Memorial Day and other memories


Dan P’s on the road today with his wife and youngest son in Fredericksburg. A bit of irony being here at the start of the Memorial Day weekend as Fredericksburg is the home to the very fine Nimitz Museum of the War in the Pacific. Admiral Nimitz was from here and was Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet during WWII.

This museum and what it documents means a lot to me as my great uncle Leroy Klug died as the rear gunner/navigator in an Avenger torpedo bomber in the Pacific. A friend saw the plane go down and neither Leroy nor his pilot was ever found. Back in Milwaukee, my grandmother, Evelyn saw her brother’s picture fall off the wall the day he died. My middle name is Lee, named after Leroy and I carry it proudly.

It is hard to fathom a 20-year-old dying and sacrificing 50 or 60 years of life, marriage, children, grandchildren and career so that someone like me can have a quiet safe breakfast at the Sunset Grill on a late May morning in the Texas Hill Country.

A quick internet search says more than 500 major leaguers served in WWII, including superstars, stars, grunts and men who only had a cup of coffee in the majors. Two of the latter, Harry O’Neill and Elmer Gedeon died in that conflict. Whether they would ever have gotten a second cup of coffee or a full career the world will never know.

Gedeon had survived a training plane crash where he suffered terrible injuries saving a crew member’s life. He lost his life in a bomber raid on the V-1 rocket sites in France. O’Neill was killed by a bullet out of nowhere as he was standing in a crater on Iwo Jima.

The word hero is thrown around in sports, but these were true sports heroes.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend and take a few moments to honor those who gave the ultimate gift to their nation.

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148 comments on “Memorial Day and other memories

  1. I think it’s obvious who the heart and soul of this team is. It’s George Springer. They really look lifeless out there tonight. Opportunities missed. I posted this on previous page but still wanted to get it on this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I always think about Ted Williams who lost about 5 yrs between WWII and Korea and flew many missions.
    Or on the celebrity side – Jimmy Stewart who ended up a brigadier general in the Air Force reserves

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  3. I just told my husband you can REALLY tell who the spark plugs are on this team, Springer and Altuve. I’m starting to really worry about Altuve…….dang it.
    My grandmother sent 6 sons to World War 11….they all came back! My oldest brother went into the Navy before Viet Nam, same with my husband who was in the Air Force. And our oldest son retired as a Navy Commander in 2017.I was just a 20yr old kid when I started flying for Delta in 1969….but I got a hard lesson FAST when I saw all the caskets being loaded on our flights., and having young boys with the WORST inguries you could imagine. HORRIBLE time.
    I suggest if you can, go to see the Pearl Harbor Memorial. I have been several times, and took our youngest son there for his 16th birthday. War is hell…..and every single time I see a Vet….I stop and give them a hug for keeping me safe and allowing me to live in the most wonderful country on the earth.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. On of the WWII vets was Hank Bauer. A survivor of the Pacific Wars. Read a story once that he learned in the Marines how to talk to a superior officer and he used it when he managed in the majors. When an umpire made a bad call, he would rush out and ASK, “Do you want the fans to think you are a %^$$$#(*&?” Normally the stunned umpire would say nothing. And he would quickly add, “Then quit making those dumb calls.” And walk back to the dugout.

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  5. Dan, my step father Charlie Nance fought as a marine in the Pacific. He was at Iwa Jemo (so) and Nimitz was a hero to him. Charlie died eight years ago.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for sharing about your father, Larry. Iwo Jima had to be a life changing experience and I’m guessing it is something he did not like to talk about.

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  6. In the Minors they start with a runner at second base in extra innings. It’s the guy who made the last out in the previous inning.
    Last night, in the 1th inning for Corpus Christi, that runner put at 2nd base was Seth Beer. Then, Corpus Christi put in a pinch runner for Beer and he was Catcher Lorenzo Quintana, which tells you all you want to know about the speed of Seth Beer.

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  7. I’ve heard some stories about Whitley, clearly, totally unsubstantiated though. But it will be interesting to see how he handles this first real dose of adversity and failure.

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    • Things you think about later – I never asked my grandma when they found out about this – how many days later they were visited by the War Department.

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  8. Yogi Berra was in D-Day at Omaha Beach and later at Utah Beach, firing at the enemy on land and getting fired on. How did he sum it up? “It was like the 4th of July.”

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  9. Not to be political, but WWII was the last war we “won.” (Unless you want to count Granada). The opinion/politics/politicians in this country have changed. All those guys back then, signed up to go to Berlin, or Tokyo and win the war. They knew they might pay the ultimate price.

    As a veteran of Vietnam, that “win” was to stay alive for one year and come home. Today, the soldiers have multiple deployments with the knowledge of NEVER winning. That alone is crazy making.

    My analogy is that it is like being told to go to the track and run around until we tell you when the race is over.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Have to respond to your comment about today’s soldiers. Tom Brokaw dubbed WWII soldiers “the greatest generation,” which I always thought was facile. In addition to what you said, our soldiers come home with wounds never seen before, and many are expected to rebuild cities and be local diplomats as well. I admire all who ever served our country, but the current generation has the highest suicide rate ever recorded. I’ll back off now. Just looking to the day when we don’t study war no more.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Just to add to Diane, it is always a complex issue and I don’t want to gloss over it. But the MLB players mentioned obviously saw it as a “temp” job and they were baseball players. And even General Jimmy Stewart was making movies and in the Reserves when promoted. Today’s soldier has a thankless job with no end in sight.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I guess on the plus side – veterans of the latest conflicts are not facing what the Vietnam vets faced as far as name calling and negativism and apathy.
    But it is like has been said – difficult to fight with unclear purpose.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. DANG IT SPRINGER!!!…All I can say is Wade Miley was AWESOME….and WHERE would we be without Marisnick?!!! Game is on regular Fox tomorrow.

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  13. It looks like we’re losing George for an extended period of time. Well, if we had to lose him, it’s really the best time, if there is such a thing. It’s a long season. We’ve got a good head start. Much better that this happen now than in September. And if it becomes clear the offense needs a boost, we’ve got a guy waiting in the wings who might be able to help. In the meantime, the best defensive outfielder on the planet will be patrolling center with excelllent options in left and right. Things could be much worse. So do we go with Tony and Diaz for now or bring up more help?

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  14. Pretty amazing that through almost two months of the season, Pressly and Osuna had given up 1 run total and then in one game gave up one run each.

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    • I was debating with my brother earlier this morning who might be coming up. I thought the odds were in favor of Tucker. He thought Alvarez based on needing to give him a new challenge at the plate, one he obviously does not have right now. And then brother reported back that it was “bleeping Fisher” who was on his way. I don’t don’t how to rationalize that. It’s too bad our GM does not explain this stuff to us. Are they shopping him? As the old guy now, is he getting one more shot? Excellent numbers at RR, but I just envision the same thing all over again, a whole lot of whiffs once back in town.

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  15. A few years back when there was talk of trading Springer, I said he was worth more on the bench than most on the field. Putting on stiff upper lip, will say it again. But I just wish this team could be tested with all components healthy, and have prayed to that effect. Still, we need a frontline pitcher. Mr. Nolan Ryan, granddad, can you get loose?

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    • I know that the Front Office owes us no explanation – but as a fan I call BS – we pay the bill – tell us what you are thinking at this point.
      Is there any chance Fisher will be any more than he’s been?
      You’ve already brought Tucker up – no concern there – he’s hot right now – why not a shot
      You have an open spot on the 40 man – Yordan Alvarez is the hottest hitter in the minors – why not him?

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  16. Diane, this club will remain a work in progress, hopefully all the way until the time comes to turn in a World Series roster! We’ll see plenty of adjustments from within, probably a waiver and/or a trade or two and I think almost certainly an acquisition of that front line pitcher you are looking for.

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    • Thanks, daveb7. This world has worries, so I realize this is minor league. In a way though, this was given as a temporary release, and so I can’t help but want the best for the ‘Stros. It hurts to see George go down, not to mention how much it hurt him. Plus Altuve. Still, it’s a game.

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  17. Fisher’s inability to handle CF or RF, his weak arm and strikeout potential against the two lefties the Red Sox are starting against us make him the right choice to bring up.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Here’s why I think Fisher was the chosen call- up:

    1. He won’t play much – The plan has to be to go with a Reddick, Jake, Brantley OF. Fisher will probably not see much time on the field. Tucker/ Alvarez are not going to have their season interrupted to come up and sit.

    2. He won’t be up long. When Altuve is back he will go back down. Diaz will revert to super utility and Kemp to 4th OF. Tucker/ Alvarez are not going to have their season interrupted to come up and sit.

    3. Super 2 cut- off. I just don’t think we see Alvarez until after super 2 cut off (134 days active in the current season). Same with Tucker. Although he has already been up he did not get the 172 days service time to qualify for a year. His service clock still sits a zero – exact same as Alvarez. The only thing he has is one less option due to last year’s call- up. They are not going to risk losing one year of pre- arb control for a few additional days on the active roster when they have a huge lead in the division and Altuve coming back soon.

    Liked by 3 people

    • vewill1, solid, factual rationale. So I agree that Alvarez and Tucker don’t make great sense. But then I wonder why not Straw? Better at extending an at bat, significantly better defensively, and probably quicker of foot too, by a smidgen anyway. Plus we already have two lefty bats in the outfield and Kemp as a lefty back up in the outfield.

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      • Thank you DB7. When Tucker or Alvarez come up I think the plan will be for it to be permanent. Unfortunately, that will very likely spell the end for Tyler. I had really hoped that he would take the opportunity afforded by injuries to show what he can do. Unfortunately he has not. His lack of athleticism at the higher weight has killed his defense and altered his stroke to the point where he has to cheat so much (open early) to have any chance of catching up with the fastball that he can’t cover breaking stuff (and vice versa). If he had put in the offseason work and came to camp in shape we would not be having this conversation.

        However, I sure do hope that he goes out tonight and makes me eat every word I just typed!

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  19. I know Hinch likes to rotate players and I know that Kemp needs to get some ABs, but I don’t understand sitting the hot RH hitting, defensive machine that destroyed a similar LH pitcher last night so you can go to an all lefty outfield against possibly your biggest rival. His bat is on fire, his defense can change games and he hasn’t played enough to need the rest. Kemp can get his ABs against the next righty.

    Full disclosure: I NEVER thought I would say any of the stuff above when the name Jake was involved.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. White had pretty much complete control of his own destiny. He finally got the chance to play on a regular basis. So he sat around all winter and got further out of shape. I shake my head every time I see him on the field Vewill. We’re going to need someone to step up and get two or three timely hits tonight. I would have liked Straw in center tonight considering all of the other options with Jake getting a day off.

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  21. Stassi just left the game with what looked like a knee ingury. Neither one of these two teams looks like they are into playing baseball tonight. We will probably see Stubbs up tomorrow or Monday. I always listen to the radio when the Astros are on television….and I’m getting a real treat! Bill Brown is in with Robert Ford because Sparks has a kid graduating from college tonight! You don’t realize how much you miss a guy like that until you get to enjoy hearing him call a game!
    Someone is going to have to blink here folks….it’s o-0 bottom of the 6th.
    FINALLY WE SCORE A RUN!!!

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    • Osuna blows his first save as an Astro but strands a runner on third with no out.
      Diaz with a huge double to lead off the ninth and Correa with his third hit a walk off single to make us all happy.

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  22. Tough battle of two World Champions. Sox lose Price after an out. Their pen keeps them in the game. Makeshift line up by the Astros. Stassi is out now. Peacock great again. Osuna battles his way out of the 9th. Then we beat their closer. I wonder who does all the pitching tomorrow?

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  23. Go so mad in the ninth that I turned it off. Not because of Osuna but because they failed to score for on so many chances. Came back to my senses. Came back to watch the bottom of the 9th. They are going to make me start drinking again after 30 years.

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  24. Checking the box score, though Pressley pitched 1.1 innings Saturday, he only threw 12 pitches. I’m sure the Bosox will try to wear Verlander out today to get to a tired bullpen, but the Astros do have James and Framber and Rodgers and Devenski and Harris available and rested.

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    • OP1, yeah they will, but I think we get to the Sox pen first. And they really need innings from their starter today. Didn’t we whack him last week? I’d love to see our guys finish the sweep that eluded them last weekend.

      It’s a shame that we play most of the teams in our own league just more than a handful of times. Do we really need 19 against those teams in our own division? With the Red Sox, I feel a real rivalry developing, one of mutual respect. And I’d like to see more of it during the regular season.

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  25. In case you haven’t noticed, the Twins are 9-1 in their last ten games and now lead the AL Central by 9 games over the Indians. The Twins have the best record in MLB.

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  26. OP – saw there were tornadoes and casualties in Oklahoma last night – praying for the victims and praying you and yours are ok

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  27. I always find it interesting/ telling – how I’m reading about the Stassi – Stubbs moves elsewhere than the Astros official MLB page
    If these guys held their cards any closer to their chests – they would be holding them behind their backs

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    • Although their is no confirmation on the Astros website, Brian McTaggart has an interview with Stubbs on his Twitter feed that shows Stubbs in the Astros’ clubhouse.
      The Astros don’t announce changes until they have cleared the league office and all the paperwork is done.
      Stubb’s salary jumps from $40,000 to over $500,000 with that paperwork.
      Happy Birthday, Garrett.

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  28. Diaz will probably hit the IL. He’s been nursing that hammy for two weeks but the play at home cinched the deal. It will be interesting to see how the
    Astros handle this latest injury
    This Boston team has a lot of fight in them.

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  29. Not all you may agree with me but Tyler White needs to go bye bye. Maybe after June when we can bring up some of our hotter potentials. He just looks like he’s flaying away. Once in awhile he makes contact but I think he could close his eyes and do just as well.

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    • My earlier comment about Reggie Collier and Dave’s comments reference Tyler’s lack of desire or being out of shape. Collier was a spectacular college QB. Signed with the USFL and when it shut down, he signed with Cowboys. He was a 3rd string QB. Danny White broke his arm. Steve Pelluer stunk. Tom Landry sent in Collier who ran a few plays and then signaled to Landry that he wanted to be replaced. When you get a chance, you can always be “in shape.” There may be other things that cause one to fail, but you have total control if you are in good physical shape. That speaks to attitude.

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      • I know this is piling on, but I would hope that someone would ask Tyler to contact Evan Gattis. Find out what is the market for a 1/2 tool DH that hits .226.

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  30. Two things today:
    Verlander is pitching like the Ace he is.
    Two errors in one inning is *NOT* acceptable.
    GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

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