Columbus – April 2019 – Ohio Sports History

The Ohio History Center recently opened an exhibit on the history of sports in Ohio. It featured both professional and team sports, as well as sports geared toward participation, such as these classic old roller skates.





The Cincinnati Bengals came into existence as part of the American Football League (AFL), a couple of years before they merged with the NFL. The exhibit had a rare referee’s uniform from the AFL days.





A classic bowling shirt from the 1960s.





One of the most famous annual events in the state is the world soap box derby championships in Akron.





While the NBA was in existence in the early 1960s, college basketball was bigger. An offshoot of that was big time AAU basketball – Cleveland had a team that was the National Champions in 1961.





The 1970s Cincinnati Reds were a powerhouse team, lead by catcher Johnny Bench and the now disgraced Pete Rose.





High School football is big time in Ohio, and are none are bigger than the Massillon – Canton McKinley rivalry.





Probably the most famous athlete from Ohio today is LeBron James.

The exhibit was ok, but given how much sports history there is in Ohio it seemed lacking in depth and detail.

Chicago – February 2019 – History Museum

Amazingly the Chicago History Museum was founded in 1856, just a few years after the settling of the town. Although twice destroyed by fire (once during the Great Chicago Fire), they still have a vast collection of artifacts celebrating the history of the city.

During our visit to Chess Records I had heard that the History Museum had a nice exhibit on the Chicago Blues, which was our encouragement to go to the History Museum.





In the display is this map showing the amazing collection of recording studios and clubs that featured the blues that have existed in Chicago over the years.





Raeburn Flerlage was a famed photographer of the blues scene from 1959-1971, although his career in music lasted much longer.

His photographs were used for many album covers.





Included in the collection is a copy of what is generally acknowledge as the first blues record of all time, St Louis Blues by W C Handy, from 1925.





The south side of Chicago was the hub of the blues, with Maxwell Street being the epicenter.





All of the blues greats were celebrated here, including Muddy Waters.





In the 1950s record companies were only allowed to have so many records in radio station airplay rotation at one time, so they would just start another record company.

This record of Koko Taylor’s Wang Dang Doodle is on Checker Records, the sister company of Chess Records.





Moving on from the blues display we checked out Chicago – Crossroad of America. This documented Chicago as the transportation hub of the country since the early days of the railroad.





Also on display was one of the original El cars from 1892.





A number of focus displays included one of the infamous gangland activities during prohibition in the 1920s.





Keeping with the infamous Playboy Magazine started in Chicago, as did the original club with the hostess (bunny) outfit on display.





As noted in other postings, Chicago was always mail order center of the country.





Another section celebrated entertainment events in Chicago including the 1893 World’s Fair.





As well as the 1933 Century of Progress World’s Fair.






Finally there was a small section celebrating the professional sports teams of Chicago – baseball’s Cubs and White Sox, football’s Bears, basketball’s Bulls and hockey’s Blackhawks.








Fort Wayne – August 2018 – Tipcaps Baseball

Our day ended by watching a few innings of minor league baseball. The Fort Wayne Tincaps are a low minor leagues farm team for the San Diego Padres.

The name alludes to ‘Johnny Appleseed’, aka John Chapman. Born in Massachusetts Johnny Appleseed spent much of his life travelling the midwest planting orchards. The legend, perpetuated by a Disney movie, was that he wore a tin pot on his head for a cap.

Since he spent his last days in Fort Wayne, they adopted this look for their mascot.

The stadium itself, as with all stadiums in America, sold it’s naming rights to a local hospital and has commercialization throughout – including the Toyota Picnic area.

Since I like symmetry in photos, this was perfect (before the people arrived).

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Another baseball tradition that has been taken to extremes is the first pitch. Historically for important games a celebrity or politician would throw out the first pitch from the stands. Over the last 30 years it has become tradition to do it from the field.

Now instead of being a special event they do it every game, and end up with 8 ‘first pitches’ like this one.

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We were honored to be in the presence of Wonder Woman – at least that is what her shirt says.

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There actually was a game.

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But it was more fun checking out the crowd, including these two young ladies who managed to stand right next to the sign that says no standing.

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The crowd was fairly passive all game, despite some close plays.

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In the early years of baseball the stadiums were built into tight city lots, so they were asymmetrical. Starting in the 1950s they built them all the same with perfect symmetry, but after 1990 everyone wanted the ‘retro’ look and went back to quirky setups, even though they had the space to build a consistent field.

Baseball is the only sport where the playing field differs at each stadium (although obviously the infield is the same everywhere).

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Sunset , clouds and stadium lights – the ultimate in photo lighting.

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Pittsburgh – July 2018 – Views of the City

A weekend in Pittsburgh always gives us a chance to check out the sights – some familiar, some new.

First up – the historic Gulf Tower in the morning sun.

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The Strip District (the neighborhood got it’s name because it is a small ‘strip’ of land along the Allegheny River). Once industrial, then vacant, this area is going through a rebirth – including the refurbished Cork Factory – now apartments.

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A great ‘new-old’ sign on a building on Penn Avenue. In this part of the world ‘pop’ is what soda is known as.

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Artwork along the Allegheny. Note the houses on the high bluff across the river – Pittsburgh is a very hilly city.

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Instead of replacing the tracks they just filled them in with mulch to make a path.

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The view down Smallman Street towards downtown Pittsburgh.

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Our final stop in the Strip was a hipster flea market.

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The best views of the Point, Downtown and the Rivers are from West End Overlook.

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From here you get views of the entire valley.

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The pleasure boats were out on this Sunday morning.

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The bright morning sun made the photography challenging.

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A beautiful day for baseball.

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Where the give away for the the fans were fedora hats!

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Columbus – June 2018 – Hot Baseball

It’s literally 100 degrees (38c) and humid so what should we do, go to a baseball game. So some decisions are dumber than others, but we lasted about 2 hours and gave up (although we found seats in the shade).

It did provide enough time for some views of the game and the crowd.

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After some casual stretching.

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It was time to play.

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Dad is a great role model for the  little ones – what most people consider an insensitive hat and a shirt asking for beer with the baby on his lap – sitting in the sun on this hot day. The kid of the left’s face says it all.

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Swing and a miss.

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The play was sketchy at times, there were 4 credited errors in the first 3 innings.

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Although there were some good plays too.

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An Indianapolis player launched a massive home run into the bleachers, which the guy in the pink shirt clearly does not want to catch.

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Nor do the stunned little kids (or anyone around them)

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Jake the Wonder dog brought drinks to the umpires.

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While the manager is trying to figure out how to get through to his pitcher.

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What brings the crowd to their feet – free t shirt toss!

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Why is it when a pitcher is doing so poorly he gets pulled, yet they always pat them on the butt?

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The players look at the fans taking cover from a foul ball wondering why.

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Finally the 4th inning was over and we gave up and went to the air conditioned car.

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Chicago – May 2017 – Scenes from around Wrigley Field

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With a hotel in Wrigleyville, and a game scheduled, it was the perfect time to wander around the neighborhood while the crowd gathered. Without tickets, and being much too cold for late May, I skipped the game to focus on the outside scenes.

Th Addison El stop.

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Knock off T Shirts across the street from the stadium grounds.

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Pay homage to Cubs great Billy Williams.

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Security was out in full force.

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Some San Francisco Giants fans hanging out in front of the fire station.

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Need a Cubs shirt?

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Riding in style.

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With parking a premium, the flaggers go all out to attract attention. His 10′ high PARKING sign was mounted in his backpack. Many are jammed under the El tracks, and throughout small lots in the neighborhood. Most cost $40 for a 3 hour game.

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