Tuesday, November 8, 2016

I Hate Election Day

I hate Election Day. I love Election Night, once the returns start coming in. But, aside from the actual process of voting, Election Day is long and boring, and, if you're a political junkie, you're practically begging for any information.

Info is ammo. But, on Election Day, info is hard to get, since the TV networks and the newspapers (and the websites of both) are prohibited from giving you any numbers, however rudimentary, before the polls close in the State in question.

It's annoying.

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November 8, 1896: Stanley Raymond Harris is born in Port Jervis, Rockland County, New York, and grows up in nearby Pittston, Pennsylvania. In 1919, Bucky Harris debuted as the 2nd baseman for the Washington Senators. In a 1920 game, there was an incident on the field, and he stood up to Ty Cobb. His status as a respected player was immediate. And in 1924, only 27 years old, he was named the Senators' permanent manager -- the youngest in baseball history to that point. (Roger Peckinpaugh had been 23 when he finished out the 1914 season as interim manager of the Yankees.)

It worked: While still excelling as a player, Harris led the Senators to back-to-back Pennants, and their only World Championship in 1924. He was fired after the 1928 season, and bounced around, managing the Senators a total of 3 times. He managed the Yankees to a World Championship in 1947, but after a 3rd place finish in 1948, he was fired for Casey Stengel.

He last managed with the Detroit Tigers in 1956, still ranks 7th on the all-time list of managerial wins (although he lost more games, managing mostly weak teams), was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975, and died on his 81st birthday, November 8, 1977.

November 8, 1903: Luigi Allemandi is born in San Damiano Macri, Piedmont, Italy. In 1926, the left back for Turin's Juventus was offered 50,000 lira to throw the season-ending Turin derby with Torino, which had already clinched the Serie A (Italian league) title. He got the promised 25,000 before the game, and Torino won. But when he went to collect the rest after the game, he was refused, and this was overheard by a reporter. As a result, Torino was stripped of the title, and 2nd place Juventus was awarded it. But Allemandi was stripped of his right to a winner's medal, and banned for live.

He was pardoned in 1928, and he joined Milan side Internazionale, known as Ambrosiana during the Mussolini regime, and won the title in 1930. He was with the Italy team that won the 1934 World Cup on home soil, and later served as Italy's Captain, his rehabilitation complete. He later managed Rome club SS Lazio, and died in 1978.

November 8, 1904: Theodore Roosevelt, who became President when William McKinley was assassinated 3 years earlier, is elected in his own right. It was an easy choice: The massively charismatic and widely-experience TR was opposed by the incredibly boring Alton B. Parker, whose highest office was as a federal judge. That's how strapped for talent the Democratic Party was at the time.

TR got 56 percent of the popular vote, Parker not even 38 percent. TR got 336 Electoral Votes, Parker only 140, all in the "Solid South," which wouldn't have voted for Jesus if he were nominated by the Party of Lincoln. (It was only 40 years since the Civil War, after all.)

That night, TR makes a big mistake: He tells the press he won't run for what would amount to a 3rd term in 1908. He keeps his promise, but he tries again in 1912, and it splits the Republican Party. In a way, that split between well-meaning progressives and selfish conservatives has never been healed.

November 8, 1918: For the 8th and last time, and just 3 days before the Armistice ending it, a Major League Baseball player dies as a result of serving in World War I.

La Verne Ashford "Larry" Chappell was an outfielder, and played for the Chicago White Sox in 1913, '14 and '15; the Cleveland Indians in 1916; and the Boston Braves in 1916 and '17. He never made it overseas, dying in the Spanish Flu epidemic at a U.S. Army camp in San Francisco. He was 28 years old.

November 8, 1922: Ademir Marques de Menezes is born in Recife, Brazil. Better known by just his first name, Ademir was one of the leading figures in Brazilian football, starring for hometown club Sport Recife and Rio de Janeiro club Vasco da Gama.

He led the Brazilian national team to the Final of the 1950 World Cup on home soil, but specatcularly lost. He did, however, take them to victory in the 1952 Panamerican Championship. He died in 1996.

November 8, 1924: John William Kiszkan is born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. We know him as Johnny Bower. He served in the Canadian Army during World War II, but was discharged due to rheumatoid arthritis. But it didn't stop him from becoming one of the top hockey goaltenders of all time.

Having only 6 teams in the NHL at his peak meant that he toiled for one of the top minor-league teams, the Cleveland Barons, from 1945 to 1958, with occasional callups to the New York Rangers from 1954 to 1957. He helped the Barons win 3 Calder Cups.

In 1958, he was acquired by the Toronto Maple Leafs, finally a regular starter at age 34. He helped them reach the Stanley Cup Finals 6 times, including winning the Cup in 1962, 1963, 1964 and 1967, the last of these at age 42. He retired in 1969.

He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1976 and The Hockey News' 100 Greatest Players in 1998. The Cleveland Monsters retired his Number 1 in honor of his work with the Barons, and, while the Leafs don't retire numbers, they do have "Honoured Numbers," and they honored his Number 1 along with his predecessor, Turk Broda. Bower is still alive, and was part of the Leafs' on-ice celebrations for the 50th Anniversary of their 1962, '63 and '64 Cups. Hopefully, he'll still be there later this season, when they honor the '67 Champions.

November 8, 1927: Leonard Edward Willis is born in Hackney, North London. A right back, he was with local side Arsenal when they won the 1950 FA Cup and the 1953 League title, but didn't make his senior debut with them until the following season, playing 9 seasons. He left soccer completely, and now, at age 89, is retired from retail carpentry.

November 8, 1929: Robert Clekler Bowden is born in Birmingham, Alabama. A quarterback at Samford University in his home State, he never played pro ball. He went into coaching, and in 1970, he became the head coach at West Virginia University. There was no conference title for him to win at the time, but he got them into the Peach Bowl twice, losing in the 1972 season, and winning in 1975.

Florida State University, for whom he had once coached receivers, hired him for the 1976 season. It was a tough job. Their 2nd-best-known player ever was a receiver he'd coached, Oakland Raiders superstar Fred Biletnikoff. First? Actor Burt Reynolds. How tough was it? As Bobby himself explained, "At West Virginia, the bumper stickers say BEAT PITT. Here, they say BEAT ANYBODY."

He did. In just 2 years, he went from 5-6 to 10-2. From 1987 to 2000, he went 152-19-1, for a winning percentage of .887. Losing to the University of Miami on last-play field goals cost him shots at the National Championship, in 1991 and 1992, but they finally won it in 1993, and won it again in 1999. When the Seminoles entered the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1992, they won 12 of their 1st 14 shots at the title. He won 4 Sugar Bowls, 3 Orange Bowls and a Cotton Bowl. His last game was the 2010 Gator Bowl, a win over, appropriately enough, West Virginia.

His total career record, in 44 seasons as a head coach, was 377-129-4. For a time, he and Penn State's Joe Paterno went back and forth for the record of most career coaching wins. Paterno lasted longer, but then, while Bowden's career was hardly unblemished, the crimes on his watch were considerably lesser.

His son Terry coached at Auburn, where he was named 1993 Coach of the Year -- ahead of his father, who won the National Championship that season. His son Tommy was the head coach at Clemson, and his son Jeff was his offensive coordinator at FSU. Terry and Jeff now coach at the University of Akron, while Bobby, now 87, enjoys his retirement.

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November 8, 1932: Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected President of the United States, defeating the incumbent Republican, President Herbert Hoover. Due to the Great Depression, in just 4 years, Hoover went from winning 40 States for 444 Electoral Votes vs. 87, and winning 58.2 percent of the popular vote, to losing 42 States for 472 Electoral Votes vs. 59, and losing the popular vote 57.4 to 39.7.

This was not so much a hiring of FDR as it was a firing of Hoover. And, yes, he can be blamed for how he handled the Depression: He didn't think he could do much, and the things that he did do, that worked a little, he should have done harder, and didn't. Indeed, much of FDR's New Deal was based not just on what he'd done in New York, but on some things Hoover did, like the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC).

But Hoover shouldn't be blamed for the Depression itself.

Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame Herbert Hoover for the Great Depression


5. No Oversight. There was a Federal Reserve Board, but there wasn't yet a Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) to keep stock traders honest, or Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to protect banks. Those would come with the New Deal.

4. The Farm Belt. It had already been in a depression since the end of World War I, 11 years earlier.

3. Calvin Coolidge. Hoover's predecessor, possibly seeing the Crash of 1929 coming, left Hoover holding the bag. No one blames the man who got a full term in 1924 on "Coolidge Prosperity" for the Crash that came less than 8 months after he left office. But he should have.

2. Wall Street Speculators. As we've seen, Greed is not good.

1. Andrew Mellon. Appointed Secretary of the Treasury by Warren Harding, and kept all through the Coolidge years and most of Hoover's term, America's 3rd-richest man (behind John D. Rockefeller and Henry Ford) was a Pittsburgh-based banking titan, whose name lives on after a merger with the Bank of New York: BNY Mellon. But he basically let big business do whatever it wanted. As a poem of the time went, "Hoover blew the whistle, Mellon rang the bell, Wall Street gave the signal, and we all went to hell!"

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November 8, 1937: Peter Brabrook (no middle name) is born in Greenwich, East London. A right wing, he was a member of local club West Ham United's team that won the 1964 FA Cup and the 1965 European Cup Winners' Cup. He played for England in the 1958 World Cup. He is still alive.

UPDATE: He died on December 10, 2016.

November 8, 1942: Alessandro Mazzola is born in Turin, Italy, where his father, Valentino Mazzola, was a star with soccer team Torino, but died with most of his teammates in a plane crash in 1949, known as the Superga Disaster.

Sandro and his brother, Ferruccio Mazzola, overcame the loss of their father, and both played top-flight calcio (what the Italians call soccer). Ferruccio (1945-2013) was a midfielder for several teams, helping Rome club Lazio win its 1st Serie A (national league) title in 1974, alongside future New York Cosmos star Giorgio Chinaglia.

Sandro Mazzola was an attacking midfielder who played 17 seasons for Internazionale Milano, leading La Grande Inter to league titles in 1963, 1965, 1966 and 1971, and the European Cup in 1964 and 1965. He and Ferruccio were briefly teammates in 1967, when Inter again reached the European Cup Final, losing to Celtic.

He helped Italy win Euro 1968, but they lost the Final of the 1970 World Cup, because the manager, Ferruccio Valcareggi, could never find a way to put together the 2 great Milan-based stars of the era, Sandro Mazzola of Inter and Gianni Rivera of AC Milan. Sandro also played in the 1966 and 1974 World Cups. He became a commentator for Italian network RAI, including for Italy's wins in the 1982 and 2006 World Cups, and is still active in that role.

November 8, 1943: Martin Stanford Peters is born in Plaistow, East London. The midfielder starred for his local club, West Ham United, and while he wasn't yet a regular when they won the 1964 FA Cup, he blossomed for them as they won the 1965 European Cup Winners' Cup.

That got him noticed by Alf Ramsey, manager of the England national team, and Peters was selected for the 1966 World Cup, which England won on home soil, with Peters starting in the Final. He later played in the 1970 World Cup, and for North London's Tottenham Hotspur, and won the League Cup in 1971 and 1973 and the UEFA Cup in 1972.

He later managed Sheffield United. Although he lived to see the 50th Anniversary of the World Cup win, this was also the year he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, along with several other members of that England team.

November 8, 1946, 70 years ago: The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports, which had debuted on radio in 1942, makes its television debut on NBC. For all intents and purposes, it is America's 1st sports TV show, and runs until 1960.

Also on this day, Guus Hiddink is born in Varsseveld, the Netherlands. An ordinary as a soccer midfielder, he became a great manager. With PSV Eindhoven, he won the Eredivisie (national league) in 1987, 1988, 1989, 2003, 2005 and 2006; the KNVB-Beker (Dutch Cup) in 1988 (a Double), 1989 (a Double), 1990 and 2005 (a Double); and the 1988 European Cup (the Netherlands' only European Treble).

With Chelsea, he won the 2009 FA Cup. In the World Cup, he managed the Netherlands to 4th place in 1998, host South Korea to 4th in 2002, and Australia to the Round of 16 in 2006. He managed Russia to the Semifinal of Euro 2008. After a brief return to Chelsea last season, possibly saving them from relegation, he is currently out of the game.

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November 8, 1952: Gerald Peter Remy is born in the Boston suburb of Fall River, Massachusetts. In 1978, the 2nd baseman was an All-Star for his hometown Red Sox, but they couldn't beat the Yankees. By the time they won the Pennant in 1986, he was retired due to injuries.

In 1988, "RemDawg" became a Red Sox broadcaster. He is to New England what Phil Rizzuto was to the New York Tri-State Area, Richie Ashburn to the Delaware Valley, Herb Score to Northern Ohio, Joe Nuxhall to the Ohio Valley, Ron Santo to Chicagoland: The local player who became the beloved storytelling announcer. He also owns RemDawg's, a concession stand on Yawkey Way across from Fenway Park; and Jerry Remy's Sports Bar & Grill, on Boylston Street behind Fenway. The Red Sox have elected him to their team Hall of Fame.

Also on this day, John Allen Denny is born in Prescott, Arizona. In 1976, the St. Louis Cardinals pitcher led the NL in earned run average. In 1983, he won the NL Cy Young Award, and helped the Philadelphia Phillies win the Pennant. He finished his career with 123 wins. He later coached with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

November 8, 1960: Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts is elected the 35th President of the United States. At 43, he is the youngest man ever elected to the office, although Theodore Roosevelt was 42 when he was first sworn in. He is also the 1st Catholic to achieve the office, and remains the only one.

He beats the Republican nominee, incumbent Vice President Richard Nixon. It is incredibly close: JFK wins 49.72 percent of the popular vote, Nixon 49.55, a margin of 118,000 votes. The Electoral Vote goes 303 to 219 for Kennedy (with 15 votes from Southern electors going elsewhere), making it look like it wasn't so close.

Kennedy won Illinois by about 4,500 votes. To this day, Republicans say JFK's friend, Mayor Richard J. Daley of Chicago, "stole" the State's vote for him.

Top 5 Reasons You Can’t Blame Richard J. Daley for Richard Nixon Losing the 1960 Presidential Election

5. The Curse of Herbert Hoover. While Americans still said, "I like Ike," in reference to the outgoing Republican, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, they viewed him as more of a nonpartisan leader. The last truly conservative, truly Republican President was Hoover, who presided over the Crash of 1929 and the 1st 3 years of the subsequent Great Depression.

Would Nixon have brought another Depression? Probably not, but who knows? He did preside over the mild recession of 1970-71, and the nastier recession of 1973-76 began on his watch. Certainly, imagining him as President during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 is scary.

4. Richard Nixon. He ran a lousy campaign. With 2 new States making 50, he was determined to campaign in all 50 States. As a result, he was exhausted, and even got sick. When he debated JFK on television, he looked awful. Moreover, he didn't argue his own case well.

3. John F. Kennedy. He ran a great campaign, both face-to-face and on TV. Although Presidents had been appearing on TV since FDR in 1939, and regularly since Harry Truman in 1947, JFK was the 1st candidate for President to really master the still-new medium.

2. Dwight D. Eisenhower. He didn't come out strongly enough for Nixon. Late in the campaign, a reporter asked Ike what policy Nixon's advice had aided, and he said, "If you give me a week, I might think of one." Ouch.

We've since had 4 Presidents serve a full 2 terms. In 1988, Ronald Reagan campaigned with George H.W. Bush, and won. In 2000, Al Gore told Bill Clinton to stay away; had they made one joint appearance together in Florida, it would literally have made all the difference in the world. In 2008, John McCain told George W. Bush to stay away; this one time, it may have helped. And here in 2016, Barack Obama has campaigned with Hillary Clinton. We shall see.

1. It Didn't Matter. Winning Illinois wouldn’t have given Nixon the Electoral Vote, or even denied Kennedy a majority of them. Plus, there are stories that the real reason Nixon didn't contest the Illinois vote is that he knew that Southern Illinois had seen vote-tampering in his favor. Indeed, only 1 State had a vote so close that, as with Florida in 2000, a legally-mandated recount kicked in. It was the newest State, Hawaii. And it did switch... from Nixon to Kennedy.

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November 8, 1965: Jeffrey Michael Blauser is born in the San Francisco suburb of Los Gatos, California. The shortstop was a 2-time All-Star, and a member of 6 postseason teams with the Atlanta Braves, including 4 Pennant winners and the 1995 World Champions; and the Chicago Cubs' Wild Card winners of 1998. He later managed in the Braves' minor-league system.

November 8, 1967: Henry Anderson Rodríguez Lorenzo is born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The outfielder, known professionally as Henry Rodríguez, reached the postseason with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1995, was an All-Star with the Montreal Expos in 1996, and reached the postseason with the Cubs in 1998 and the Yankees in 2001.

November 8, 1968: José Antonio Offerman Dono is born in San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic. The shortstop reached the postseason with the Dodgers in 1995, the Boston Red Sox in 1999, and the Minnesota Twins in 2004. He was an All-Star in 1995 and 1999. He now manages the Veracruz Red Eagles in the Mexican League.

November 8, 1971: The National Hockey League grants a franchise to Long Island, and the New York Islanders are born.

November 8, 1977: Nicholas Paul Punto is born in San Diego. The shortstop reached the postseason with the Minnesota Twins in 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2010; won the World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011; and reached the postseason with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013 and the Oakland Athletics in 2014.

November 8, 1981: Joseph John Cole is born in Paddington, West London. The left winger won the Intertoto Cup with East London's West Ham United in 1999. With West London's Chelsea, he won the Premier League in 2005, 2006 and 2010; the FA Cup in 2007, 2009 and 2010 (a Double); and the League Cup in 2005 and 2007 (a Cup Double). He now plays for the new version of the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the new version of the North American Soccer League.

November 8, 1986, 30 years ago: Manchester United play their 1st manager under new manager Alex Ferguson. It is a League match, away to Oxford United, and they lose, 2-0. Not an auspicious beginning.

Also on this day, Jamie Huw Roberts is born in Newport, Wales. A star for legendary Welsh rugby club Cardiff Blues, he now plays for London club Harlequins. He helped Wales win the Six Nations Championship in 2012 and 2013.

November 8, 1987: Samuel Jacob Bradford is born in Oklahoma City. The quarterback won the Heisman Trophy with the University of Oklahoma in 2008. He was NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year with the St. Louis Rams in 2010. He now plays for the Minnesota Vikings.

November 8, 1988: My 1st election. At Hammarskjold Middle School in East Brunswick, New Jersey, which I had attended (as Hammarskjold Junior High School) from September 1981 to June 1984, I cast a vote for the straight Democratic ticket, including for the Presidential nominee, Governor Michael S. Dukakis of Massachusetts.

Everybody I voted for lost, with one exception. Dukakis lost to Vice President George H.W. Bush, 426 Electoral Votes to 111, 53.4 percent to 45.6. He had blown it by inadequately responding to some truly filthy and (mostly) false attacks.

The next day, I was in New Brunswick, job-hunting. I saw the Middlesex County Democratic Campaign Headquarters, and realized I'd never gotten a Dukakis button. I wanted one. So I went in, and there was the Mayor of New Brunswick at the time, John Lynch, talking to Senator Frank Lautenberg, the one person I voted for who won. Not wanting to interrupt, I waited for them to finish talking. When Lautenberg came my way, I offered him my hand and congratulated him on his re-election. He walked right past me.

I met Lynch a few years later, after he'd resigned as Mayor because he'd become President of the State Senate, making him effectively (we didn't have the office at the time) the Lieutenant Governor. He was a much nicer guy. Unfortunately, he later went to prison for corruption. But I'm still proud to have voted for Dukakis.

November 8, 1989: The NBA's expansion Minnesota Timberwolves play their 1st home game, at the Target Center in Minneapolis. But they really chose the wrong opponent: The Chicago Bulls, who win, 96-84. Michael Jordan blitzes his way to 45 points, while Tony Campbell nets 31 for the shellshocked hosts. At least the inaugural fans got their money's worth from Jordan.

Also on this day, Giancarlo Cruz Michael Stanton is born in Los Angeles. Growing up, most people called him "Mike Stanton," but, not wanting to be confused with the relief pitcher for several teams, including the Yankee Dynasty, he began going by "Giancarlo Stanton."

The right fielder for the Miami Marlins has hit 208 career home runs, including some of the longest in the major leagues since his 2010 debut. He is a 3-time All-Star, and led the National League in homers in 2014.

His contract runs out after the 2019 season. Maybe the Yankees can make the Marlins an offer they can't refuse.

Also on this day, Morgan Schneiderlin is born in Zellwiller, France. The midfielder starred for English soccer team Southampton until his acquisition last season by Manchester United, with whom he won the FA Cup. But he appears to have been frozen out by new manager Jose Mourinho. He played for France in the 2014 World Cup and helped them reach the Final of Euro 2016.

November 8, 1990: The Los Angeles Kings retire the Number 16 of Marcel Dionne. They beat the Detroit Red Wings, 5-1 at the Forum in Inglewood.

November 8, 2014: The Montreal Canadiens retire the Number 5 of Guy Lapointe. They beat the Minnesota Wild, 4-1 at the Bell Centre.

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