I Try Not To Kid Myself by Jim Williams

While everyone is aware that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947, few realize that Whitman Sampler temporarily broke the sport's hobo barrier. His poor play, however, is the reason that, to this day, no other hobo has been accepted at the major league level.

The sport which Americans call "baseball" is known to most Europeans as "soccer".

Jim's link of the week: The Curious Case of Sidd Finch - He's a pitcher, part yogi and part recluse. Impressively liberated from our opulent life-style, Sidd's deciding about yoga -- and his future in baseball.

Dave Nilsson's 1992 Donruss baseball cards are considered legal tender in Australia.

Nolan Ryan was once placed on the disabled list after being bit by a lycanthrope.

The Seattle Mariners used the slogan "Sodo Mojo" until it was discovered that it means "it doesn't go" in Spanish.

Seattle's two-word slogan was the shortest ever. The longest? From 1978-1982, Cincinnati used the slogan "Baby, You And Me Were Never Meant To Be. So Maybe Think Of Me Once In A While."

80% of all paper money in the US contains traces of a Yankee's fingerprints.

"Complete Your 1993 Kenner Starting Lineup Action Figures Collection Day" is celebrated every August 7th in New Zealand and has been since 1999.

All baseball fans know that Fidel Castro once tried out for the Pirates, but few are aware that Che Guevara made the Cub's opening day roster in 1950 before falling ill with dysentery and failing in two subsequent comeback attempts.

Jim's quote of the week: "Half the lies they tell about me aren't true." -- Yogi Berra

Jim's topic for discussion: Is Yogi Berra really dumb or really brilliant?

Charlie Gehringer died on January 21, 1993 in Bloomfield Hills, MI.

"I try not to kid myself. You know, I don't mind romancing someone else, but to fool yourself is pretty devastating and dangerous."

--Bill Veeck


tomhamilton : March 31, 2007 10:49 AM

I used to collect Starting Lineups when I was younger. I probably have about 100 of them. You can't even give them away now so they are all in storage until I have kids. One day we'll open them up, which is a cardinal sin for any collector. So far, the only ones that I have opened are Julio Franco figures and that is because I had more than one. I'm a loser.


Ford Fricks Asterisk : March 31, 2007 01:23 PM

I was at The Jake the night they celebrated the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's MLB debut. Hard to believe that's now been ten years ago. Otherwise, I don't really have anything to add, except that I enjoyed the column... and to confirm that, yes, Tom is a loser.

Did they ever drop free turkeys over Riverfront?

Ford Fricks Asterisk : March 31, 2007 02:07 PM

Upon further thought... does this mean that Paul Assenmacher, in fact, was not a hobo?

That's actually what I liked about him. Here was this guy who made several million dollars over a career that required him to work five minutes every couple of summer nights. He performed his job in front of thousands of live spectators and countless thousands of others watching on television. Yet he had no concerns about looking like a homeless person. He was one powder pancake away from looking just like that clown hobo on my aunt's mantle.

upthesecularhumanists : April 1, 2007 09:49 AM

I loved the Dave Nilsson tidbit.

About Yogi, I'm convinced that he's a brilliant wordsmith and a very intelligent guy. One of the last Yankees that I have been a fan of.


Swampudlian : April 2, 2007 07:52 AM

My favorite Yogi-ism (off the top of my head, so I may have a word or two incorrect): "You have to go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't show up to yours."

My theory on Yogi is that he isn't nearly as dumb as he comes off, he just has a hard time expressing himself in proper English. He's not some brilliant mind, exactly, but he's probably above-average in every way except the language.

The official marketing slogan of the Tigers (has been for probably about 3 years now) is "Who's Your Tiger?" Blecch.

I always heard the rumor that Chevy had a hard time selling the Nova in Latin America until they figured out that "no va" means "no go" in Spanish...

save me from the clowns : April 2, 2007 10:42 AM

I think Yogi's pretty smart and enjoys playing dumb in a self depreciating way just to get people's reactions.

I must be a loser too. I collected SLU's and still have them, unopened. I also have thousands of baseball cards in my attic just waiting for a rainy day.

I'm too young to remember the sports world's reaction to Sidd Finch. Did everyone know it was a joke from the beginning or was there a "War of the Worlds" type fallout?


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