Hot Stove #115 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day (2020) – Baseball in Birmingham (1964)

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Remember the Kansas City A’s? Charlie Finley? Campy Campaneris? Blue Moon Odom? Paul Lindblad? George Wallace? Bull Connor? Bear Bryant? They are in the cast of characters who inhabit my 19th annual message for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I hope you have the opportunity to read this (somewhat long) story as we get ready to celebrate the holiday.

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Hot Stove #113 – Mustaches Rule (From John Sherman to Marvin Miller to Little Richard to the Sundance Kid)

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Fifty years ago, as 1969 was winding down, Paul Newman and Robert Redford were in the theaters as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Yes, that was fifty years ago. The Oscar for the best song that year came from the movie (played while Paul Newman showed off his bicycling skills). More on this in Lonnie’s Jukebox at the end of this post.

But first, some baseball news…

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Hot Stove #112 – The Two Yankee Georges (Costanza and Steinbrenner) and Lonnie’s Jukebox (The Organ Chronicles)

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Fifty years ago, a tune with some catchy lyrics hit the pop charts. For two weeks in December of 1969, it was the #1 record in the country. It was performed by a group of session musicians who were given the fictional band name Steam.

Eight years later (that would be 1977), the Royals and White Sox were playing at Comiskey Park before a large crowd – the teams were in a tight race for the division title. At an opportune moment in the game, the Comiskey Park organist played that 1969 #1 song by Steam. The enthusiastic crowd joined in with the catchy lyrics. After that festive night at Comiskey, (i) the Royals went on the win the division (and lose, again, to the Yankees in the ALCS), and (ii) the song became (and remains) a staple at sporting events around the country. See Lonnie’s Jukebox at the end of this post for the rest of the story.

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Hot Stove #110 – Washington, D.C., World Series – Presidential First Pitches

As we await Game 3 tonight at Nationals Stadium…

Wow. What a start. The underdog Nationals have won the first two games of the World Series. So far, playing in the friendly confines of Minute Maid Park (f/k/a Enron Field) has not worked out for the Astros.

Not a good sign for Houston. The last 18 times a team has won the first two games, it has gone on to win the Series 17 times.

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