Attics can be treasure troves—especially attics of older relatives. A recent attic visit turned up some true treasures worth sharing.
For some folks, “treasure” means gold and jewels. This column isn’t for those folks, but rather for those who appreciate historical treasures. The treasures I found included baseball, basketball, and hockey cards from 40-50 years ago. These are indeed jewels to a sports guy, even if they aren’t significant to incurious dullards who think history is boring.
In looking through the baseball material I hoped to find a century-old Honus Wagner card which would be worth a million bucks. But instead I found the likes of Craig Swan, Mike Lum, and Kurt Bevacqua, all worth a good deal less than a Wagner. (But I’m willing to part with my newly discovered Kurt Bevacqua card, if anyone wants to make an offer. Bidding starts at $1000.)
Likewise for the Joe Caldwell NBA basketball card, which indicated that Jumping Joe averaged over 16 points per game for the 1968 St. Louis Hawks.
But a true treasure was an October 9, 1934 Boston Post newspaper. It only cost two cents, but that was a lot of money during the Depression, as my grandfather always pointed out. The main headline was DAFFY DEAN TIES UP SERIES; WINS 4-3. The lead story was about how the St. Louis Cardinals tied up the World Series at three games apiece with a win in Detroit against the Tigers. The Gas House Gang Cardinals would win that World Series with an 11-0 Game 7 triumph that very October 9.
The sports headline overshadowed a lesser headline about Bruno Hauptman, who’d earlier been arrested and charged with the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby. Still another headline read NAB BLONDE AND MAN IN CAB HOLDUP.
I found another old newspaper, one from my lifetime, a Nov. 23, 1963 Boston Record American—which cost eight cents. The headline brought back awful memories, memories that still haunt anyone around 60 years of age or older.
PRESIDENT SLAIN BY ASSASSIN.
Even 53 years later, the memory still sears, as the President of the United States belongs to all of us, regardless of party. Hopefully our country will never go through such a trauma again. After revisiting the then-fresh details of the president’s murder, I naturally turned to the sports pages. The main story was about Harvard-Yale football.
The Boston Patriots were 5-5-1 in the AFL East—they’d finish 7-6-1 to make their only AFL title game, where they were crushed by San Diego Chargers. But that weekend’s game against Buffalo would be postponed, out of deference to the late president. The NFL would go ahead and play that Sunday anyway, with players who didn’t care performing before half-empty stadiums with fans who really didn’t much care either, what with the president’s death. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle would later say that going ahead with football that weekend was the worst mistake he ever made.
The NFL standings showed the Giants and Bears leading their respective divisions. They’d later meet in the NFL title game in Chicago, where quarterback Y.A. Tittle’s New Yorkers would lose 14-10.
I also checked the other standings and found the Boston Celtics were 12-1 and atop the four-team Eastern Division of the nine-team NBA. The Boston Bruins were 3-10-2 and in last place in the six-team NHL.
The top movie playing was “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” with a true all-star cast, led by Spencer Tracy.
Eventually I put the old newspapers away. While history is fascinating, one can’t live in the past. We also need to look forward.
But I couldn’t help but wonder if this very Weirs Times might someday be found in a Granite State attic. Will whoever finds it marvel at how little it cost? (Even less than the 1934 Post or the 1963 Record American—or the six bucks I recently paid for the Sunday New York Times.)
Whoever finds this paper years from now will know how things worked out under President Trump. Or will it be President Hillary? Or President ????
And maybe they’ll find some baseball cards as well. Kurt Bevacqua should be worth a million bucks by then!
What was the nickname for the NHL team that played in Cleveland during the mid-seventies? (Answer follows)
Born Today …
That is to say, sports standouts born on March 31 include Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight champion (1878).
“Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he’s losing; nobody wants you to quit when you’re ahead.” – Jackie Robinson
Michael Moffett is a Professor of Sports Management at Plymouth State University and at NHTI-Concord. He recently co-authored the critically-acclaimed and award-winning “FAHIM SPEAKS: A Warrior-Actor’s Odyssey from Afghanistan to Hollywood and Back” (with the Marines)—which is available through Amazon.com. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.