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Indulging in Reverie: Intangibles

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  • JR Hart
    Great stuff Great Stuff (applause)

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  • leewileyfan
    started a topic Indulging in Reverie: Intangibles

    Indulging in Reverie: Intangibles

    This is a bit of self-indulgence, harking back to Yankee Stadium, circa 1941. I was a kid; and I can still remember the sights, the smells, the senations walking up the ramp and glimpsing the jewel-like lawn of the infield with the exquisitely carved Georgia clay cut outs for the mound and the basepaths, the pure white sacks and the geometrically tidy baselines, circles, and boxes. Cigars, beer, hot dogs ... heaven.

    I had my scorecard and "Who's Who in Baseball;" and I was right there watching real-life stars taking infield practice. Had Ted Williams not already been my selected, indelible "idol," I might never have become a Red Sox fan ... because SOMETHING drew me to the Washington Senators I saw whipping the ball around the infield. Like most little kids, I was drawn to certain players/teams by some first impression "instinct" that, looking back, either sensibly, mathematically, knowingly or just plain years of exposure [that "instinct"] might be hard to explain. At least for some players more than others.

    One Senator caught my eye by his name, on the scorecard ... and his name and picture in "Who's Who." James Henry Blooworth, Junior, 2B. I loved the look and sound of that name. I scrutinized that photo. Some kind of far seeing intensity struck me. He and Cecil Travis were whipping the ball around like acrobats. "Who's Who" identified Bloodworth as "one of the premiere keystone sackers in the game." Mr, Bloodworth had a new fan. Cecil Travis won me over at batting practice and during the game. Cecil looked like a good-guy,too. So they both had a new fan.

    Travis' story is known to most fans of the game's history; but Jimmy Bloodworth is a bit less so.

    From time to time, as I grew up, being a staunch Bosox fan, I lost sight of Jimmy for a time. He was never a star; and WW II took him out of the game for two seasons. [Travis, more like 4+]. Jimmy was always a streak hitter, who, by season's end, was invariably right around .250. The post War return had Jimmy back in the minor leagues in 1948, now the property of the Brooklyn Dodgers, assigned to Montreal of the International League. I kind of heaved a sigh at his departure; but I perked up a bit when I heard he was doing well at Montreal.

    He did so well at Montreal that he was the International League's MVP that year. [Way to go, Jimmy. I felt a little like the Jimmy Stewart character in "It's a Wonderful Life," hearing from his daughter Zu-Zu that the ringing bell on their Christmas tree meant another angel [Clarence] just got his "wings."].

    Next season, Jimmy was back at 2b, now with the Cincinnati Reds, winning the Comeback Player Award. "Red" Barber, calling a Dodger-Reds game on radio, waxed praisfully on Jimmy [whom Barber referred to as "Jimmie Bludwuth"] and how Reds' owner Warren Giles had told him "I've wanted that guy in our organization for years." Barber then alluded to how critical "Mr. Bludwuth" had been in the Montreal team's success.

    Next season, as I learned later, Jimmy, slowed some by arthritis in the legs, was a utility player for the Phillies. At 33, Jimmy was a Whiz Kid, making a World Series, his only one, and only appearing as a defensive replacement in the final game.

    He passed away a few years ago at age 85. I was just thinking about "intangibles" and reminiscing about life and baseball, kind of randomly. Sometimes there are players who don't fare so well sabermetrically or monetarily or with uninterrupted and very long careers; BUT some have that intangible quality that still makes them sought after as "valuable."

    What prompted me to self-indulge like this was a quote from Robin Roberts recalling the whole "Whiz Kid" experience. Wrote Roberts: [paraphrasing]: Without the contributions we had from guys like Jimmy Bloodworth and Putsy Caballero, we never would have won that pennant.
    Last edited by leewileyfan; 09-23-2012, 09:38 AM.

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