Saturday, March 31, 2012

He Has Forbidden his Governors to Pass Laws of Immediate and Pressing Importance

From the Declaration of Independence, the second "fact" that the then King of Great Britain had a history of "repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States:"
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing Importance, unless suspended in their Operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
The King would not support the laws passed by the colonies or would delay acknowledging them for years.

Replacing King with the name of any modern U.S. President, we have seen how our federal chief executive and his administration have constantly attempted to thwart the efforts and laws of the states to do what is in their best interest. As Jefferson stated, the laws were "neglected in England for years, neither confirming them by his assent, nor annulling them by his negative."

Modern "laws" involve such subjects and debates as immigration, commerce, housing, transportation, military bases, death penalty, assisted suicide, gay marriage and the medicinal use of marijuana.

America was founded on the principle of a small federal government and stronger state governments. American federalism has been inverted by power hungry financiers and large corporations through their support of specific politicians and related movements.

"Fact two" in the Declaration of Independence as to why many British left Britain is present in American society today.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

He Has Refused His Assent to Laws

From the Declaration of Independence, ...the history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

Replace "King of Great Britain" with the name of one of our modern Presidents (Obama being the last of a series of tyrants) and their accomplices in Congress.

Although the claim in the Declaration deals with some of the colonies being required to submit their laws to the King for his approval. This is not what the colonies desired. They did not need the consent of the King.

In America, we know that whatever rights and resulting laws not derived from our Constitution belong to the states.

For decades now we have seen states rights denied and the federal government usurping its defined role.

The 10th Amendment states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

From the Constitutional Party platform (note I am not a current member of this party):
The Constitution delegated few, enumerated powers to the Federal Government, reserving all remaining powers to the States and the people. Thus, powers of the Federal were the exception.

Our federal republic was created by joint action of the several states. It has been gradually perverted into a socialist machine for federal control in the domestic affairs of the states.

The federal government has no authority to mandate policies relating to state education, natural resources, transportation, private business, housing, and health care, ad infinitum.

We call upon the states to reclaim their legitimate role in federal affairs and legislation (See Amendment 10 United States Constitution) and thus cause the federal government to divest itself of operations not authorized by the Constitution and extract the federal government from such enterprises, whether or not they compete with private enterprise.
I agree.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Christy Mathewson -- Gentleman, College Boy, Pitcher

Christopher ... Big Six or Matty ... Mathewson was one of those players in the early 20th Century that was instrumental in the rise of America's past-time. Raised in Northeastern PA, his life was shaped by a kind and religious mother. She insisted on a well-rounded education. She was willing to do anything to make sure her children were educated. She wanted her son to be a minister but Christy's athletic prowess on the football field (kicker) and baseball diamond gave him different opportunities.

Mathewson spent most of his 17 year Hall of Fame pitching career with the New York Giants. He was a workhorse, his numbers were amazing. He pitched over 300 innings 11 seasons. He won 20 games in 13 seasons, 30 or more in 4 seasons. His lifetime ERA was just over two and he won 373 games, tied with Pete Alexander for third all-time.

ERA / W / L / G / IP / SO / BB
2.13 / 373 / 188 / 635 / 4783 / 2502 / 846

He seemed ill-fitted for the New Your City big life. But he adapted. He was great friends with his manager, Hall of Famer John McGraw. The two could not have been more opposite. But together they thrived.

Big Six was a true pitcher, less of a flame thrower. He had great control and a wide assortment of pitches including his curve or drop ball.

After reading the book "Christy Mathewson: A Biography," by Michael Hartley, I grew to appreciate his evolution as a player (he was okay with the bat). He had some real bad games, ones where you don't survive the first inning. But he was able to over come and excel.

After serving his country in Europe in the Chemical Service -- a chemical weapons defense group within the Army -- he inhaled too much poisonous gas. He later developed tuberculosis. That eventually took his life, way too soon. He was only 45.

He is one player that one would love to have on your team. He'll show up and give you 100%. And there are few that were better or will ever be better than Matty.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Honus Wagner - The Flying Dutchman

What can you say about Hans Wagner? Local boy grows up and spends the bulk of his 21 year career playing professional baseball in his home town of Pittsburgh. And what a player he was.

Wagner started playing everything but his eventual Hall of Fame career as one of baseball's greatest short stop -- mainly in the outfield. For 17 consecutive seasons, he hit over .300 with 8 batting titles including 7 out of 9 years straight and a triple crown of H/RBI/Ave (prior to home runs replacing hits).

AVG / G / AB / R / H / HR / RBI / SB
.329 / 2787 / 10427 / 1740 / 3430 / 101 / 1732 / 722

Wagner was known for his stocky and barrel-chested build and his bow-legged. He started with the Louisville Colonels (1897-1899) and after that team folded, spent the next 18 years playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1900-1917).

He was a home boy, a family man, loving his Carnegie home, living his entire life within a few blocks of where he grew up. He was a perpetual bachelor, not getting married until he was 40. His off-season workouts consisted of playing basketball.

He loved fishing, hunting, his dogs, his cars. He hated spring training. He threatened to quit just about every year but always was in the lineup come early April.

He hated to manage. He was forced into it and lasted 3 games. His Pirates only made it to the World Series twice, winning one and losing one. His numbers were nothing to speak about.

The book, "Honus Wagner: The Life of Baseball's Flying Dutchman," by Arthur Hittner is a decent read. I liked it because it covered every year he played, providing details about specific games, specific plays, pennant races, and general baseball knowledge.

He shared much of his career with two Hall of Famers: the left fielder/manager Fred Clarke and long-time Pirate owner and baseball pioneer Barney Dreyfuss. The on-field action took place in two historic ball parks: Exposition Park and Forbes Field.

Wagner joined Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson as the original five in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Wagner was not only a great player but a great ambassador of the game and seemingly a fine man, one anyone would be proud to have as a friend.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Ty Cobb - My Life in Baseball

Ever since I was a little boy, I have been in awe of Ty Cobb. It was probably due in part to my father and uncles who had heard from their fathers and uncles that Ty was one of the greatest baseball players of all time. His career statistics are stunning:

AVG / G / AB / R / H / PO / A / E / HR / RBI / SB
.367 / 3033 / 11429 / 2245 / 4191 / 6294 / 406 / 274 / 117 / 727 / 892

The farm boy from Narrows, GA (nothing there now), raised in Royston, GA, chose a path his educated and somewhat strict father did not desire for him. Pro sports were not what they are today. A career might just pay the bills. His career almost did not take off. His initial minor league efforts in Augusta were quickly halted by a manager that elected another for his position after a few games. Upon his release, he found a team in Anniston, Alabama in a semi-pro league -- the Southeastern League. He performed admirably. With a little self-promoting and a change of manager in Augusta, was given another chance in the Sally League. Augusta's new manager George Leity had a profound impact on young Cobb. He told him about his great potential but with caution to focus, work hard and to quit goofing around. He took that advice. He moved up in quick fashion.

He played in Detroit 22 years (5 as player/manager) and his 2 final years in Philadelphia under Connie Mack. He succeed in Detroit despite one of the league's weakest and cheapest owners, Frank Navin.

Controversies surrounding Cobb seemed to be a direct result of his toughness, unwillingness to back down, and his extreme competitiveness. He probably had a cocky personality and a different sort of sense of humor. Jealousy by others of his tenacity contributed to his reputation. A dirty player he was not.

Cobb knew how to play the game. He was a student, a journeyman. He knew the fundamentals like no one else. Whether is was bunting, sacrificing, hitting in situations, base running, defending, he knew his craft. He was pretty good at teaching it also.

Cobb was financially very successful, a multimillionaire many times over. His Cobb Memorial Hospital (in memory of his parents) and Ty Cobb Educational Foundation are still operating today. His toughness and his chip-on-his-shoulder demeanor made him great on the field, perhaps not as great off. He died a lonely man, but very accomplished.

In his autobiography, My Life in Baseball -- the True Record, he shared some interesting thoughts on baseball. He was of the Golden Age of Baseball and/or the Dead-Ball Era, long before the home run became the standard. He was a purist, believing in manufacturing runs. He was not a fan of the evolution toward the long ball. I agree with him. Baseball is more enjoyable watching strategy and execution. Many of baseball's true skills have been lost. Few know how to bunt, sacrifice, run the bases, throw to the right base, hit cut-off men, hustle. Those players that shine here are the ones I enjoy and appreciate. The home run hitter is all or nothing, striking out way too often. Baseball has become more selfish, less team focused.

His all-time great lineup, up until he died in 1961 (and he saw Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial, Mickey Mantel, Ted William, Duke Snider and even Willie Mays), was:

1st Base - George Sisler
2nd Base - Eddie Collins
SS - Honus Wagner
3rd Base - Pie Traynor
Outfielders - Babe Ruth, Joe Jackson and Tris Speaker
Catchers - Ray Schalk & Mickey Cochrane
Pitchers - Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Ed Walsh, Pete Alexander, Eddie Plank, Lefty Grove
Manager - Connie Mack

Tough to argue with this team.