

Joe Guzzardi is a Society for American Baseball Research member. Contact him at guzzjoe@yahoo.com.

Umpire Augie Donatelli Learned Trade In POW Camp

8 Billion People On Planet Earth

8 Billion People On Planet Earth

By Joe Guzzardi

The arrival of the planet’s 8 billionth human inhabitant, which the United Nationsexcitedly announced in mid-November, was greeted in some circles as a joyous event. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hailed 8 billion people as an occasion “to celebrate diversity and enhancements.”

For other population growth enthusiasts, 2037 can’t come fast enough. By then, only 17 years from today, the world population will hit 9 billion. The Washington Post’seditorial board wholeheartedly agrees with Guterres. In its op-ed piece, disdainfully, the Post encouraged readers not to fret because population growth is “mostly inevitable anyway.” The editorial overlooked, perhaps purposely, other harmful population growth consequences, including, but not limited to, drought and its inevitable water shortages, megafauna extinction and ground subsidence, as well as pollution in its multiple forms.

Suddenly, or so it seems, everyone is advocating for higher birth rates, and hence more people, but without mentioning the obvious negative effects on the already eroding ecosystem and depleted, irreplaceable natural resources. Elon Musk, father of nine, is sounding alarm bells about what he refers to as a crumbling civilization, inevitable without a population spike.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has joined the more people, the merrier crowd, and uses his advocacy as an excuse to defend the U.S.’s unprecedented and unlawful border invasion. Coinciding with the UN’s gleeful announcement that world population had hit 8 billion, Schumer urged his GOP congressional colleagues to join in the effort to “welcome” more immigration and to put existing illegal aliens, as well as, presumably, those pouring across the border every hour of every day, on a citizenship path. Schumer’s reasoning: the U.S. has “a population that is not reproducing on its own with the same level that it used to.” Therefore, Schumer warned, without immigration, the nation’s economy is doomed.

8 Billion People On Planet Earth

The magnitude of Schumer’s distorted vision is stunning. The existing illegal immigrants’ exact population is unknown. It is such a mystery that Schumer himself refuses to take a stab at the total. In his plea for a citizenship path for aliens, Schumer referred to “all 11 million or however many undocumented there are here.” Eleven million is the conservative end of the range that, in some estimates, extends upward to 30 million.

A word or two about the border invasion’s totals that must be evaluated as part of Schumer’s grand citizenship plan. Eight weeks into fiscal 2023, which began October 1, a record number of illegals have crossed the border. The number of gotaways — those seen crossing illegally but not apprehended — are on an unprecedented pace during FY 2023 to date: 134,649 since October 1, per CBP sources. Overall migrant encounters also are on an unparalleled pace, FYTD23: 349,216 compared to 275,624 this time in FY22. Assuming those statistics continue indefinitely — and there’s no reason to expect otherwise — at least 2,496 illegals per day will get away, and border agents will encounter 6,467 aliens daily.

Given that more than 5.5 million aliens have entered since President Biden took office, the U.S. population will have increased by roughly 10 million when Election Day 2024 rolls around. Schumer has nothing to worry about; family reunification will be the impetus for the 10 million total to go ever-upward.

The worldwide migrant community has every incentive to keep coming. The administration gives free-to-them, but taxpayer-funded, airline tickets, train tickets, bus tickets, cell phones, welfare, public education and health care, purposely provided incentives that will help satisfy the seditious goal of Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to destroy sovereign America. For Musk, Schumer and other population growth deniers, Biden’s open borders are a dream come true.

Joe Guzzardi writes about immigration issues and impacts.

8 Billion People On Planet Earth

Tech Workers Brace for Possible Omnibus Job-Killer

Tech Workers Brace for Possible Omnibus Job-Killer

By Joe Guzzardi

Like the proverbial bad penny that keeps reappearing, lousy immigration bills are hard to kill off. Consider the EAGLE Act of 2022, also known as Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment, or formally recognized as H.R. 3648. The newest proposed legislation is another iteration of the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act. Although it passed the House by a 365-65 vote, eventually it stalled in Congress.

Introduced by immigration lawyer, amnesty advocate, enforcement foe and expansionist champion Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), the new and the old versions of her proposed legislation both share the same ruinous-to-U.S. tech workers’ feature: the legislation would rob thousands of U.S. tech workers of access to well-paid, white-collar, high-skilled jobs in the science, technology, engineering and math fields, STEM jobs for which they are fully qualified.

Along with her like-minded congressional allies that include Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), who was just elected as House Majority Whip for the 118th Congress and thus became the third highest ranking Republican in the House, Lofgren has scheduled a vote on the EAGLE Act, which has bipartisan support, when Congress returns from its Thanksgiving recess.

Briefly explained, the EAGLE Act would dramatically revise portions of the Immigration Act of 1990. Almost any alien who has been on the visa waiting list for at least two years with an approved petition for an employment-based green card could apply for adjustment of his status which then wouldn’t count against existing numerical caps. Stated another way, employers can sponsor a temporary foreign-born worker for an H-1B nonimmigrant visa and convert that worker to permanent by merely sponsoring him for a green card. Aliens go from temporarily present to permanent residents. With the stroke of a pen, job searches become more challenging for U.S. tech workers – Congress’ twisted idea of sound legislation.

Tech Workers Brace for Possible Omnibus Job-Killer

The bill also eliminates the per-country caps for employment-based visas, which means that within about a decade Indian and Chinese nationals will receive virtually all such visas, especially the H-1B; other countries’ nationals would have an uphill climb to obtain a visa. Under current law, no countries’ nationals can comprise more than 7 percent of any visa category. This provision ensures that skilled workers from around the globe have an opportunity to come to America. The EAGLE Act, however, seeks to entirely remove all caps from employment-based visas and more than double the existing family-preference visa from 7 percent to 15 percent, a hike that would, because of family reunification, ensure significant population surges. The proposed visa cap elimination is ironic because Lofgren and the EAGLE Act’s cosponsors claim to embrace diversity, but the bill heavily favors Chinese and Indian citizens to the exclusion of most others.

Moreover, dependent children of the aliens granted the new status would be allowed to retain their legal standing, a form of amnesty, as dependents of their parents for the duration of the green card application process; they would be protected from aging out while their parents move up in the backlog. An estimated 190,000 minors would be protected.

Time was when Democrats purported to care about America’s minority workers. But their empathy toward U.S. workers is long gone, and is now redirected to foreign nationals, particularly Chinese and Indians. Blacks, Hispanics and other minorities aspire to IT jobs, too. But they’ve had little luck in obtaining those coveted STEM jobs. Pew Research found that black workers make up 9 percent of the STEM workforce, while Hispanics also comprise about 9 percent. The low STEM representation among blacks and Hispanics is largely unchanged from 2016.

For rational thinkers, few and far between in Congress, a push for liberalized immigration laws and amnesty in light of the border surge and its 2 million-plus encounters in 2022 is beyond the pale. But those sound-of-mind types don’t understand the congressional mindset; nothing stops its amnesty drive. And if the EAGLE Act doesn’t get Senate approval, Lofgren always has the option to attach it to a must-pass Omnibus bill. With the 118th House about to transfer into GOP hands, EAGLE Act supporters view December as their last chance to subvert U.S. tech workers.

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Joe Guzzardi is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist who writes about immigration and related social issues. Joe joined Progressives for Immigration Reform in 2018 as an analyst after a ten-year career directing media relations for Californians for Population Stabilization, where he also was a Senior Writing Fellow. A native Californian, Joe now lives in Pennsylvania. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

Tech Workers Brace for Possible Omnibus Job-Killer

Congress Makes Last-Ditch Amnesty Push

Congress Makes Last-Ditch Amnesty Push

By Joe Guzzardi

Emboldened by their better-than-anticipated mid-term election performance, the Democratic Party is entering the Lame Duck session with an aggressive agenda that includes one of it favorite goals – amnesty. Democrats will control the Upper Chamber during the 118th Congress, but the GOP by the narrowest margin – a handful of seats – will have the edge in the House.

The Democrats’ strong showing inspired President Biden to unequivocally pronounce that he plans to do “nothing“ differently during the two years that remain in his first term. Biden interprets the election results as an endorsement of his policies, especially at the border and with his quest to legalize as many illegal aliens as possible.

The status quo, especially as it relates to enforcement, is exactly what’s happening. Just days after Biden’s stand pat commitment, the Border Patrol reported that agents had at least 230,678 known October encounters, exclusive of nearly 1 million known gotaways, compared to 159,113 last October and 69,032 in October 2020. The October 2022 total, driven by Cubans and Nicaraguans, is the highest in Department of Homeland Security history.

Immediately after the Thanksgiving recess, all eyes will be focused on the Lame Duck session that will provide a chance for Biden to finalize his legislative objective. And Republicans may be willing to lend a helping hand, a possibility enhanced with the re-election of pro-amnesty Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Although amnesty goes against most Americans’ wishes, Congress dismisses voters’ concerns, and presses on.

Common sense dictates that already present illegal aliens shouldn’t be granted amnesty until, at a minimum, the DHS seals the border against the new illegal alien wave that includes thousands of unaccompanied minors. But looking ahead to a possible 2024 re-election bid, the president’s advisors are scratching together a possible slogan, “Promises Kept.” Since immigration doesn’t fall into the “kept” category, at least in the White House’s view, Biden’s advisors perceive the need to forge ahead on amnesty.

Earlier this year, the House laid amnesty’s foundation when it passed the American Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, amnesty for about 2.1 million illegally present farm workers. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – DACA – and farm workers are the two top amnesty priorities. Democrats have already written a game plan to send DACA legislation to the Senate that would amnesty more than 4 million illegal immigrants before their House majority expires. A sidebar: legislation to grant amnesty to deferred action recipients has, since 2001 when it was first introduced, consistently failed to get congressional majorities.

Just behind deferred action legalization’s priority are the farm workers who would be tied, if the amnesty passes, to agricultural employment for years – indentured servitude – with the carrot being eventual citizenship. Despite the bill’s title which suggests modernization, no such feature is included. Modernization means using artificial intelligence, the bane of donors who support keeping the ag industry dependent on cheap, stoop labor.

Both DACA and the farm act require ten Senate yeas which the House is unlikely to get. Without the ten necessary upper chamber votes, amnesty advocates could attach either or both DACA and the farm act to must-pass, omnibus legislation – the landmine that immigration restrictionists most fear.

Congress Makes Last-Ditch Amnesty Push

Nothing stops the amnesty lobby – not 9/11, not the mortgage crisis and not dismal employment markets. When amnesty advocates have friends in high places such as the White House, the Senate and the House, pressure for passing amnesty is, as proven during the days leading to the 2022 Lame Duck, intense. Amnesty recipients obtain lifetime valid employment permits, a coveted affirmative benefit that expands the labor market and hinders blue-collar Americans, including blacks, Hispanics and other minorities, the constituency that Congress deceivingly purports to care about.

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Joe Guzzardi is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist who writes about immigration and related social issues. Joe joined Progressives for Immigration Reform in 2018 as an analyst after a ten-year career directing media relations for Californians for Population Stabilization, where he also was a Senior Writing Fellow. A native Californian, Joe now lives in Pennsylvania. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

Congress Makes Last-Ditch Amnesty Push

Tech Layoffs Help American IT Workers?

Tech Layoffs Help American IT Workers?

By Joe Guzzardi

Elon Musk, Twitter’s new chief executive officer, and the firings he immediately called for that included H-1B visa holders, as well as the tech industry’s mass, across-the-board layoffs, raise a three-decade-old question: should the H-1B visa be eliminated, and should U.S. tech workers be put first in line for the white-collar, well-paid jobs?

Musk, who completed his $44 billion Twitter takeover last month, declared that he would end lifetime bans from his platform and tweeted that diverse viewpoints would be welcome. He has a golden opportunity not only to end censorship and restore free speech as he’s promised, but to also hire U.S. tech workers when workforce needs again grow.

Going forward, Musk would have a chance to replace the Twitter employees that he’s fired with U.S. tech workers. The firings – about half the Twitter staff, or around 3,700 employees – are allegedly a cost-cutting measure. He summarily dismissed big earners like CEO Parag Agrawal, $30 million annually; Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal, $18.9 million; Chief Legal Officer Vijaya Gadde, $17 million; and General Counsel Sean Edgett, whose salary is unknown, but likely in the same range as his peers. A class action lawsuit was filed against Twitter in San Francisco federal court claiming that the employees were not given the mandatory 60-day notice prior to the layoffs.

Many of the fired Twitter workers may be in the double-whammy vortex. As H-1B employees, unless they find another job within 60 days or successfully change their immigration status, they must leave the U.S. or risk deportation. H-1B holders who are legally required to leave must depart and not overstay their visas which the federal government clearly identifies as temporary. The U.S. Immigration and Immigration Services estimates that about 8 percent of Twitter’s 7,500 employees, between 625 and 670, have H-1B visas.

Tech and social media are either laying off workers by the thousands or imposing hiring freezes. With Intel’s 20 percent slash, Snapchat’s 20 percent cut and hiring freezes at Amazon and Apple, H-1B holders are on edge. Meta, formerly known as Facebook, cut 11,000 jobs, 13 percent of its staff, after Mark Zuckerberg admitted that his so-called metaverse project was a $15 billion bomb. Meta/Facebook is in a tough spot vis-à-vis its H-1B layoffs. Per the Department of Labor classification, this means 15 percent or more of Meta’s full-time employees are H-1B nonimmigrant workers.

For more than 30 years, Silicon Valley and other employers have falsely claimed that without nonimmigrant H-1B visa employees, their businesses would suffer. Yet now, with widespread tech layoffs that include H-1B holders, admitting 85,000 international workers in 2023, the visa’s annual cap, would further hurt U.S. tech workers who are either displaced and forced to train their replacements or denied interviews. Because H-1B employees are cheaper to hire than U.S. tech graduates, the corporate elite prefer them over more skilled, more well-educated Americans.

The Wall Street Journal hosted a panel discussion that featured two advocates who favor expanding the H-1B program and one critic who urges major reforms. The advocates, David Bier, the Cato Institute’s immigration studies associate director, and Theresa Cardinal Brown, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s managing director of immigration and cross-border policy, argued that the H-1B visa cap should be increased and that their labor market presence makes America a more prosperous place.

The critic, Dr. Ron Hira, Howard University, political science associate professor and Economic Policy Institute research associate, countered that the rigged H-1B system is a transfer-of-wealth scam that makes the employers wealthy winners, and the workers, low-wage losers. Dr. Hira added that employers aren’t required to prove that a U.S. worker shortage exists before hiring an H-1B, that H-1B workers’ wages are set too low, and that the compliance system doesn’t hold employers accountable. “Guest-worker programs are supposed to fill domestic labor shortages. The H-1B program does not fill shortages,” Dr. Hira said.

Tech Layoffs Help American IT Workers?

The Journal debate represents the challenge that H-1B critics face. No matter how many H-1B visa holders lose their jobs, or how economically depressed the tech sector is, the demand for more visas will remain. Pro-immigration media supporters like the Journal, immigration advocacy groups, lawyers, corporate America and the powerful Chamber of Commerce will incessantly lobby Congress for more, more, more H-1B visas.

Ray Marshall, President Jimmy Carter’s Labor Secretary and University of Texas Professor Emeritus, gave a no-frills summary of the H-1B that its advocates should heed: “One of the best con jobs ever done on the American public and political systems…H-1B pays below market rate. If you’ve got H-1B workers, you don’t have to do training or pay good wages.” Musk has an opportunity to set an example for Meta and others to follow: hire U.S. tech workers.

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Joe Guzzardi is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist who writes about immigration and related social issues. Joe joined Progressives for Immigration Reform in 2018 as an analyst after a ten-year career directing media relations for Californians for Population Stabilization, where he also was a Senior Writing Fellow. A native Californian, Joe now lives in Pennsylvania. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

Tech Layoffs Help American IT Workers?

Record Immigration-Driven Population Surge In Canada

Record Immigration-Driven Population Surge In Canada

By Joe Guzzardi

Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser recently announced a bold immigration plan that has serious long-term deleterious consequences for the nation’s population growth and environmental degradation.

Fraser’s goal is, by 2025, to add 1.45 million permanent resident immigrants to address what he and other government officials claim is a critical labor shortage; allegedly 1 million Canadian jobs are unfilled. Fraser said: “Make no mistake. This is a massive increase in economic migration to Canada.” The Minister’s new plan projects a flood of new arrivals that will see 465,000 foreign nationals in 2023, rising to 500,000 in 2025. By comparison, 405,000 permanent residents were admitted last year.

Fraser’s immigration vision to admit a record-breaking number of immigrants is inspired by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s sentiments. Following his 2019 election wherein he campaigned on more immigration, he followed up with welcoming messages to refugees. Defending his massive immigration increase, Fraser repeated familiar refrains about an aging Canadian population and a low birth rate. Without immigration, Fraser foresees a Canada that won’t have the financial resources to fund schools, hospitals and other services. In short, Fraser used scare tactics to deceive Canada’s citizens.

Canada’s long-standing commitment to higher immigration levels has created an unprecedented population surge. In 2021, Canada’s population rose to 37 million people, up 5.2 percent from 2016, driven mostly by immigration, according to official government data. Downtowns and distant suburbs of large cities have experienced the largest growth rates.

Canada added 1.8 million people between 2016 and 2021, with nearly 80 percent of those new residents arriving from across the globe. Research from Statistics Canada (StatsCan) published in its Census 2021 release gives Canada the dubious distinction of being the fastest growing G7 country. Almost 90 percent of new immigrants settled in urban centers, Statscan said, edging up the proportion of Canadians living in large urban centers to 73.7 percent from 73.2 percent five years ago. During the five-year time period studied, Toronto’s population increased 16.1 percent, Montreal, 24.2 percent, and Vancouver, 7.4 percent. The report concluded that Canada continues to urbanize as large city centers benefit most from new arrivals to the country. But not all Canadians would use “benefit” as a descriptor for rapid, uncontrolled population growth.

Fraser’s plan is so ill-conceived that even the most basic and fundamental need of arriving immigrants – affordable housing – will be an insurmountable challenge. Canada is undergoing a severe housing crisis that has driven home prices out of the range for many buyers. Simply put, more people mean that more homes and more roads that lead to them must be built. And new home development creates urban sprawl.

Mike Moffatt, executive director of the Smart Prosperity Institute, outlined the crisis that exploding population has wrought for environmentalists. “What [land] isn’t being used for housing is either being used for nature, like the Greenbelt, or for farmlands, – and we’re already losing 175 acres a day in Ontario of farmland to development.”

Record Immigration-Driven Population Surge In Canada

Ontario environmentalists like Moffatt are fighting to save its glorious Greenbelt from ever-greater development and sprawl. Today, plans to run a highway through a portion of the belt are advancing.

Like most environmentalists in Ontario, Moffatt fears that at any time the government could decide to develop “little pieces” of the Greenbelt. Sooner or later, Moffatt fears, those little pieces could add up to great big chunks.

To be crystal-clear, the new immigrant total will far exceed 1.45 million. New immigrants will grow their existing families and petition certain family members. Princeton University scholars estimated, conservatively, that each migrant petitions three relatives living abroad. Within a generation, the 1.45 million new Canadians could swell to more than 3 million.

Trudeau and Fraser have concocted an immigration plan that will devastate Canada. Immigration isn’t a one-off. Arriving immigrants need nurturing, a compassionate exercise that often comes at the expense, at least partially, of the native-born population. The Canadian government and the corporate elite are all-in on more immigrants. But, if the population at large knew that the arriving 1.45 million immigrants would more than double during many of their lifetimes and degrade Canada’s natural beauty, it would be staunchly opposed.

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Joe Guzzardi is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist who writes about immigration and related social issues. Joe joined Progressives for Immigration Reform in 2018 as an analyst after a ten-year career directing media relations for Californians for Population Stabilization, where he also was a Senior Writing Fellow. A native Californian, Joe now lives in Pennsylvania. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

Record Immigration-Driven Population Surge In Canada

Veteran And Hero Cecil Travis Of The Washington Senators

Veteran And Hero Cecil Travis Of The Washington Senators

By Joe Guzzardi

Baseball history is rich with inspiring stories about Hall of Fame players who served with distinction during World War II, then returned to the diamond, and picked up their stellar careers exactly where they left off. In 1942, Marine Corp Captain Ted Williams hit .356; came back in 1946 to hit .342, the first of his 13 consecutive .313 or better seasons. Williams’ 1946 accomplishments earned him the American League MVP award, and, in 1949, he won his second MVP. New York Yankees’ shortstop Phil Rizzuto, after two productive years, joined the Navy, and served in the Pacific Theater from 1943 to 1946. Once reunited with the Yankees, Rizzuto excelled, won the 1950 MVP title, and played on five All-Star teams.

But for another shortstop, his World War II experiences brought an end to what certainly would have been a Hall of Fame career. The Washington Senators’ Cecil Travis broke into baseball with a bang. In May 1931, after hitting .356 for the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts, the Washington Senators called Travis up. Travis got five consecutive hits in his first-ever game, quickly establishing himself as one of the American League’s most stellar players.

Playing shortstop and third base, Travis, age 18, compiled a .322 batting average in 1940, and his 1941 season, his ninth, was his best. Playing in all 152 games for the Senators, Travis batted .359, second only to Ted Williams’ incredible .406. Travis led the league with 218 hits and finished second with 19 triples. He also had a career-high 101 RBIs. Unfortunately, Travis, who hit .300 or better in eight of his first nine seasons, played for the perennial-losing Senators, a team that got little media attention. Otherwise, fans nationwide would have hailed Travis as a superstar.

Veteran And Hero Cecil Travis Of The Washington Senators

A month after Pearl Harbor, the Army inducted Travis and sent him to Georgia’s Camp Wheeler. By 1944, Travis joined the 76th Infantry Division’s Special Forces and was shipped to Europe for active duty. The 76th entered the European Theater in December. That winter, during the Battle of the Bulge’s final days and in pursuit of Hitler’s retreating German soldiers, Americans suffered through bitter cold. Travis developed frostbite on two of his toes and spent time recovering in a French hospital.

After the 76th was deactivated in June 1945, Travis returned home, and by September, manager Ossie Bluege inserted his name into the Senators’ starting lineup. But Travis never returned to his pre-war excellence, and his potential Hall of Fame career came to a screeching halt. Travis wasn’t the same player who had compiled a .327 career batting average before the war. That September, he hit .241, and .252 in 1946, his last season as a full-time player.

On August 15, 1947 at Griffith Stadium, the Senators celebrated “Cecil Travis Night.” At the ceremony, which former Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower attended, Travis was showered with gifts, including a fancy DeSoto automobile and a 1,500-pound Hereford bull. Travis officially retired after the 1947 season – he hit .216 as a part-time player – and then until 1956, he scouted for the Senators.

Travis, like most World War II veterans, refused to blame his military service for derailing his baseball career. Instead, Travis simply said that his four years away from the game were “too long.” He said, “We had a job to do, an obligation, and we did it. I was hardly the only one.” Bob Feller and Williams lobbied unsuccessfully for Travis’ Hall of Fame induction, and pointed out that Travis’ .314 career average ranked him favorably with other Hall of Fame shortstops. But as Travis philosophically said: “I was a good player, but I wasn’t a great one.”

At age 93, on his farm in his native Georgia, Travis, the player that umpires once named their favorite – that Feller considered one of the toughest batters he faced and that Williams labeled as an efficient pure hitter – died from heart failure.

Joe Guzzardi is a Society for American Research and Internet Baseball Writers Association member. Contact him at guzzjoe@yahoo.com.

Veteran And Hero Cecil Travis Of The Washington Senators

Everything Isn’t Enough For Immigration Expansionists

Everything Isn’t Enough For Immigration Expansionists

By Joe Guzzardi

Imagine if White House officials, the Chamber of Commerce, the establishment media, corporate America and ethnic identity advocacy groups agreed to an immigration roundtable. Then, further imagine that the moderator asked three questions.

The first question: “Given that fiscal year 2022 ended with a record 2.4 million migrant encounters exclusive of 599,000 known ‘gotaways,’ but including 238,000 in September alone, how many more migrants should be admitted before enforcement begins?”

Second: “Assuming Congress passes amnesty for every unlawfully present alien, would you agree to stop or at least pause in your support for unlimited immigration?” Finally: “Research indicates that loose borders harm mostly black Americans in terms of depressed wages and lost job opportunities. Immigration also provides higher incomes and profits for businesses while redistributing wealth from the native poor to the native rich. Do those findings cause you to question your immigration advocacy?”

A decade ago, advocacy groups agreed to participate in such a discussion; the hypothetical others weren’t present. No matter how the moderator pressed for answers to questions about how many immigrants were too many, no specific response was forthcoming.

The moderator prefaced his questions by acknowledging that most legal and illegal immigrants are hard-working individuals who want better lives for their families and that, with the exception of having broken civil law by being in the U.S. without permission, most aliens are law abiding.

For their part, the pro-immigration debaters insisted that family reunification remain unchanged and that employment-based immigration continue indefinitely. And while vaguely concurring that some numerical limits should be set, none of the participants was willing to set a fixed total. Either speaking on behalf of their group or expressing a personal opinion, the participants refused to discuss, even hypothetically, what the maximum number of immigrants should be or what might represent permissible enforcement regulations. Advocates repeatedly stressed what they perceived as immigration law’s “inhumanity,” but at the same time wouldn’t specifically define why open borders should be perceived as humane. In summary, the open borders coalition demanded unlimited immigration, but rejected border or interior enforcement as quid pro quos.

Everything Isn't Enough For Immigration Expansionists

Ten years later, the Biden administration has rewarded immigration advocates with a clearcut victory. Their immigration wish list, identified a decade ago, has come true beyond their wildest imaginations. While Congress hasn’t passed an amnesty per se, interior enforcement is gutted, making removal unlikely for most illegal immigrants. Moreover, many of the millions of migrants have been granted parole, a misused and abused immigration status that includes work authorization. Not precisely an employment-based visa, parole nevertheless effectively provides the same affirmative immigration benefit – legal access to U.S. jobs.

Going beyond complying with advocates’ wish list, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has diluted the citizenship test. Long used as the basic guideline for identifying which among the recently arrived lawful permanent residents qualify for coveted naturalization, the standards have been dramatically loosened. USCIS director Ur M. Jaddou said that, under certain circumstances, the exam can be bypassed. This represents how the agency “is removing barriers to naturalization…” Jaddou’s reasoning: the public is “better served” by “eliminating questions and language barriers that no longer have practical utility and were redundant.”

At first glance, the Biden administration through its various immigration violations, which some dismiss as merely loosening inconvenient laws, is an overt attempt to swell the Democratic voter base, especially among Hispanics. But with porous borders having pushed Hispanic voters away, the inescapable conclusion is that the administration’s primary goal is to cancel, by any and all possible means, sovereign America.

Imagine if White House officials, the Chamber of Commerce, the establishment media, corporate America and ethnic identity advocacy groups agreed to an immigration roundtable. Then, further imagine that the moderator asked three questions.

The first question: “Given that fiscal year 2022 ended with a record 2.4 million migrant encounters exclusive of 599,000 known ‘gotaways,’ but including 238,000 in September alone, how many more migrants should be admitted before enforcement begins?”

Second: “Assuming Congress passes amnesty for every unlawfully present alien, would you agree to stop or at least pause in your support for unlimited immigration?” Finally: “Research indicates that loose borders harm mostly black Americans in terms of depressed wages and lost job opportunities. Immigration also provides higher incomes and profits for businesses while redistributing wealth from the native poor to the native rich. Do those findings cause you to question your immigration advocacy?”

A decade ago, advocacy groups agreed to participate in such a discussion; the hypothetical others weren’t present. No matter how the moderator pressed for answers to questions about how many immigrants were too many, no specific response was forthcoming.

The moderator prefaced his questions by acknowledging that most legal and illegal immigrants are hard-working individuals who want better lives for their families and that, with the exception of having broken civil law by being in the U.S. without permission, most aliens are law abiding.

For their part, the pro-immigration debaters insisted that family reunification remain unchanged and that employment-based immigration continue indefinitely. And while vaguely concurring that some numerical limits should be set, none of the participants was willing to set a fixed total. Either speaking on behalf of their group or expressing a personal opinion, the participants refused to discuss, even hypothetically, what the maximum number of immigrants should be or what might represent permissible enforcement regulations. Advocates repeatedly stressed what they perceived as immigration law’s “inhumanity,” but at the same time wouldn’t specifically define why open borders should be perceived as humane. In summary, the open borders coalition demanded unlimited immigration, but rejected border or interior enforcement as quid pro quos.

Ten years later, the Biden administration has rewarded immigration advocates with a clearcut victory. Their immigration wish list, identified a decade ago, has come true beyond their wildest imaginations. While Congress hasn’t passed an amnesty per se, interior enforcement is gutted, making removal unlikely for most illegal immigrants. Moreover, many of the millions of migrants have been granted parole, a misused and abused immigration status that includes work authorization. Not precisely an employment-based visa, parole nevertheless effectively provides the same affirmative immigration benefit – legal access to U.S. jobs.

Going beyond complying with advocates’ wish list, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has diluted the citizenship test. Long used as the basic guideline for identifying which among the recently arrived lawful permanent residents qualify for coveted naturalization, the standards have been dramatically loosened. USCIS director Ur M. Jaddou said that, under certain circumstances, the exam can be bypassed. This represents how the agency “is removing barriers to naturalization…” Jaddou’s reasoning: the public is “better served” by “eliminating questions and language barriers that no longer have practical utility and were redundant.”

At first glance, the Biden administration through its various immigration violations, which some dismiss as merely loosening inconvenient laws, is an overt attempt to swell the Democratic voter base, especially among Hispanics. But with porous borders having pushed Hispanic voters away, the inescapable conclusion is that the administration’s primary goal is to cancel, by any and all possible means, sovereign America.

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Joe Guzzardi is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist who writes about immigration and related social issues. Joe joined Progressives for Immigration Reform in 2018 as an analyst after a ten-year career directing media relations for Californians for Population Stabilization, where he also was a Senior Writing Fellow. A native Californian, Joe now lives in Pennsylvania. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

Lame-Duck Session Might Include Amnesty Push

Lame-Duck Session Might Include Amnesty Push

By Joe Guzzardi

Between today and Jan. 3, when the 118th Congress convenes, the nation may undergo a shift away from the party that minimizes border security to the party that favors enforcement and a more rational immigration policy. The outcome will depend on more than the Election Night results.

A hotly contested lame-duck session that will include a major amnesty push will play a significant role in the political dynamic of the next two years. Voters have consistently rejected amnesty because legalizing illegal immigrants incentivizes future illegal immigration waves, immediately expands the labor market, thereby harming U.S. workers, most particularly the 4 million that turn 18 each year, and vulnerable low-skilled, American job seekers.

Lame-duck sessions represent opportunities for the outgoing Congress to make one final push for their pet causes, even though, despite their terms in office, they’ve been unable to legislatively achieve their personal wish list. From the defeated or retired legislators’ perspectives, since they’re no longer accountable to their constituents, they have nothing to lose.

Efforts to end lame-duck sessions, dating back 90 years, have failed. The 20th Amendment, approved in 1933, was originally drafted to eliminate the lame duck. The amendment’s proponents argued that lame ducks were subject to nefarious influences. Moreover, passing lame-duck legislation might contradict the voices of the people as expressed in the last election. But the 20th Amendment didn’t definitively prohibit lame-duck sessions. Instead, dodging its original intention, the amendment simply moved the date on which the newly elected President and Congress took office from March to January.

Since the 20th Amendment didn’t kill off the lame duck, Congress will have to deal with it. If Democrats prevail in November, then a disastrous amnesty and other immigration-expanding measures are possible. More immigration has a host of Capitol Hill allies: religious and academic institutions, special interest groups, social media, big business and lobbyists who spent $3.7 billion to influence peddle targeted congressional members.

Higher immigration levels mean more consumers, and more cheap labor, so naturally corporate interests favor higher immigration levels. Democrats are united and tireless in their commitment and determination to enact amnesty. Last year, Democrats tried to sneak amnesty into a larger budget bill. This bill was scheduled to go through the reconciliation process, meaning it would only require a simple majority to pass, and the problematic filibuster would have been avoided. But the Senate Parliamentarian had to confirm that the bill’s contents specifically dealt with the federal budget.

Democrats unconvincingly argued that giving millions of illegal aliens legal status was a budgetary matter. Nevertheless, the Parliamentarian ruled against all three amnesty attempts.

Big business, anticipating December, is hard at work with a multifaceted game plan that includes multiple immigration provisions in unrelated amendments that it wants to include in the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act. The amendments would give more low- and high-skilled workers legal U.S. work permission.

Lame-Duck Session Might Include Amnesty Push

Other amnesty schemes are afoot. California Senator Alex Padilla, appointed to replace Vice President Kamala Harris, is working in concert with Illinois Senator Dick Durbin to change registry laws to allow illegal immigrants to apply for permanent residence after they’ve lived in the U.S. for at least seven years, legalizing about 8 million illegal aliens. Padilla’s proposal reflects Democrats’ mindset – all roads can lead to amnesty.

When the lame-duck period begins, one fundamental principal should guide the GOP – no amnesty deals! The U.S. has more immigration than the nation can manage. More than 1 million lawful permanent residents arrive annually; millions more enter on employment visas, and fiscal year 2022 ended with a staggering 2,378,944 migrant border encounters, the highest ever recorded, but exclusive of the 599,000 known “gotaways” that Customs and Border Protection agents estimate eluded capture, but including an estimated 78 on the FBI’s terrorist watch list.

Since the only way to ban the lame duck would be through another constitutional amendment, Democrats and Republicans could adopt a civil tone if just for a few weeks. The parties could agree that a lame-duck session cannot create major legislation and simply let the next Congress take up leftover business.

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Joe Guzzardi is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist who writes about immigration and related social issues. Joe joined Progressives for Immigration Reform in 2018 as an analyst after a ten-year career directing media relations for Californians for Population Stabilization, where he also was a Senior Writing Fellow. A native Californian, Joe now lives in Pennsylvania. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

Babe Ruth Promised Johnny Sylvester A Home Run And Kept It

Babe Ruth Promised Johnny Sylvester A Home Run And Kept It

By Joe Guzzardi

Baseball is rich with legend and lore. At the center of many of the most well-known stories is Babe Ruth. The Big Bam’s 1932 called shot off Chicago Cubs pitcher Charlie Root is still contested today. But in the 1926 World Series, when New York Yankees faced off against the St. Louis Cardinals, details about Ruth’s promise to a hospitalized young boy, Johnny Sylvester, have, over the elapsed decades, become muddled.

Charlie Poekel’s book, “Babe and the Kid,” sets the record straight. Eleven-year-old Johnny, kicked in the head by a horse and considered at death’s door, was a huge New York Yankees fan. His father, a well-connected New Jersey executive, got word to the Yankees that his son’s spirits would be lifted if the team could do something special for Johnny.

The Yankees received the message and sent an autographed ball to Johnny in care of his father’s New York office. One side read: “We’re glad to know you knocked the bug for a home run.” On the ball’s other side, Ruth wrote, “I’ll knock a homer for you on Wednesday’s game.” The Cardinals also sent an autographed baseball that included 14 players and Rogers Hornsby’s signature: “Hoping you will soon be batting 1,000 percent in good health.” Historians consider Hornsby baseball’s best-ever right-handed hitter; the “Rajah” hit .400 or better three times.

Babe Ruth Promised Johnny Sylvester A Home Run And Kept It
Babe Ruth and Johnny Sylvester

Although many accounts have Ruth at Johnny’s bedside when he made his promise, on game day October 6 the Bambino was in St. Louis where he hit three home runs, and led the Yankees to a 10-5 victory that tied the series 2-2. Johnny’s doctors noticed that his temperature miraculously dropped two degrees, and within a few days, the boy was back home. Then followed an even greater surprise for Johnny. Ruth strode into Johnny’s room where he spent about half an hour. When a shocked Johnny finally could form words, he expressed regret that the Yankees lost the series. Tactfully, Sylvester didn’t mention that Ruth made the seventh game’s final out when he was caught stealing, the greatest baserunning blunder in the sport’s history.

While the Ruth baseball was Johnny’s most treasured possession, Lou Gehrig sent a signed game-used ball; Wimbledon tennis champion “Big” Bill Tilden and football great Red Grange, the University of Illinois’ “Galloping Ghost,” gifted an autographed football and a tennis racquet. Each wrote personal letters to Sylvester.

As Johnny grew into adulthood, he attended Princeton, starred on the university’s varsity hockey team, and once scored a hat trick, three goals in a single game. In 1942, his application to serve as an apprentice in the U.S. Navy was accepted, and he spent most of World War II in the Pacific Theater as a lieutenant commanding submarine chaser 520s that patrolled offshore for enemy activity.

Johnny ended his naval service in 1945, and two years later, April 27, 1947, the nation celebrated “Babe Ruth Day.” Attention then returned to the by-now familiar Ruth-Sylvester saga. Ruth, however, had recently been in New York’s French Hospital for 81 days; no visitors allowed. Cancer had cut Ruth’s time short. The Daily News brokered a reunion – 21 years after their initial meeting – that included Ruth, Sylvester and his wife Marita. Babe to Johnny: “The last time I saw you, you were a skinny little kid.” Johnny to Babe: “I’m all grown up now, thanks to you.”

A few minutes of friendly banter followed as Johnny pulled out the ball that Ruth signed. Seeing the signatures again, Ruth spoke wistfully about his 1926 teammates. When their time together ended, Johnny observed to Marita that Ruth had lost weight, and, dressed in pajamas and bathrobe, was gaunt. As he took one last look around before leaving Ruth’s apartment, Johnny said: “Ain’t he a swell guy.”

On a sweltering August 19, 1948, thousands lined up around St. Patrick’s Cathedral to pay their final respects to Ruth. Inside, at a service presided over by His Eminence Francis Cardinal Spellman, and assisted by 44 Roman Catholic priests and 12 altar boys, sitting front and center was Johnny Sylvester, linked forever in baseball lore to Babe Ruth.

Joe Guzzardi is a Society for American Baseball Research and Internet Baseball Writers Association member. Contact him at guzzjoe@yahoo.com.

Babe Ruth Promised Johnny Sylvester A Home Run And Kept It
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