Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

How is it possible that I had never heard of Lou Brissie before just now? Does everyone know about this guy but me?

Since Mel Allen's death and the rise to primacy of the internet, with baseball information becoming available pretty much anywhere you look, This Week in Baseball has gone from an entertaining, insightful-but-kid-friendly look inside the game to what is now generally a vapid, uninformative and completely unnecessary half hour in which MLB attempts to appease its official soft drink, official razor, official lawn fertilizer and so forth, and just incidentally mentions some stuff about baseball. But with this week's episode airing two days before Memorial Day, they opened the show with a tribute to the fighting men of baseball history. And they did the usual bit on Williams, Feller and DiMaggio, of course, but they opened it with a piece on Brissie that I think everyone should see. (Sadly, I don't think you can get it online.)

I'm not going to rehash his story again -- you can read it here or here (with video!) or here. The key bits (signed by Connie Mack in 1941 . . . left tibia and shinbone broken in 30 pieces . . . two years of rehab . . . 1949 All-Star) jump out at you pretty quickly. I'd just suggest that, if you happen to be like me and aren't very familiar with who the guy is and what he went through, today is a good day to spend a little time reading. And that he's still around to talk about it, more than sixty years later, is quite a gift to the rest of us.

It's also a good day to remember Elmer Gedeon and Harry O'Neill, the only two Major League players killed in World War II.

I mean, this is just a baseball blog, so I'm not going to go on about Memorial Day and what it should mean to everybody. But I'm glad I was born in this country, and I'm grateful for so many thousands of men and women like Brissie, and Gedeon, and O'Neill, and my grandfather.

Back tomorrow with plain old baseball stuff.

1 comment: