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Wonderful Terrific Monds III and Moniker Madness

Another guest post on The Blog of Funny Names.

The Blog of Funny Names

Can’t anyone here play this game?”–Casey Stengel

Question:  What do Roughned Odor, Zealous Wheeler, Caleb Bushyhead, Michael Goodnight and Tuffy Gosewisch have in common?

Answer:  They are just five of the 63 also-rans in the 2012 Minor League Baseball Moniker Madness, behind the eventual winner, Rock Shoulders.   Shoulders joined previous winners Seth Schwindenhammer, Rowdy Hardy, Dusty Napoleon, Will Startup and Houston Summers in winning the annual Wonderful Terrific Monds III award for the most awesome name in all of organized minor league baseball.

Wonderful Terrific Monds III??!!  Yes, that’s a real name, of a real baseball player, who spent the years 1993-1999 in the minor leagues, mostly in the Atlanta Braves organization.   It seems his great grandfather had a slew of girls, and when he finally had a son, he thought it was Wonderful and Terrific and named him such.   Like the Outerbridge Horsey legacy, the name has been…

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Cosmic Quote #25

“Being with a woman all night never hurt no professional baseball player.  It’s staying up all night looking for a woman that does him in.”–Casey Stengel

If the ‘ol professor Stengel was right–and who am I to argue with him–one can surmise that Alex Rodriguez and his .132 post season batting average have spent the last three Octobers in the Bronx pulling all-nighters.**  I guess it pays off, as in getting Cameron Diaz to feed you popcorn at the Super Bowl (see video).  On the other hand, Derek Jeter seems to have a much better batting average than his controversial teammate, both with runners in scoring position and with women in scoring position.   He seems to performs well, both on the field and with the ladies, at all times.  Yet according to one article that appeared on the net couple of years ago, he was just 6 for 100 during the previous season.  That is, he has dated 6 of Maxim Magazine’s hottest 100 women in the world.  That’s a batting average most guys would  love to have.  Eat your heart out, A-Rod.  Thanks to my friend Dave Carlson at The Blog of Funny Names for the nifty work of art below.

Jeter meme**I quantify A-Rod’s futility in clutch situations in the next Equations of Everyday life, now in post production.

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Photo Op #4: Take Me Out to the Ball Game

“You don’t realize how easy this game is until you get up in that broadcasting booth.” — Mickey Mantle

A view from above.

A view from above.

Date:   May 4, 2013

Place:  Television Broadcast Booth, Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas.

Occasion:  A visit with longtime Houston Astros TV play-by-play announcer, Bill Brown, on the occasion of the 38th anniversary of Houston Astro Bob Watson scoring Major League Baseball’s 1 millionth run, May 4, 1975.

Explanation:  If you need one, you haven’t been following this blog.   Bill Brown’s memoir, My Baseball Journey, has a chapter on the one millionth run and mentions my roll in its promotion.   Of course, the Astros were playing in the Astrodome in that era, and the millionth run wasn’t even scored there.  They were on the road at the old Candlestick  Park in San Fransisco.   But this is about as close as I will ever come.   Special thanks to Tim Gregg for his role as co-author of the book, and for arranging my visit with Bill.  

Me with Bill Brown.  I'm the funny looking one in the red shirt.

Me with Bill Brown just before game time. I’m the funny looking one in the red shirt.

Enough of this self-serving fluff.  Now on to different self-serving fluff.

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Anniversary rerun: The One Millionth Run

“It’s deja vu all over again.”–Yogi Berra

Today is the 38th anniversary of Bob Watson’s scoring baseball’s 1 millionth run,  May 4, 1975.  I expect to meet Bill Brown, author of one of the books mentioned below, tonight at Minute Maid Park in Houston.  My original blog post on this event below.

“In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.”–Andy Warhol

Bob Watson

The date was May 4th, 1975.  The place was Candlestick Park, San Fransisco.  And the man of the hour was Bob Watson of the Houston Astros,  who scored the 1 millionth run in major league baseball history.  Watson beat Dave Concepcion of the Cincinnati Reds by four seconds in a race around the bases from opposite ends of the country.  It was one of the most exciting early-in-the-season baseball moments ever.

To this day Watson’s name, and to a lesser extent Concepcion’s, is associated with that event in baseball history.  But there was another name in the news that was connected to the story.  He was  a 24-year-old local sportscaster from Westport, CT who used a first generation, eighty dollar electronic calculator to research and originate the millionth run contest, thus scooping all the professional statisticians and baseball journalists.  He went on a media tour to promote a “guess-the-player” contest sponsored by Tootsie Roll.  His picture and name appeared in wire service stories, in Sport Magazine and in the New York Daily News.  He appeared on television and spoke at press conferences alongside the likes of Stan Musial, Ralph Branca, Mel Allen and Bowie Kuhn.  He had 15 minutes of Warholian fame.   Then came oblivion.

The 24-year old whiz kid with the calculator was, of course, me.

I was exhilarated, excited and even euphoric;  then it was over.   And for thirty-something years the memory simply faded, almost to the point that it seemed to have happened to another person in

Millionth run center

The 1,000,000th run countdown center. That’s me talking to the gathered media as Stan Musial naps in the background. Check out my 1975 hair!

another lifetime.  It became just another forgotten footnote in the deep and illustrious history of our national pastime.  After awhile, I didn’t even care, so why should anybody else?

Then something funny happened.  Straight out the blue, nearly four years ago, I received an email from Kansas City Star sportswriter Joe Posnanski.

“Are you the Mark Sackler who originated the millionth run?” he asked.  “I’m writing a book about the 1975 Cincinnati Reds.  I want to include it and the events involving Davey Concepcion as an interesting sidebar to the season’s story.”

The next year, The Machine, Posnanski’s book chronicling a great season by one of the best teams in the game’s history, appeared in bookstores with a chapter on the millionth run.  After 34 years, somebody remembered.   My sister joked that I was getting another 15 minutes of fame.  My retort was that it was more like 30 seconds.

But then it happened again.  A few months ago, a gentleman named Timothy Gregg contacted me on Facebook to make the same inquiry.  Was I the millionth run originator?  Gregg, also a former sportscaster and sports promoter, now a digital media producer, was co-authoring the memoirs of Houston Astros TV commentator Bill Brown.  Of course, there would be a chapter on the millionth run in that book as well.  This time not from the Reds point of view, but the Astros.   This book–My Baseball Journeywas just recently published.  So fifteen minutes of fame is now fifteen minutes and forty-five seconds.   And counting…

If you are a baseball fan, both of these books are worthwhile.  Otherwise, stay tuned for more effluvia from my hopelessly cluttered cranium.

@MarkSackler

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Cosmic Quote #21

“What do I do in the winter when there is no baseball?  I look out the window and wait for spring.”–Rogers Hornsby

I have previously posted this picture.    This is how I feel when spring has finally sprung. (That’s not me in the picture, I have no idea who it is.  My camera timing was just perfect, and more than a bit lucky.)

Pura Vida.  A beach near Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.January, 2008.   Copyright Mark Sackler, 2008.

Pura Vida.  Copyright Mark Sackler, 2008.

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Time In: Play Ball!

“The baseball mania has run its course. It has no future as a professional endeavor.” — Cincinnati Gazette editorial, 1879

“A man once told me to walk with the Lord. I’d rather walk with the bases loaded.” — Ken Singleton

opening-dayAh, Spring!   Instead of spending my leisure hours indoors, drinking beer and watching old movies, I can spend them outdoors, drinking beer and watching baseball.

For years we had a little wooden plaque hanging on our kitchen wall that my wife found at a craft fair,  inscribed with the missive “We interrupt this marriage to bring you the baseball season.”   Today?  It’s not that the more things change the more they stay the same, it’s that some things never change.  At any rate, my wife will be out riding her horse every weekend while the weather is nice, so who’s ignoring whom?  We interrupt this blog to bring you the baseball season…

Hope springs eternal.

Hope springs eternal.

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In Memoriam: Stan the Man

“He could hit .300 with a fountain pen.”–Joe Garagiola on Stan Musial

“You wait for a strike, then you knock the shit out of it.”–Stan Musial on hitting a baseball

Millionth run center

The 1,000,000th run countdown. I talk to the gathered media as Stan Musial naps in the background. Check my 1975 hair!

He was the only baseball hall-of-famer I ever had my picture taken with.  Hell, he was the only hall of fame anything–sports or otherwise–I am likely to ever have my picture taken with.  The fact that he was sitting behind me, bored as hell, as I droned on at a press conference for the 1 millionth run promotion, doesn’t diminish it for me.  I will cherish the image at left as long as I live.   That I was ever that young (it was 1975) or had that much hair is something for science to ponder.

As for Musial, it may be a cliché, but his record speaks for itself.   A record 24-all star appearances (tied with Willie Mays)…a career .331 batting average…top ten ranking all-time in runs scored, RBI’s and Doubles (one more double than Ty Cobb)…the list goes on an on.  He spent his entire post-playing career as an executive for St. Louis Cardinals.  But perhaps he will be most remembered by those who knew him, before and after his playing days, as one of the finest gentlemen in the sports world.  I can attest to that, having spent two days in the SF Bay area with him during the 1974 World Series.

Mercurial PR man Ted Worner, with whose agency I promoted the millionth run contest, said of Musial, “if he hadn’t been a  baseball player, he’d be pumping gas.”   But he was a ballplayer, and that’s all that matters.  He died yesterday at age 92.  R.I.P., Stan.

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My guest post on The Blog of Funny Names

The Blog of Funny Names

(Dave’s Note: With today’s post, we welcome the consistently remarkable Mark Sackler of Millennium Conjectures to our list of Funny Names Blog columnists. Join us in giving a warm welcome to Mark!)

Klutz–noun, Slang. 1. a clumsy, awkward person.  2. a stupid or foolish person; blockhead.

Origin:
1965–70,  Americanism; < Yiddish klots  literally, wooden beam < Middle High German kloc  ( German Klotz )

Wow.  Can you imagine a more unfortunate name for a professional athlete?  There may be many that come close, and I will cite a couple at the end of this post.

Clyde Franklin Kluttz (1917-1979) was a journeyman major league catcher for the Boston Braves, New York Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Browns and Washington Senators.  His  career was so undistinguished that  four of the six teams he played for no longer even exist in their original cities.  In nine major league…

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https://millenniumconjectures.com/2013/01/15/1745/

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Introducing: The BLAHS

“What’s with all these awards?  They’re always giving out awards”–Woody Allen as Alvie Singer in “Annie Hall”

Golden Raspberry

The Golden Raspberry Award. Given annually to the worst films, it’s the only Hollywood award I have any respect for. This is probably because my sister Micki has been a presenter at many of their ceremonies.

Woody Allen is famous for his disdain for entertainment industry awards.  But there is, I have discovered, one media cohort that gives out even more awards than Hollywood.  You’re in it right now.  It’s the blogosphere. It seems that every third blog I visit claims to have won a blogging award.  How can this be?  It’s because just about every third blogger gives out awards.  Hell, I’ve even won one already!  And unlike Groucho Marx, I have no problem belonging to a club that has me as a member.  So without further ado, here come the BLAHS.

The BLAHS (BLog Awards Handed out by Sackler)

There are three significant things you should know about the BLAHS.  (That is, if you are interested, which is a dubious assumption on my part).

First, the term “BLAHS,” itself, is in an appropriate-for-this-blog state of superposition.  It is simultaneously singular and plural.

Second, the awards will be quasi-semi-maybe annual.  This means I will give them out whenever I damn well feel like it for whatever I feel like and too whomever I feel like.

Third, I am still working on an actual physical prize.  Trophies are nearly worthless.  I would much prefer to give out something completely worthless.  Like a years’ supply of rutabaga.  And since I don’t know anybody who actually uses rutabaga–or eats it–the  prize would be….nothing!  OK, you say you can think of uses for a rutabaga?  A doorstop? A very small lopsided bowling ball?  A shot put for a 98-pound weakling?  If you can think up 20 more uses then you have less of a life than I do and still won’t win anything.

And now–may we have the envelope and a piccolo trill, please–the winner of the first BLAHS is:

Dave Carlson of The Blog of Funny Names

Ossee SchreckengostBenedict CumberbatchOuterbridge Horsey…if you haven’t heard of these names, well, you have now!  And if you had been following The Blog of Funny Names since it’s debut last December, you would not have needed me to clue you in.  Every weekday Dave and his co-authors present another great name from history, entertainment or current events.  Special features include a weekly Funny Names in the News column.  Oh and of course, they also give out blog awards; they gave me mine.  Here is what they said about me:

Mark Sackler of Millenium Conjectures wins the Rube Waddell Ridiculousness Award. He’s a newer fan of ours who has already earned some notice. He’s an avid baseball fan and a kindred spirit who formerly kept a funny named baseball players list, and prides his blog on the “ridiculous and sublime” – also a good descriptor for Rube Waddell.

Great demented minds are equally demented.  But besides the obvious quid pro quo, there is another great reason I selected Funny Names for the first BLAHS.  It’s my favorite blog–other than my own, of course.

Endnote: if you have any suggestions for a suitable prize for the BLAHS, or a logo for that matter,  please send them to me, or post them herein.

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Timeout: 15 Minutes and 45 Seconds of Fame

“In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.”–Andy Warhol

Bob Watson

The date was May 4th, 1975.  The place was Candlestick Park, San Fransisco.  And the man of the hour was Bob Watson of the Houston Astros,  who scored the 1 millionth run in major league baseball history.  Watson beat Dave Concepcion of the Cincinnati Reds by four seconds in a race around the bases from opposite ends of the country.  It was one of the most exciting early-in-the-season baseball moments ever.

To this day Watson’s name, and to a lesser extent Concepcion’s, is associated with that event in baseball history.  But there was another name in the news that was connected to the story.  He was  a 24-year-old local sportscaster from Westport, CT who used a first generation, eighty dollar electronic calculator to research and originate the millionth run contest, thus scooping all the professional statisticians and baseball journalists.  He went on a media tour to promote a “guess-the-player” contest sponsored by Tootsie Roll.  His picture and name appeared in wire service stories, in Sport Magazine and in the New York Daily News.  He appeared on television and spoke at press conferences alongside the likes of Stan Musial, Ralph Branca, Mel Allen and Bowie Kuhn.  He had 15 minutes of Warholian fame.   Then came oblivion.

The 24-year old whiz kid with the calculator was, of course, me.

I was exhilarated, excited and even euphoric;  then it was over.   And for thirty-something years the memory simply faded, almost to the point that it seemed to have happened to another person in

Millionth run center

The 1,000,000th run countdown center. That’s me talking to the gathered media as Stan Musial naps in the background. Check out my 1975 hair!

another lifetime.  It became just another forgotten footnote in the deep and illustrious history of our national pastime.  After awhile, I didn’t even care, so why should anybody else?

Then something funny happened.  Straight out the blue, nearly four years ago, I received an email from Kansas City Star sportswriter Joe Posnanski.

“Are you the Mark Sackler who originated the millionth run?” he asked.  “I’m writing a book about the 1975 Cincinnati Reds.  I want to include it and the events involving Davey Concepcion as an interesting sidebar to the season’s story.”

The next year, The Machine, Posnanski’s book chronicling a great season by one of the best teams in the game’s history, appeared in bookstores with a chapter on the millionth run.  After 34 years, somebody remembered.   My sister joked that I was getting another 15 minutes of fame.  My retort was that it was more like 30 seconds.

But then it happened again.  A few months ago, a gentleman named Timothy Gregg contacted me on Facebook to make the same inquiry.  Was I the millionth run originator?  Gregg, also a former sportscaster and sports promoter, now a digital media producer, was co-authoring the memoirs of Houston Astros TV commentator Bill Brown.  Of course, there would be a chapter on the millionth run in that book as well.  This time not from the Reds point of view, but the Astros.   This book–My Baseball Journeywas just recently published.  So fifteen minutes of fame is now fifteen minutes and forty-five seconds.   And counting…

If you are a baseball fan, both of these books are worthwhile.  Otherwise, stay tuned for more effluvia from my hopelessly cluttered cranium.

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