Even Wally Pipp didn’t get Wally Pipped!

via “Everything You Know About Wally Pipp Is Wrong” on Absolute Michigan…

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Wally Pipp’s Final Resting Spot, photo by PPWWIII

True confession: My father was a veritable baseball encyclopedia good enough for a scholarship at Yale whose love of the game kept him around baseball and me steeped in it. That said, though I learned the story of Wally Pipp at a young age, it was all wrong.

The name of Wally Pipp conjures visions of shirkers, slackers and layabouts and the stars who get a chance to shine when they take the inevitable day off. Most sports fans know the story of how on June 2, 1925 New York Yankee first baseman Wally Pipp was given the day off for a headache, and Lou Gherig played 1st for the next 2,130 consecutive games until “The Iron Horse” retired due to ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) also commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease. Tom Brady “pipped” Drew Bledsoe years ago, and Dak Prescott did the same to Tony Romo last season.

I read a whole lot about this confusing tale, but the article Wally Pipp’s Career-Ending ‘Headache’ by Snopes founder David Mikkelson is quite simple a tour de force of the twists and turns in one of our biggest American sports legends that has been told and retold in print and screen. There’s a ton to read including the newspaper clippings and I recommend you do so, but let’s skip to Mikkelson’s conclusion:

After winning three straight American League pennants between 1921-23, the Yankees finished a couple of games off the pace in 1924 as the Washington Senators captured their first flag ever. New York expected to regain the top spot in 1925, but that was the year Babe Ruth’s excesses finally caught up with him.

…With Ruth either missing or too weak to play effectively, and some key players slumping … New York tumbled to a dismal seventh-place finish (in an eight-team league) in 1925. With his team already near the bottom of the standings and eleven games under the .500 mark at the beginning of June, manager Miller Huggins decided to shake up his line-up and replace some of his slumping veterans with younger players. Contemporaneous news accounts leave no doubt that Wally Pipp did not sit out the game on 2 June 1925 with a headache; he was deliberately benched by a manager who had charge of a team that was playing poorly and who opted to sit down some of his older players to give others a try.

In the case of Wally Pipp there was no inopportune headache, no “delightful and romantic story” — just a case of a slumping player who lost his job to an up-and-comer and never got it back. But his replacement was the stuff of legend (the indestructible ballplayer finally felled by a fatal disease), and so he became part of a legend that mixed fact and fiction and grew so large even some of the participants came to believe in its fictional aspects.

Via Mental FlossBleacher Report, and Wikipedia, I can report that Pipp was raised in Grand Rapids, was hit in the head with a hockey puck as a child that he attributed his headaches to, and played his first pro baseball for (seriously) the Kalamazoo Celery Champs. Pipp was one of the best first basemen of his era, hitting .281 with 90 HRs, 997 RBI and 1,941 hits. After retiring in 1928, Pipp played the market, wrote some radio scripts and books including as Babe Ruth’s ghostwriter, and did a pregame baseball show for the Detroit Tigers. He worked in a Michigan plant that made B-24 bombers during WWII and worked as a sales exec for the Rockford Screw Products Corporation. Mental floss concludes: Pipp went from playing first for the Yankees to peddling screws and bolts—and he loved it. Armed with the gift of gab and endless baseball stories, Pipp spent the rest of his life selling wares to Detroit’s auto hotshots. He passed away in 1965. (at the age of 71)

View the photo from Woodlawn Cemetery in Grand Rapids background big and see more in PPWWIII’s slideshow.

Alley Adventures, Grand Rapids Edition

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Alley Adventures, photo by Jerry James

Jerry writes Tonight’s image is brought to you by the darker side of reality. Things are not always sunsets and rainbows. Shot taken with the Olympus EM5 Mark II and the Rokinon 7.5mm fisheye in grand rapids, Michigan

View his photo bigger, view work and read his thoughts on his website, and definitely check out Jerry’s slideshow for more!

Jennie F. Clauson saw the world change

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Jennie F. Clausen, photo by Marty Hogan

View Marty’s photo background big and see more in his Michigan Burying Grounds slideshow.

The December 7th anniversary of Pearl Harbor is one of the sign posts in American history. Marty writes that in nearly a century, Jennie F. Clauson from Grand Rapids, Michigan saw a world change. Here’s the entirety of his post:

Continue reading Jennie F. Clauson saw the world change

A tragic reminder for drivers from Kalamazoo

I sincerely hope that everyone who reads today’s post remembers that three-quarters of all bicycle fatalities are caused by driver error. It’s your duty as a driver to PAY ATTENTION as you pilot a several thousand pound machine that can become a deadly weapon if you are not vigilant. I would also add that I am in no mood today to hear about the cases where cyclists violate the rules of the road. That does not happen in 3/4 of car/bike fatalities including this one…

Grand Rapids Ghost Bike

Ghost Bike, photo by Patrick Goff 

Today’s picture shows a ghost bike, a white-painted memorial for a bicyclists who was killed or struck while riding on the street. Accompanied by a small plaque, they serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place at their location and as enduring statements in support of cyclists’ right to safe travel.

The city of Kalamazoo now has need for a host of ghost bikes after the deadly bicycle crash on Tuesday, June 7, 2016 where five bicyclists died when a pickup truck hit them on Westnedge Avenue. Four more cyclists were seriously injured. That link has photos from last night’s Ride of Silence and also the horrible damage to the bikes.

Kalamazoo Strong is taking donations to help the victims and families of this tragedy.

View Patrick’s photo of a ghost bike from Grand Rapids bigger and see more in his slideshow.

Here’s a video from the Ride of Silence…

Grand Rapids skyline

Grand Rapids Skyline

Grand Rapids skyline, photo by rdmegr

Rodney smoothed out the rapids of the Grand River with this eight minute exposure of the Grand Rapids skyline.

View it bigger, see more in his slideshow, and also check out his website.

More from Grand Rapids on Michigan in Pictures.

Sixth Street Bridge in Grand Rapids

Built for Horses Sixth Street Bridge Grand Rapids

Built for Horses, photo by Rudy Malmquist

News that the Michigan Department of Transportation is testing drones for bridge inspection reminded me that I was asked to share more of were “bridges other than than the Mackinac Bridge.”

Historicbridges.org is an excellent resource, and their entry for the Sixth Street Bridge in Grand Rapids begins:

The Sixth Street Bridge, with its long 544 foot length excellent physical condition, is a fitting tribute to its builder, the Massillon Bridge Company of Massillon Ohio. Constructed in 1886, this bridge is made of wrought iron. This bridge is one of the most important historic bridges in the entire state of Michigan, since it is the longest pin-connected highway truss in the state. Also, Michigan only has a few truss bridges that are more than one span in length, and most of those are two spans. A four span bridge in Michigan is thus extremely rare for its unusually long length, for Michigan. The bridge is also significant for the length of its individual spans. The bridge has three spans that are 154 feet in length. This is a very long span length for a pin-connected Pratt truss, and is among the longest in Michigan.

…Construction of the bridge began in 1885, when the piers and abutments were constructed. These, with approaches, cost $11,084.95. The wrought iron truss superstructure was erected in 1886 by the Massillon Bridge Company of Massillon, Ohio, costing $20,281. This made the total cost of the bridge $31,365.95.

Read on for much more.

Rudy adds that this is the oldest metal bridge in Michigan. View his photo bigger and see more in his Neutral Density slideshow.

More bridges on Michigan in Pictures.

A toast to Beer City USA … and tourism in West Michigan

Grand Rapids Brewing Co

Beer City USA, photo by Rudy Malmquist

“Being Beer City USA has definitely helped out our business. We got a lot more tourist people than we did the first year. It’s unbelievable how many people you start talking to and they’re from out of town.
~Eric Karns, Elk Brewing

WZZM TV 13 reports that 2015 was “best year ever” for tourism in West Michigan, and folks are crediting local beer, the booming art scene, and the Pure Michigan campaign for the growth in tourism:

The year 2015 was a record-breaking year for tourism across West Michigan, which means more money into the local economy.

In 2014, 113 million visitors to Michigan generated $37.8 billion dollars — and tourism supported 326,000 jobs in the state. Now, newly released numbers show that 2015 was an even better year for attracting visitors to places like Grand Rapids and the Lakeshore.

Click for more about Grand Rapids’ Beer City nod along with information about GR Beer Week (February 17- 28) which includes the sure to sell out Grand Rapids Winter Beer Fest.

View Rudy’s photo background bigilicious and click for more of his beer photos.