Posts Tagged ‘baseball’
The McIlhenny Family
The Business: Tabasco hot sauce
The Fortune: The company’s net worth is estimated at $2 billion to $3 billion. (At $2.5 billion, that’s 626,566,416 five-ounce bottles of original Tabasco).
A Brief History: In 1868, Edmund McIlhenny of Avery Island, Louisana, crafted a sauce made from salt-fermented tabasco peppers to pep up “bland” Southern food. Two years later, he received a patent and began expanding the business, focusing on restaurants and “men’s clubs.” The fact that there were few competitors at the time helped Tabasco gain ground quickly. The company has stayed within the family for five generations.
Amateur Hour: Consumers originally complained that McIlhenny’s sauce was too hot, because they applied it “liberally,” like ketchup—that’s why the bottle is fitted with a slotted slow-release top.
From well-known eponymous brands like Mars and Entemann’s to more discrete families like the Albrechts (Trader Joe’s) and the Unanues (Goya), Bon Appétit runs down the family dynasties that rule the grocery aisles, restaurant kitchens, and dinner tables of America: “The Richest, Most Powerful Families in the Food Business.”
* George Bernard Shaw
As we strategize our approaches to the buffet table, we might send epigrammatic birthday greetings to Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra; he was born on this date in 1925. Berra played almost his entire 19-year baseball career (1946–1965) for the New York Yankees. Berra is one of only four players to be named the Most Valuable Player of the American League three times; according to sabermetrician Bill James, he is the greatest catcher of all time and the 52nd greatest non-pitching player in major-league history. Berra went on to manage the dynasty of which he was a crucial part, the Yankees, and then the New York Mets; he is one of seven managers to lead both American and National League teams to the World Series (as a player, coach, or manager, Berra appeared in 21 Fall Classics). He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.
Berra is also remembered for the “unique” observations on baseball and life with which he graced reporters during interviews: e.g., “Baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical,” “It’s déjà vu all over again,” “You can observe a lot by watching,” and “The future ain’t what it used to be.” In The Yogi Book, Berra explained, “I really didn’t say everything I said. [...] Then again, I might have said ‘em, but you never know.”
Opening this week at the Quai Branly Museum in Paris, ”Tatoueurs, Tatoués” (Tattooists, Tattooed) features 300 works of tattoo art, sourced from the 18th Century to the present day, and from around the world.
Read more about the show, and see more of its offerings, at “Tatoueurs, Tatoués: The Biggest Tattoo Art Exhibition In The World.”
* Sylvia Plath, Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams: Short Stories, Prose, and Diary Excerpts
As we concede that it’s all about the ink, we might recall that it was on this date in 1925, in the ninth inning of a game against the St. Louis Cardinals, that Glenn Wright, shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates, completed an unassisted triple play: with runners on first and second, Wright caught a line drive, stepped on second base before the leading runner could return to the bag, and tagged out the runner who had been on first. This is a feat that has been accomplished, in the history of Major League Baseball, only fifteen times– making it rarer than the pitching of a perfect game.
Readers will remember Arthur Drooker, photographer-extraordinaire of conventioneers. His most recent foray will reassure those who’ve been worried at the prospect of a clown shortage, even as it horrifies those with coulrophobia… Drooker’s most recent stop in his quest to capture the best and most spirited conventions nationwide for his forthcoming book Conventional Wisdom was the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Northbrook, Illinois, where he dove into the annual gathering of the World Clown Association (WCA).
Read all about it, and see more of Drooker’s photos, at “Conventional Wisdom: World Clown Association.”
* Alfred Lord Tennyson
As we practice our pratfalls, we might recall that it was on this date in 1910 that President William Howard Taft inaugurated a long-standing tradition: he threw out the ceremonial first pitch in the baseball game that began the major league season.
As baseball has skyrocketed to popularity in other countries, particularly Japan and Latin American nations, the days of the United States claiming it exclusively are long over. The sport’s premier international tournament, the World Baseball Classic, featured 12 teams from across the globe this year, with the Dominican Republic coasting undefeated all the way to a championship. The tournament set ratings records in Japan, where it was the most-watched sporting event of the year and even out-performed the 2012 Olympics. In Taiwan, the WBC was the highest-rated cable program in the country’s history.
[More photos-- from South Africa to Iraq to China-- at FP]
Baseball has an estimated 500 million fans around the world… which ranks it seventh overall. To put that in context, the number one sport, football (or “soccer” as Americans are wont to call it), has 3.5 billion fans; the number two pastime, Cricket, 2.5 billion.
As we step up to the plate, we might recall that it was on this date in 1863, at The Freemasons’ Tavern on Great Queen Street in London, that the Football Association (or simply, the FA) was established; after centuries of football rules that varied from pitch to pitch, the FA established a single set of rules that has governed the game in England ever since. And given that it is the oldest such association in the world, its rules and procedures have shaped the game all over the world.
If every state in the union had to choose an official sport, what would they pick? Football, football, lacrosse, football, skiing, football, football … and Alaska gets the one with sled dogs. But what if you had to assign one sport to each state, and could use each of those sports just once? How would you disperse our favorite pastimes among the 50 states and Washington, D.C.?
Now that’s a more interesting parlor game. Only 12 states have bothered to name any kind of “official sport,” which leaves a lot of room to impose one’s sporting will on the American people…
And that’s exactly what Josh Levin, executive editor at Slate, has done. Read the rules he followed and explore the results in detail at “The United Sports of America- If each state could have only one sport, what would it be?“
As we oil our wheels, we might recall that it was on this date in 1845 that the first known baseball box score appeared in the New York Morning News, a month after the first set of rules were written by Alexander Cartwright and some his fellow Knickerbockers.
At CoolSerialNumbers.com, Nashville musician and currency collector Dave Undis brings together like-minded digit-heads who have little interest in the history of money or even the denomination of a given note. Instead they are after certain patterns and series that fall under the flexible heading of “fancy” serial numbers.
Low serial numbers, from 00000001 to 00000100, are sought after, as well as palindromes (23599532), solids (with a digit that repeats eight times), seven-of-a-kinds (66666665), ladders (45678901) and important dates (12071941). The criteria get even more obscure from there: Undis is seeking a pi note, with the number 31415927. But the more apparently jumbled the digits, the less likely it is that anyone with the bill in their wallet will ever notice.
Which is too bad when you consider how much these fancy numbers can sell for—quite a bit more than the bill’s face value, in some cases. Right now, on Undis’ website, you can buy a $1 bill with the serial number 00000002 for a whopping $2,500. If that sounds like chump change, consider that a $5 bill with the number 33333333 goes for $13,000.
You can also peruse the Cool Serial Numbers collection, displayed via Google+, and get a sense for how oddly soothing a row of zeros can be, although “radar repeaters” have an interesting effect of their own, and who could resist collecting the elegant numbers of the Fibonacci sequence?…
Read all about it at “A ‘fancy’ serial number can make a $1 bill worth thousands.”
As we comb through our currency, we might recall that it was on this date in 1920, his first season with the New York Yankees (after being traded from the Red Sox), that Babe Ruth hit a record 54th home run. While seven years later Ruth raised the record to 60– a mark only topped in 1961 by Roger Maris– it was this first year in pin stripes that changed baseball forever: at Boston, Ruth had been a starting pitcher; but the Yankees moved him to right field, making him a regular hitter. And hit he did. Ruth ushered in the “live-ball era” of the sport, as his big swing led to rising home run totals that thrilled fans, but more fundamentally helped baseball evolve from a low-scoring, speed-dominated contest to a high-scoring power game.
And, of course, he did it without the aid of modern performance enhancements… just cigars and booze.
As we play with our cotton candy, we might recall that it was on this date in 1939 that another essential summer rite was first telecast: the first major league baseball game was broadcast on New York television station W2XBS (now WNBC-TV). The double-header, between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Cincinnatti Reds was at from Ebbets Field in Brooklyn; the announcer was the now-legendary Red Barber.
W2XBS was something of a pioneer in television sports: it had produced the very first televised baseball game (a college match up between Columbia and Princeton) four months earlier; later that year it televised the first football game; and the following year added basketball and hockey.