October 14, 1908: Cubs Win the World Series



Theodore Roosevelt was President of the United States when the Cubs last won the World Series on October 14, 1908, defeating the Detroit Tigers 2-0.  Just barely within human memory, about one hundred Americans are still alive now who were alive then.  It was the second World Series win for the Cubs, their first being the year before in 1907.  Why the Cubs have had this championship drought, other than bad ball playing, has been a matter of much speculation.  The most popular explanation is the Curse of the Billy Goat.

In 1945 Billy Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, was attending game four of the World Series being held in Wrigley Field, once again the Chicago Cubs facing the Detroit Tigers.  This being Chicago where odd characters are as common as blustery politicians, he brought his pet goat Murphy with him to the game.  Other patrons complained that the goat stank.  Sianis was thrown out.  As he was leaving Sianis was heard to say,“Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more!”.

When the Cubs lost the series, Sianis sent a telegram to P.K. Wrigley, the owner of the Cubs:  “Who stinks now?Continue reading

Take Me Out to the Ball Game


Something for the weekend.  Take Me Out to the Ballgame.  My secretary’s two young sons have donned their uniforms and begun participating in their baseball league and that caused me to think of what used to be called our National Pass-time.  I have never been a fan of any sports, but my sainted father was, especially baseball.  I can still see him in his easy chair watching one game on TV and listening to another on a transistor radio plugged into his ear.  He was a Cardinal’s fan, which made sense.  His father had given him the middle name Dean after the immortal Cardinal pitcher Jay Hanna “Dizzy” Dean.

The anthem of baseball, Take Me Out to the Ballgame, was written in 1908 by two Tin Pan Alley composers:  Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer.  Ironically, neither of these worthies had attended a ball game prior to composing the song which became such a part of the game.  The video at the beginning of the post is the original 1908 recording.  Below is one of my favorite renditions: Continue reading

The Babe and the Brother

“It was at St. Marys that I met and learned to love the greatest man I’ve ever known. He was the father I needed. He taught me to read and write, and the difference between right and wrong.”

Babe Ruth

George Herman “Babe” Ruth, Jr. hit his first major league home run one hundred and one years ago.  He would go on to hit 713 more over his career.  Playing for the Boston Red Sox in 1915, he was 20 years old.  He might well at that time have been in a penitentiary but for a life altering event.  Regarded as incorrigible at the age of seven, his parents sent him to The Saint Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, a combination orphanage, reformatory and school.  There Ruth came under the tutelage of the most significant man in his life, Brother Matthias Boutlier, the Prefect of Discipline in the school.  A large man who brooked no nonsense from his charges, Brother Mathias was also a kind man.  He channeled the raw, animal energy of Ruth into baseball.  Ruth said he fell in love with the game instantly after seeing Brother Matthias smack a home run.  Throughout his life Ruth spoke of Brother Mathias in terms of veneration and gratitude.

Brother Mathias taught Ruth more important lessons than just baseball.  The Catholicism he was taught at the school, for all his well publicized sins, stayed with him throughout his life.  Both privately and through the Knights of Columbus he was engaged in countless charitable activities.  He lavished money on Saint Mary’s Industrial School for Boys after he became rich through baseball, including buying Brother Mathias two Cadillacs, the second one after the first one was wrecked.  When he wasn’t playing ball or drinking in night clubs, he could usually be found visiting kids in hospitals and orphanages, children having a firm grasp on Ruth’s heart.  When he died at age 53 of cancer in 1948 thousands of kids stood vigil around his hospital.  His funeral mass was held at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, with a crowd of 75,000 gathered outside the filled to capacity mass.  Continue reading

Various & Sundry, 8/28/13

Obama’s Half-Measures with Syria

I disagree with Abrams that we should intervene, but he’s right about Obama’s approach. Why are a hundred thousand killed by conventional means not a cause for action, but several hundred killed from chemical weapons means action NOW?

What I Meant to Say

Okay, we’re probably beating a dead horse, but this is a pretty funny satire of Jody Bottum.

Now, on to my non-arguments. I begin with a Bald Assertion: Although all of Western law, foundational decisions of the Supreme Court such as its original polygamy decision, and powerful dissents by Scalia, Thomas, and Alito, are all against court-imposed same-sex marriage—and although I am not a constitutional jurist myself, and haven’t even read those dissenting opinions, or any of the legal briefs—still, I say that THE EQUITIES ARE ALL ON THE SIDE OF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE. NO ONE HAS EVER GIVEN A SINGLE COHERENT JURISPRUDENTIAL ARGUMENT AGAINST IT. NO PRINCIPLED LEGAL VIEW CAN RESIST IT.  And if you continue to doubt this, then, superb writer that I am, I will be able to find even other ways of stating the same un-nuanced point, until you finally acquiesce in it.

It’s very important for my purposes that you accept this point, because, you see, as a writer, my goal at the start is to play on the ignorance of my young readers especially and make them feel embarrassed for believing in marriage as solely between a man and a woman.  Ultimately I wish to undermine that conviction, or at least to lead them to accept the courts’ and my distinction between “marriage” and “civil marriage.”  And so, I want them to feel—maybe for the first time—that they are being grossly inequitable, unfair, unprincipled, fundamentally illegal, and basically un-American if they oppose same-sex marriage.

It’s a bold gambit, to be sure, yet it’s very likely to succeed, because after all a young Catholic without much experience of the world—or any poorly catechized layperson, for that matter—will feel that if a former editor of First Things can say these things so boldly, or if they are printed without correction in Commonweal, then they have to be true.  Why would a responsible writer say these things unless they were true?

Whither First Things?

A symposium on its future. Maybe it should hire Bottum back, you know, just for fun.

Today’s Adventure in Petty Attack Ads

I have no love lost for Chris Christie, but this is an especially petty beef. Christie stars in an ad saying that Jersey is recovering from Hurricane Sandy, so come on down, and his opponent runs an ad criticizing him for making it sound like the state is fully recovered. Christie is one hundred percent on the money with his response.

When a reporter asked about critics of the “Stronger Than The Storm” tourism ads, Christie shot back, “What would they have us do: go into the fetal position? I’ve never said everything’s all right.”

Christie should realize that carping about the fallout from a hurricane is much preferred nowadays to moving on and recovering.

Some of You Are Clearly Drinking Whiskey Wrong

$20 whiskey mixed with soda should be an offense punishable by death, or at least banishment.

Moving Past Errors and Pitcher Wins

Great stuff from Joe Posnanski on the silliness of relying on either state to measure player and pitcher performance. While you’re there, also check out his post on the Cleveland Browns.

The Tragedy of Derek Jeter’s Defense

Two baseball posts today as I couldn’t pass up this fantastic feature in Grantland.

If Michael Bay Directed Heartwarming Documentaries

It would definitely be something a lot like this.

MLB Preview: AL East

The smell of freshly cut grass.  The thermometer registering above 50.  Birds chirping to signal the dawn of each new day.  Yes, if you live in the southern states, some of you might actually be enjoying these signs of Spring.  As for me, it’s perpetual rain and moderately cool  temperatures, which means that Spring is just around the corner in DC.  And those are the two best weeks of the year by far.

It also means it’s baseball time.  Yes, our long national nightmare – meaning the seven weeks between the Super Bowl and opening day for Major League Baseball – is almost over.  We can stop having to pretend to care about basketball and hockey and get back to some real sports.

So with baseball mercifully just around the corner, it’s time to look ahead to the upcoming season.  And I will begin with the best division in baseball, the American League East, or as it is otherwise know, “Four awesome teams and the Baltimore Orioles.” Continue reading

Follow Me, Top Baseball Prospect Leaves For Higher League

Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men. (cf. Holy Gospel of Saint Mark 1:17)

Grant Desme, a highly touted baseball prospect for the Oakland Athletics organization, decided that he could not fight his calling anymore and answered God by retiring from baseball and to begin seminary training immediately.

A terrific article by Jane Lee of

My emphases and comments:

“Last year before the season started, I really had a strong feeling of a calling and a real strong desire to follow it,” the 23-year-old said. “I just fought it.”

“As the year went on,” he said, “God blessed me. I had a better year than I could have imagined, but that reconfirmed my desire because I wasn’t at peace with where I was at. I love the game, but I aspire to higher things.

“I thought, I’m doing well in baseball, but I really had to get down to the bottom of things — what was good in my life, what I wanted to do with my life. And I felt that while baseball is a good thing and I love playing, I thought it was selfish of me to be doing that when I really felt that God was calling me more [Sounds like the Church has gained a mature and strong man for God!], which took me awhile in my life to really trust and open up to it and aim full steam toward Him .”

Continue reading

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