The Daily Dose/January 17, 2016
By Gaylon Kent
The Writer's Shack
Notes from around the Human Experience...
STOP US IF YOU'VE HEARD THIS BEFORE: We go through this every year: the Baseball Hall of Fame announces its latest round of inductees and we bitch about how it is no longer fun to bother debating the merits of who did and who did not get elected.
Blame Gary Carter for this. As we say every year about this time, Carter's 2003 election took all the fun out of arguing who does who does not belong in the Hall of Fame:
If you are as good as or better than Carter, you're in. If you are not as good as Carter, you are not in.
It's actually made the debating process rather cut and dried. We should probably appreciate it more, though we don't.
Let Us Weep: We miss this because whining about the Hall of Fame selectees was always one of the waypoints for baseball fans on winter's journey from the end of the World Series to the start of spring training. You had the awards being passed out in November, then the winter meetings livened up December then the Hall of Fame announcement came a few days after the Rose Bowl. It was the first sign pitchers and catchers reporting was on the horizon.
Dry, Technical Matter: Now, we aren't saying Carter doesn't belong in Hall of Fame. He was an 11-time all-star and won three Gold Gloves and in the biggest at-bat of his career - two outs, bottom of the ninth, game six of the 1986 World Series, his Mets down by a run - he got a hit and this carries some weight with us. Not enough to carry you to Cooperstown, but some weight nonetheless.
OTOH: We're not saying Carter belongs in the Hall either. He was a.262 hitter for Pete's sake and had they not let him in I don't think anyone, except maybe Carter, would've gotten their shorts in a knot over it.
Not Even Close: This year's inductees, Mike Piazza and Ken Griffey, Jr both easily pass the Carter Test. Actually, they both more or less lap Carter and are richly deserving of their place in Cooperstown.
Dry, Technical Matter: Other's did, too, though. If Carter is in there is no reason Jeff Bagwell shouldn't be there, as well as Tim Raines, Trevor Hoffman, Alan Trammel, Gary Sheffield and Lee Smith. We also think the baseball writers who do the voting should get off their high horses and allow those suspected of using PEDs in, too.
This Isn't Official Writer's Shack Policy Is It?: The Carter Test is versatile, too, easily transitioning to players from other generations and having Carter as our line of demarcation opens the door to a lot of others.
Might As Well Throw Boog Powell In There, Too: Among them Dick Allen, Steve Garvey, Dwight Evans, Lou Whitaker, Mike Mussina, Curt Shilling, Jack Morris, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Ted Simmons and Thurman Munson. There are others. We're sure you have your faves, too.
YOU KNOW, A CHANGE OF SCENERY MIGHT BE NICE: The papacy returns to Rome on this date in 1377, when Pope Gregory XI returns. The papacy had spent the past several decades in what was then the Holy Roman Empire and now France and Gregory remains the last French Pope.
Gregory, conveniently, would die the following March and would be succeeded by an Italian, which had been more or less demanded by an angry mob of Italians. This annoyed the French who elected their own popes for a while, a period History refers to as the Western Schism, which lasted until 1418.
"The Pole, Yes, But Under Very Different Circumstances From Those Expected.": Robert Falcon Scott and his expedition reach the South Pole on this date in 1912.
"Well, It Is Something To Have Got Here": Scott and company came in second in the race to be the first to the South Pole, but they didn't know Roald Amundsen and friends had beaten him there until the day before when, about 15 miles out, they saw a black flag left by Amundsen.
We're Outta Here: Scott and his party didn't fart around. They established their position, took some pictures, then turned for home. None would make it. They would perish on the return trip, with others finding their bodies, journals and photographs several months later.
The Jig Is Up: With elements of the Soviet army closing in, the Nazis begin evacuating the Auschwitz concentration camp on this date in 1945.
Auschwitz opened in March 1940, with the arrival of assorted Polish political prisoners and the wholesale slaughter of our fellow humans began in September 1941. About 800 people attempted to escape, with a bit less than 150 being successful, mainly those who fled from outside work sites
Fly In The Ointment: Successful escape had its consequences, however. Random remaining prisoners would be selected to be starved to death and sometimes relatives of the escapee would be arrested and brought to Auschwitz in their place.
Ready...Aim...Fire: The death penalty resume in the United States when the state of Utah executes Gary Gilmore on this date in 1977.
Justice was swift back then. Gilmore had killed two people the previous July, was tried and convicted in early October and was originally sentenced to die in November.
"This Is My Life And This Is My Death": Justice was swift because Gilmore chose to die and he resisted efforts that prevented his death, including those by the ACLU and assorted members of the clergy.
Dry, Technical Matter: Gilmore was shot to death just past 8am by five volunteer police officers. His last words were widely reported to be "let's do it" but actually they were "go in peace", uttered to the priest that attended him in his final moments immediately after a hood was placed over his head.
Thought For The Day: What lots and lots I could tell you of this journey…but oh what a price to pay - to forfeit the sight of your dear face. - Robert Falcon Scott, final letter to his wife, written from Antarctica, 1912.
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Theodore Roosevelt was the president of the United State with the longest average State of the Union addresses, averaging 19,656 words.
Today's Stumper:Who was the last person executed in the United States before Gary Gilmore. - Answer next time!
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