Braves Return To Series Brings Memories of ’57

Braves Return To Series Brings Memories of ’57

By Joe Guzzardi

The Braves, once Milwaukee’s pride and joy, who earlier called Boston home, and are now Atlanta’s National League champions, will take on the Houston Astros starting 8 tonight, Oct. 26, in the 2021 World Series.

The Braves have a rich history that’s largely lost in baseball’s sands of time. In his book “Boston Braves,” author Richard A. Johnson reminded readers that the Beaneaters pulled off one of baseball’s greatest upsets when, in 1914, they surprised Connie Mack’s heavily favored and powerful Philadelphia A’s in a four-game sweep. In all, the Braves’ New England version captured 10 National League pennants, and put 38 players in the Cooperstown Hall of Fame, among them Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, Casey Stengel, Eddie Mathews and Warren Spahn.

A near-miss for Cooperstown induction is Milwaukee’s Selva Lewis Burdette, a 203-game winner who dominated for the Braves in his team’s thrilling 1957 World Series triumph over the mighty New York Yankees. Burdette was commonly known in baseball circles by his hometown nickname, “Nitro Lew,” his West Virginia birthplace. In the seven-game 1957 series, Burdette hurled three complete game victories, including, on two-days’ rest, the 5-0 finale. Between the eight-game span between October 3 and 10, Burdette pitched 27 innings and allowed only two runs. In his three games, Burdette held slugging Yankees’ future Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra to a harmless single between them and, for the series, posted a 0.67 ERA.

Burdette became the first pitcher to hurl three complete games, and two shutouts since 1905 when the New York Giants’ Christy Mathewson performed the remarkable feat. And Nitro Lew went about his Yankee domination quickly. The times of Burdette’s Game one, Game five and Game seven starts were, respectively, 2:26, 2:00 and 2:34, and included his 24 consecutive goose egg innings. Like the Yankees, the 1957 Braves players’ roster included four future Hall of Famers: Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Red Schoendienst and Spahn; for the Bronx Bombers, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Enos Slaughter and Whitey Ford.

Braves Return To Series Brings Memories of '57

Society for American Baseball Research historian Alex Kupfer remembers Burdette as a fidgety moundsman whose constant hat and jersey adjustment, forehead-wiping, lip-touching and muttering to himself distracted batters who were convinced that the hurler was throwing a spit ball. Once asked to identify his best pitch, Burdette replied that it’s “the one I do not throw,” a subtle denial that he moistened the bulb. Originally drafted by the Yankees, Burdette had a golden opportunity to learn how to throw the spitball. During early days in the Yankees system, Burdette occasionally worked with roving pitching coach Burleigh Grimes, one of the game’s great spitballers. But, he was concerned that if he showed Burdette how to throw a spitter, the promising young right-hander would be thrown out of professional baseball.

Two years after his World Series Most Valuable Player performance, Burdette was a key protagonist in one of baseball’s most extraordinary games. On a rainy May 26, 1959, Milwaukee night, Burdette faced off against the Pittsburgh Pirates’ crafty Harvey Haddix. For 12 innings, Haddix retired 36 consecutive Braves, while Burdette also tossed scoreless, but not perfect ball. Then, in the 13th inning Braves slugger Joe Adcock drove in Felix Mantilla, the winning run.

Mantilla had reached first on Pirates’ third baseman Don Hoak’s error. The imperfect Burdette nevertheless turned in an excellent performance; he threw 13 scoreless innings, allowed 12 hits and walked none. After the game Burdette phoned Haddix to sympathetically tell him, “You deserved to win, but I scattered all my hits, and you bunched your one.” Not appreciative of either Burdette’s sense of humor or his timing, the still-smarting Haddix hung up.

Before his 18-year career ended in 1967, Burdette had short, occasionally effective stints with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Chicago Cubs and the California Angels. When his active career ended, Burdette scouted, rejoined the Braves as Atlanta’s pitching coach, worked in public relations for a Milwaukee brewery and broadcast on Florida cable television. Although Burdette appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot for 15 consecutive years beginning in 1973, he always came up short.

In 2007, Burdette, a lung cancer victim, died at age 80 in Winter Garden, Fla., where he had taken up residency during his post-baseball career. At Burdette’s funeral, his World Series teammate, shortstop Johnny Logan, didn’t shed light on the decades-long unsolved mystery about crafty righty’s spitball. Logan, however, admitted in his eulogy that he couldn’t tell if Burdette threw a wet one, but he knew that his teammate “was a hell of a competitor.”

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

Braves Return To Series Brings Memories of ’57

Braves Return To Series Brings Memories of ’57

Remembering Stanczaks For Polish American Month

Remembering Stanczaks For Polish American Month

By Joe Guzzardi

October is Polish American Heritage Month, originally celebrated by congressional proclamation in August until it moved to October. Polish heritage month commemorates the first Polish settlers who arrived in America in 1608, and also honors Generals Kazimierz Pułaski and Tadeusz Kościuszko, two military leaders who bravely fought in the American Revolution. The change from August to October enabled schools to participate in traditional Polish festivities – singing, dancing and plenty of pierogi eating.

The list of accomplished Polish-Americans is long and impressive. In the baseball world, one of the most prominent is Aloysius Harry Szymanski, aka Al Simmons, the home run bashing outfielder for Connie Mack’s daunting 1920s Philadelphia Athletics, and later the Chicago White Sox, Washington Senators and Detroit Tigers. The slugging Hall of Famer Simmons had a 20-year .334 career batting average.

Remembering Stanczaks For Polish American Month

Simmons, well-known for his foot-in-the-bucket batting style, was involved in one of the World Series’ most unlikely incidents. A .329 hitter in his four World Series appearances, Simmons ignited a memorable and improbable development in the Fall Classic’s history, the seventh inning of the fourth game between the A’s and the Chicago Cubs in 1929. With the Cubs comfortably ahead 8-0, Simmons blasted a leadoff home run. The Athletics batted around and soon trailed by only one run, 8-7. Then, Simmons singled in his second at-bat of the seventh as the A’s completed a historic and unforgettable ten-run inning and went on to win, 10-8. The A’s, with six future Hall of Famers, took the 1929 series crown, 4-1.

Simmons is well known among baseball historians. But few are aware of Chicago’s late 1920s 10-man Stanczak brothers’ team, one of the most unusual semi-pro ball clubs to ever appear on a diamond. Polish immigrant Martin Stanczak was father to 10 sons, and one daughter, who covered nearly a 20-year age span. Martin’s ball playing sons included Joe, a county clerk; Mike, an ordained priest; Bill, a tobacco-chewing spitball pitcher, and high schoolers Martin and Julius. In his book, “The League of Outsider Baseball,” award-winning graphic artist Gary Cieradkowski wrote about how, after dominating the Chicago and Milwaukee sandlot teams, promoter Nick Keller became the guiding light for the Stanczak Brothers team, and led them to greater heights.

Keller’s first move was to, for phonetic purposes, eliminate the “c” from Stanczak. Keller renamed the siblings “The World Brother Champions,” issued challenges to other sibling-only ball clubs, and defied them to prove him wrong when he proclaimed his team as global sibling title-holders. From way out West, the Marlatt Brothers, having crushed the Skiano Brothers in 1925, accepted. Quick to strike while the iron was hot, Keller set up “The Brother Championship Series.” The first two games were played on the Marlatt Brothers’ home turf, Hot Springs, Wyoming. Bill’s wet one befuddled the Marlatts, and the Stanzaks swept the first two games. Back in Chicago for games three and four, the Stanzak brothers polished off the Marlatts to retain their title as undisputed sibling champions.

Wearing their crown proudly, the Stanzak brothers toured the Midwest, and dominated all comers. After winning the 1933 Lake County championship, the brothers received an invitation to travel to Wichita to take on the Deikes of Fredericksburg, Texas. The Texans, however, were not totally above board; the team was only eight-ninths all-siblings. The Deikes installed a ringer at first base – U.S. president-to-be Lyndon Baines Johnson. No matter. The Stanczak boys defended their championship title effortlessly, and breezed past the Deikes; future president Johnson made no difference in the outcome.

None of the brothers played major league baseball. Joe had a brief stint in the minors; Louis and Martin had unsuccessful tryouts with the Cincinnati Reds. Nevertheless, the brothers’ photograph is prominently on display at Cooperstown where the Hall of Fame declared them as the 10 best brothers ever to play baseball.

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

Remembering Stanczaks For Polish American Month

Remembering Stanczaks For Polish American Month

Terrible Towel Tender Back Story

Terrible Towel Tender Back Story

By Joe Guzzardi


The 2021 National Football League season is underway. In the Buffalo opener where two of last year’s AFC division champs faced off against each other, the six-time Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers dispatched the Bills 23-16.

Terrible Towel Tender Back Story

Even though the Steelers played on enemy turf in Buffalo’s Highmark Stadium, the Yinzers felt right at home. The Pittsburgh contingent among the 70,000 football-starved fans encouraged the Steelers by waving thousands of Terrible Towels. Wherever the Steelers play, loyal followers wave their black and gold towels with abandon. No matter the occasion, there’s a towel to match.

Around Pittsburgh or online, fans can buy towels for about $10 that celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, Independence Day, Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day. Steelers’ fans have taken their towels to Iraq, Afghanistan, the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Everest’s peak, the International Space Station, the South Pole, the Great Wall of China and Vatican City. A pink towel, introduced in 2009, promotes breast cancer awareness.

At Heinz Field, a Terrible Towel Wall displays each of the special edition towels for the Steelers’ worldwide, stadium-visiting fans to admire. The towel is hung over televisions and radios during game time, and is often used as a fun drape for pets and babies. When Steelers’ receiver Hines Ward won the 2011 Dancing with the Stars’ Mirrorball Trophy, his former teammate and Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris urged him on by twirling his Terrible Towel.

But few non-Yinzers know the touching legacy behind the towel, which is much more than evidence of Steelers’ excellence, and the team’s passionate fan base. Here’s the towel’s wonderful backstory: Myron Cope, a beloved Steelers’ broadcaster, the team’s voice for 35 years, and a National Radio Hall of Fame member, created the towel in 1975, and it debuted on December 27 in a winning playoff game against the Baltimore Colts. From that moment on, fans and players considered the towel the team’s lucky charm, as the Steelers, in the following weeks, defeated the Oakland Raiders and the Dallas Cowboys, and then won Super Bowl IX, beating the Minnesota Vikings, 16-6. The Steelers’ successful play helped towel sales take off.

In 1996, Cope turned the towel’s trademark over to the Allegheny Valley School (AVS), which has several campuses and group homes throughout Pennsylvania, and operates more than 125 programs across Pennsylvania designed to help the developmentally disabled. Cope’s son, Danny, once attended. Danny, who has never spoken a word and is today 54, enrolled in 1992. Thanks to the loving care he received at AVS, Danny eventually moved on to a meaningful assembly line job at a major snack food company.

AVS receives each penny of profit from towel sales. Cope specifically outlined how the school must spend the proceeds. Each dollar goes to benefit residents and must not go into the general construction fund. The money is earmarked for, among other essentials, specialized wheelchairs and programs that will enable the most challenged to turn on lights or music by merely blinking their eyes. As the school’s then-chief executive officer, Regis Champ, said: “Our needs are daily.”

Steelers’ administration manages the marketing of towels and then cuts a check, usually in the low five figures, payable to the school. When the Steelers play in the Super Bowl, sales often exceed $1 million. Some eager fans have purchased 200 towels at a time. Since Cope donated the Terrible Towel’s trademark, sales have generated more than $3 million for AVS.

As Champ recalled the glorious day that the towel’s rights were transferred to AVS, Cope came into his office with a pile of documents, threw them down on his desk and said, “‘Regis, I’m giving you the Terrible Towel.’ I was speechless. I knew that this would be the legacy that outlived Myron.”

In 2008, Cope, age 79, passed away. His daughter Elizabeth draped Cope’s coffin with a quilt that a fan made out of Terrible Towels and sent to the Cope family. Whether you are a Steelers fan or not, remember that Terrible Towels promote a most worthy cause, helping autistic people get on the road to living normal lives.

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

Rose Bowl Memory From 1955

Rose Bowl Memory From 1955

By Joe Guzzardi

As a kid growing up in post-World War II Los Angeles, the Rose Bowl was the year’s single most anticipated event. In sports, the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn; the Lakers in Minneapolis; and the Rams had only recently relocated from Cleveland. The thought that professional ice hockey might one day be played in sunny Southern California was too preposterous to take seriously. In some circles, but not the under-16 age group, the Academy Awards were Los Angeles’ annual highlight. Kids would have to be dragged kicking and screaming to Oscar-winning films like “From Here to Eternity” or “Around the World in 80 Days.”

When my parents announced on Christmas Day that one of my gifts was tickets to attend the January 1, 1955, Rose Bowl game with my Dad, my excitement couldn’t be contained. That year, the Rose Bowl matchup pitted the No. 1 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes against the #17 University of Southern California Trojans. While few gave the Trojans a chance, bowl games were always the perfect setting for major college upsets.

Fans of the then-Pac 8 eagerly anticipated watching the Big-10 conference representatives, considered more powerful than their West Coast rivals. The undefeated 8-0 Buckeyes, led by Hall of Fame coach Woody Hayes and Heisman Trophy winning running back Howard “Hopalong” Cassidy, faced the 6-3 Trojans who finished a dismal sixth in the Pac-8. Under the Rose Bowl era’s early rules, Pac-8 winner UCLA couldn’t represent the conference in back-to-back years.

Ask anyone who’s lived in Los Angeles to predict January 1 weather, and their replies will be the same. No matter how foul the weather is on the days leading up to the Rose Bowl or how awful during the following days, by kickoff, skies will be sunny, and the temperature warm. But for the first time in more than three decades, January 1, 1955, was not only rainy, but a torrent. No sooner had my father’s eyes opened on Rose Bowl morning than, as sheets of rain fell outside, he tried to beg off. Dad pleaded with Mom to intercede on his behalf. No dice, Mom said, the Rose Bowl is your son’s Christmas present, and he’s looked forward to the game for a week.

Off to Pasadena my father and I set; he somber, and me excited. With 90,000 fans sitting shoulder-to-shoulder, umbrellas were useless. The temperature was no day at the beach, either; it hovered in the mid-50s. As rain dripped down our cheeks, we sat through the entire lopsided game that, from the beginning, Ohio State dominated, 20-7. Here’s how the Cleveland Plain Dealer described the game: “Through mud, slime, murk and driving rain, Ohio State’s dauntless Buckeyes today reached the all-time zenith of the University’s football history. Ploughing through muck in the fog and semi-darkness, the Buckeyes vanquished Southern California, 20 to 7, in the worst weather conditions of Rose Bowl history.”

As bad as the day had been for my father, it was about to worsen. Finally drying off post-game in the family Ford, Dad turned the ignition key, and we heard the awful grinding sound that dead batteries emit. Driving from our house to Pasadena with his headlights on, Dad forgot to turn them off once we parked. Realizing that we would be stranded for at least a couple of hours, my father let out a string of profanities that turned the parking lot blue. Stadium security summoned AAA, and, eventually, redemption in tow truck form worked its way through the tens of thousands of vehicles trying to exit. Our long drive home was in stony silence. Years passed before my family could laugh about Rose Bowl 1955.

I left Los Angeles long ago, and on return visits I saw Rose Bowl games under Chamber of Commerce skies. But nothing will ever replace in my memory that rain-drenched January 1. As I look back on New Year’s Day more than 65 years ago, I realize that I’ve developed a deeper affection for my loving father who resisted going to the rain soaked-Rose Bowl, but in the end, took me anyway. As he did in 1955, and continued to do until the day he died, Dad always kept the promises he made to me.


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

Rose Bowl Memory From 1955

Nike Buys Slaves, You Don’t, Wake Up

Nike Buys Slaves, You Don’t, Wake Up — We reported this July 24 but we’ll reiterate. An investigation by Forbes has revealed that Nike literally buys slaves to make its products. This occurs in China and the slaves are Moslem Uighurs. Among the ways these slaves are advertised is from online postings proclaiming  The advantages of Xinjiang workers are: semi-military style management, can withstand hardship, no loss of personnel … Minimum order 100 workers! 

Does Nike brand its Uighur slaves with this? Just don’t it.

If you buy Nike products you support slavery. Before you read this maybe could plead ignorance but now, not so much.

Not everything made overseas is with slave labor, and there are things you have little choice in buying. Branded apparel is not one of them, though, especially when it comes from a brand that might be the biggest hypocrite in merchandising history.

It’s not hyperbole to say that if you buy Nike you support slavery.

Remember that next time someone talks about “white privilege”. Especially if it is from a guy who became an even bigger one-percenter when he figured out a new scam after he lost a step on the gridiron, or from a billionairess who got her wealth pandering and promoting perversion.

Really, how many slaves have you ever owned? Infinitely less than Nike.

Or John of God, for that matter.

Nike Buys Slaves, You Don’t, Wake Up

Cancel Colin Kaepernick And Nike And All Corporate Slave Masters

Cancel Colin Kaepernick And Nike And All Corporate Slave Masters — Hey Colin Kaepernick, you see how your partner is making its shoes? That’s right, Nike is literally using slaves in the People’s Republic of China.

Cancel Colin Kaepernick And Nike And All Corporate Slave Masters
Colin Kaepernick, hypocritical jackass

So are Adidas, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, BMW, General Motors, Jaguar, Mercedes Benz, Google, Huawei and dozens more uber-woke globalists corporations, according to an investigation by Forbes.com.

The slaves are Moslem Uighurs provided to factories by a Chinese program called Xinjiang Aid. The factories advertise this labor to Nike et al with online postings proclaiming The advantages of Xinjiang workers are: semi-military style management, can withstand hardship, no loss of personnel … Minimum order 100 workers! 

Anybody up for burning down the Nike HQ? It’s in the Portland, Ore. environs.

Kaepernick is a hypocritical jackass.

Cancel Colin Kaepernick And Nike And All Corporate Slave Masters

Tony Taylor Telstar Hero R.I.P.

Tony Taylor Telstar Hero R.I.P. — Beloved Philadelphia Phillies icon Tony Taylor died, July 16, at age 84. While there have been articles recording his athletic achievements we missed the one noting what will put him in the history books centuries hence, namely being the first athlete to appear in a transatlantic satellite broadcast. It happened on July 23, 1962 when part of a Chicago Cubs-Phillies game was broadcast as filler before remarks by President Kennedy to inaugurate Telstar. It showed Tony flying out to right field.

Here it is. Tony’s appearance is at 19:38.

Tony, this is for you:

Tony Taylor Telstar Hero R.I.P.

Megan Rapinoe Still Talented Enough If Dems Win?

Embittered U.S. Women’s soccer player Megan Rapinoe explained why she had no problem disrespecting the national anthem and her nation.

“Because I’m as talented as I am, I get to be here,” she said. “You don’t get to tell me if I can be here or not.”

You know Megan, if you get your way and the Democrats win in 2020 and they pass that law they are trying to pass letting males claiming to be females have by-right access to women’s athletic competitions, will you still be talented enough to “be here”?

Megan Rapinoe Still Talented Enough If Dems Win?
Megan Rapinoe Still Talented Enough If Dems Win?

Disband Racist Pro Sports Teams

Disband Racist Pro Sports Teams — With the great Kate Smith getting subject to the Memory Hole treatment by the virtue-signaling saboteurs who have weaseled their way into corporate governance, the wise and wonderful citizen activist Mary Ellen Jones is asking why the professional supports teams that banned blacks for decades not being disbanded?

Yeah why? Really?

For the record, we have pretty much personally disbanded them and found life to be much better.

Disband Racist Pro Sports Teams
Don’t worry Kate. Who needs the Flyers?
Disband Racist Pro Sports Teams

Eagles Faith Shines A Light Of Athletic Hope

Eagles Faith Shines A Light Of Athletic Hope

By Carla D’Addesi 

Eagles Faith Shines A Light Of Athletic HopeThe NFL, until recently, was a tax-exempt, non-profit, which had been shrouded in controversy regarding corporate tax breaks and secrecy about its inner financial working. Often regarded as an organization that promotes fame and fortune, while objectifying women, the NFL has been steeped in controversy among those who worship its very existence.

Millionaire NFL players nationwide used their fame to seek self-aggrandizing attention by kneeling, sitting and fist-raising rather than standing and respecting our American flag and National Anthem. Declining ratings and viewership by American citizens boycotting the NFL caused the horizon to appear bleak for the NFL as empty seats and poor merchandise sales reflected the annoyance felt by most NFL fans.

When out of the dark, a beacon of hope emerged in the unlikeliest of teams – The Philadelphia Eagles! “This little light of mine, I’m gonna’ let it shine,”a childhood song learned by millions of American children in religious schools or Sunday school captures the essence of today’s Philadelphia Eagles!

Courageous, proud, and bold, Philadelphia Eagles players have used their fame as a platform to express their very personal and strong faith as Christians in a time when the Main Stream Media and Hollywood elite shun the very mention of Christianity. Who would have thought that their faith would be on public display exemplifying timeless themes of the weak vs. the strong? David vs. Goliath?

Team unity and faith amongst a core group of Philadelphia Eagles players appears to be the motivation that propelled the team to NFL history, as underdogs, capturing a 2018 Super Bowl victory, 41-33 against the New England Patriots!

From Carson Wentz’s vow to play for an “Audience of One” to Marcus Johnson getting baptized in a swimming pool with Eagles’ teammates witnessing his ceremony in a Charlotte, NC hotel, the Eagles are not shy about professing their faith. Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, Stefan Wisniewski, Trey Burton, Jordan Hicks and Nick Foles appeared to be in attendance at the hotel pool baptism and Christian re-birth.

Historically, the Philadelphia Eagles have boldly stood for Christ. In 1977, running back, Herb Lusk, became the first NFL player to kneel in prayer in the endzone following a touchdown. A few years later, Lusk felt a calling to become a pastor on Broad Street in North Philly.

In 1985, notable Philadelphia Eagle, Reggie White, voted by ESPN as the greatest player in Eagles’ franchise history, led Bible studies and Evangelical Christian ministries for the Eagles and the Philadelphia area.

Tim Tebow, 2015, became known for his humility and outspoken faith for the Philadelphia Eagles when he prayed in the endzone wearing John 3:16 under the black marks protecting his eyes.

I had the honor of meeting Tim Tebow’s Mom at the White House at a Pro-Life event in January, 2018. Referring to God’s guidance multiple times, Tim Tebow’s mom was an inspiration to me to continue to nurture my own children in following the narrow and sometimes unpopular path, laden with obstacles and challenges, towards Christ.

The Super Bowl LII MVP, Nick Foles, has recently announced his plans to become a pastor to high school students following his NFL career. “Unbelievable. All glory to God,” Foles said during the Super Bowl trophy presentation and MVP ceremony.

I believe this is NOT happenstance, nor coincidence but instead, divine PROVIDENCE. God’s providence is visible over our lives when we least realize it or least expect it.

Whether a football fan, Eagles fan or simply an observer of the celebrations in Philly this week, it’s hard not to smile in wonder and amazement at the strength of these young men who follow God’s calling rather than seek fame and fortune’s all too frequent rewards of “sex & drugs & rock and roll!”

Thank you for being American heroes. We all respect you. Especially our youth!

Carla D’Addesi is a well-respected author and vlogger who has appeared on Fox & Friends, OANN and CBN. She hosts ‘Your Family Matters’  which runs 7-8 a.m., Fridays  1180WFYL. She can followed on Twitter at @CarlaDaddesi and found on Facebook here.

 

Eagles Faith Shines A Light Of Athletic Hope