This week’s mayoral election revived some memories that took me back to 1979 – five years before Quinton Lucas was born.
Charles Curry. Alex Petrovic. Charlie Wheeler. Three men – county administrative judges – who were instrumental in saving both major league baseball and pro football in Kansas City. The year was 1967. It was the 13th season for the A’s in Kansas City – it would also be their last. The Chiefs had moved from Dallas in 1963, but playing in a retrofitted baseball stadium was not going to work in the long run. These three men held the key.
Part 2 of this trilogy took us through 1968, the election of Tom Eagleton to his first term in the Senate. He quickly became a rising star in the Democratic Party, leading to…
1972 – McGovern and Baseball Commissioner: At the Democratic Convention in July of 1972, George McGovern picked Tom Eagleton to be his running mate. That did not go well, but it produced a couple of baseball stories that Tom liked to tell.
In the last Hot Stove, I began what has turned into a trilogy. The starting point was my first year in politics, 1968, when I met two “Washington Senators” from Missouri, Stuart Symington and Tom Eagleton. At that time, Symington was serving in his third term in the Senate and Eagleton was running for his first. In the last post, you read about Stuart Symington’s aid to the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals. This post (and the next one) will focus on Tom Eagleton’s baseball passion.
[Fifty years ago this month, Tom Eagleton was elected to his first term in the Senate. I have taken that fact and somehow expanded it to a couple of Hot Stove posts – about baseball, not politics. But in the wake of this past week’s elections, I want to pause a moment to thank my friend (and occasional Hot Stove reader) Senator Claire McCaskill for her lifetime of exemplary public service. As you will read below, the Senate seat once held by Harry Truman had a 24-year run with Stuart Symington. Republicans then had a good stretch, but Claire McCaskill took back the seat in 2006. She held it for two terms. Kudos to Claire who never stopped working hard for the people of Missouri. From her first race at age 28 to her concession speech Tuesday night, a class act. Below, Claire with husband Joe (a regular Hot Stove reader) at the 2014 Cardinals home opener.]
This past Wednesday was June 6. Most remember this date as the anniversary of D-Day (1944). It is also the date of my marriage to Rita (1981), and we were set to go out to dinner for our 37th anniversary.
Events have again caused a break in my normal Hot Stove posting. There is a baseball twist, but this post is mostly about how sometimes you just get lucky.
Wild About Harry Dinner: When I got the “save the date” card in the mail, I knew I had to be there. The Truman Library Institute was having its annual “Wild About Harry” dinner on April 20, and the theme was the Truman civil rights legacy. One of the honorees was Congressman John Lewis and the keynote speaker was Calvin Trillin. I had personal reasons to see both of them.
Ken Hill: From Pendergast to Carnahan (Part Three of Three)
I thought that politics might take a sabbatical in 1977 since there were no city, county or state races. But Ken intervened, first with a unique poker party, and then with a new cause.
Ken Hill: From Pendergast to Carnahan (Part Two of Three)
Part One ended with Mike White’s one-vote victory in his county legislative race in 1972. George Lehr was in the middle of his 4-year term as Presiding Judge, and under the new charter, Lehr became the County Executive. When Lehr announced he would run for State Auditor in 1974, the County Executive post was up for grabs.
1974 – Mike White: The field for the County Executive race narrowed to two primary candidates: James P. Aylward, Jr. and Mike White. Both were considered “good government” types and each had run for their first office with CCP support, Jim for county collector in 1970 (succeeding George Lehr) and Mike in 1972 for his county legislative seat. Mike’s one-vote win had given him some notoriety, and the Aylward name was well known in county politics, so much so that I will digress for a moment.
Ken Hill: From Pendergast to Carnahan (Part One of Three)