This Week in Milford

May 18, 2022

Time, Limp!

Today’s baseball history lesson is the story of Jackie Hayes. Hayes, a shortstop on Wallace Wade’s Alabama Crimson Tide baseball team (yes, Wade coached baseball in addition to football at the time), got his start in the majors in 1928 as a utility infielder for the original AL Senators. Having been awarded the starting second base job for 1929 by the Nats’ new manager, future Hall-of-Famer Walter Johnson, Jackie would lose that job to Buddy Myer, a .300-plus hitter who Washington had reacquired after an ill-advised trade to the Red Sox. While Hayes was the better glove man, Myer was the better hitter and baserunner (he led the AL in stolen bases in ’28 for Boston and would win the AL batting crown in ’35 for Washington). After two more seasons playing sporadically for the Nats, Hayes was traded to the White Sox in a multi-player deal.

While still a great fielder, Hayes struggled with injuries on the South Side, including several beanings; in two seasons where he managed to stay healthy, he hit over .300. Things would take a turn for the worse during spring training 1940. After a shower one afternoon, he felt as if he had soap in his right eye. The next day his vision was blurry, and the club sent him back to Chicago for treatment. After several misdiagnoses and no relief from deteriorating vision, Jackie Hayes would be diagnosed with glaucoma.

Hayes wouldn’t give up. He played in a handful of games, but didn’t start for the first time until August 21 when, wearing a makeshift helmet with ear flaps and closing his right eye when he stepped into the batter’s box, he went 2-for-3. Hayes batted .195 in 18 games for the White Sox and retired after the 1940 season. He would go blind in his right eye soon thereafter and went completely blind in 1943, but he did manage to have a productive life after baseball, serving as a county tax collector and occasional visitor to local and regional schools for the blind as a motivational speaker. Still, Jackie Hayes will always be remembered as the first major league baseball player to wear a protective helmet.

The Hammer’s apparent obliviousness to the comebacker whizzing past his right ear made me wonder if wasn’t already completely blind in his right eye, which triggered my memories of Jackie Hayes. Wonder if Gil could track down one of those padded caps offered to MLB pitchers a few years ago for Gregg, the ones that made them look like the Great Gazoo. I think only Alex Torres ever wore one in a regular season game, so there’s probably a bunch lying around some equipment manager’s cage somewhere.

Finally catching a clue that something is wrong with the Hammer on the bump, Gil quickly tells the suddenly popular Morrison to hit the showers and wait for him with a loofah to get hot fast. Without adequate warmup, there’ll soon be another Mudlark pitcher out with an injury, and Gil’s 10-3 record will be gone quicker than you can say “lemonade on the back porch.” Of course Gil will lay into Gregg before realizing the true extent of the situation and turning his wrath to Papa Hamm. Why Kaz is being spared for letting Scooter Pie talk him out of fielding practice for the Hammer is beyond me, and yet another of the gaps in this plot as massive as the ones left after an infield shift.

May 16, 2022

Heather Burns Is Impressed

Filed under: actual action, baseball, freak hands, Gil Thorp, Mimi Thorp, New Thayer — nedryerson @ 8:35 pm

The Thorps are relaxing at home with some coffee and the morning paper. Hey Gil, your team is off to a ten and three start! Say, that’s pretty darn good. Yeah, Heather Burns thinks that’s hot! Oh no! My pinky is looking weird again and I can barely hold on to this supposed newspaper and neither one of us can focus our eyes, so let’s go back to bed until say, June. Sounds good. Wake me up when it’s time for lemonade.

Meanwhile, Half Blind Hamm is back on the bump against New Thayer. It’s a chopper to the left side. Is that good or bad for Hamm? As long as he’s not trying to field it, so what. Guys are going to hit choppers, and dribblers, and squibs, and grounders, and bloopers, and comebackers. It depends on what you do with them. We’ll find out what happens to the chopper later.

May 14, 2022

It takes two to lie: one to lie and the other to grow his sideburns.

I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get today’s post up, but I’ve been at an absolute loss as to how to spin it. This has surely got to be the tipping point for this strip, right?

There are no adults coaching the Milford High baseball team, are there? There are just male chaperones who just sit back and let the kids do whatever they want, up to and including not practicing? You notice we almost never see practices at Milford except as they’re ending, when the players are standing around listening to to adults or going over to watch their opposite-sex counterparts play a game? I’d bet Whigrub have no clue what goes on in a practice.

This is just beyond the realm of stupid. This is so asinine it makes me not want to nitpick the usual lack of attention to detail, like the uncolored lights on the school bus or the long day’s journey into night from Valley Tech to Milford. I will nitpick this: there is no way you can wear a cap backwards sitting in a car seat with headrests without knocking the cap off of your head.

Have at it, gentle readers. The more I look at today’s strip, the more it makes my head hurt.

May 13, 2022

More blind advice

Filed under: ?, baseball, Milford Idiots, Milford Weirdos — robmize2013 @ 8:34 pm

Well we got through another game with One- Eyed Jack fumbling around with balls hit to him; we have a new hero in Andy Morrison, whose name is so common I didnt bother googling him. Suffice to say he’s not Jim’s son. Although he could have been. (You figure he was born around 2005, Jim would have been 62 that year and Mick Jagger was 74 when he had his last kid 4 years ago. So its…possible…)

These guys wearing jeans — most baseball players wear athletic pants to their games. If not their uniforms. Im sure I saw our high school team on the road more then once and they wore their uniforms to the games. Damn it, they didnt retreat to a locker room after the game— they went from the bus to the dugout and back. Its not football. Baseball uniforms are very normal attire for a day. Whats with all the changing clothes anyway for a baseball game?? Where are all the uniforms? In their dinky backpacks?

And P3 we have One- Eyed Jack hoping Gil doesnt make him work on something in practice THAT HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN WORKING ON SINCE FREAKIN DAY ONE OF SPRING PRACTICE FOR AT LEAST A HALF HOUR EACH DAY. That way Gil could have figured out this dope cant see a drop of bird shit on home plate until he slips on it.

And of course Stat Boy has another brilliant idea to delay the inevitable reveal of OEJ’s vision problem. We’ll get a glimpse (no pun intended) of that tomorrow.

By then everyones uniform will have shrunk 2 sizes on the bus ride home.

May 11, 2022

“Know Who Else Had Trouble Handling Balls? My Mom!”

Filed under: actual action, Bad Jokes, baseball, talking hand, Valley Tech — teenchy @ 9:03 am

Today’s baseball history lesson is the story of Bert Shepard. Bert Shepard’s major league career lasted all of one game, a relief pitching stint for the Nationals/Senators on August 4, 1945 against the Red Sox. It was his journey to the bigs that made Bert’s career all the more memorable.

Shepard, a lefty, had played semipro and was playing sandlot ball when he was discovered and signed by the White Sox in 1939. He struggled with control problems, was released, finished high school, and then signed another pro contract in 1941, this time with the Cardinals. In their famed system, Bert again showed flashes of talent at the C and D level but still struggled with control. At the beginning of 1943, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, where he attended flight school, earned his pilot’s wings and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant. In early 1944, Shepard joined the 55th Fighter Group in England and was soon flying P-38 Lightnings over the continent.

On May 21, 1944, Bert was flying his 34th mission over Germany when, after having destroyed a train and an oil tank on a strafing run, his P-38 was taken down by flak. He was knocked unconscious when a shell grazed his chin and his plane hit the ground at full speed. Miraculously, Shepard wasn’t killed, but soon faced another threat when the angry German farmers who found him turned their pitchforks on him. A Luftwaffe doctor, Ladislaus Loidl, and two armed soldiers soon arrived at the scene and held back the farmers at gunpoint.

The Luftwaffe doctors amputated Shepard’s leg 11 inches below the knee. He was later transferred to a prison camp where a Canadian medic fashioned an artificial leg for him. Shepard began playing catch with a cricket ball and then resumed pitching a baseball. In February 1945, Bert was involved in a prisoner exchange and returned to the US. He began practicing baseball with some players from a local semipro team. Realizing that he was still able to throw his familiar pitches, Shepard became determined to resume his professional baseball career. Shepard went to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington to be fitted with a new prosthesis, where he was visited by Robert Patterson, the Undersecretary of War, who presented him with a commendation for his service, valor, and courage. Patterson asked Shepard what his goal was, and the former flyer replied he wanted to play baseball. Undersecretary of War Patterson called his good friend Clark Griffith, owner of the Senators, who then offered Shepard a tryout.

Griffith signed him to a major league contract, but had no intention of using him in a regular game, figuring to keep him around to serve as coach and batting practice pitcher. In addition to pitching BP Bert visited veteran’s hospitals, offering encouragement to other wounded veterans, and made a training film for amputees returning from the war. Finally on August 4, with the Nats down 14-2 in the top of the fourth, and the Red Sox with the bases loaded and two out, Washington manager Ossie Bluege brought Shepard in to try and stop the damage. The Nats were playing their fourth consecutive doubleheader, and an already thin pitching staff was getting battered by Boston. Shepard struck out the first batter he faced, George “Catfish” Metkovich. He stayed in the game and, for the remaining five innings, gave up only one run on three hits.

With the Nats battling the Detroit Tigers for the AL pennant in 1945, Bluege was reluctant to use Shepard again. His only other on-field highlight occurred on August 31 when he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross between games of a doubleheader. Washington released him on September 30; he was resigned in 1946 but, with the return of so many pleyrs from the war, Shepard failed to make the team and would never play in the majors again. He would, however, meet Ladislaus Loidl, the Luftwaffe doctor who saved his life, at his home in Austria in 1993.

The reason I’m posting the Bert Shepard Story is because, unlike Gregg Hamm, Shepard could field bunts.

Of course, you need to see bunts to be able to field them but, once fielded, you should be able to make the throw to first. Why Valley Tech baserunner feels the need to share his insights with Scooter is beyond me; he should have saved them for the bench. Now Scooter will have to come up with signals for the Milford infielders to play in for the bunts. His Nolan Ryan reference implies that the Hammmmer will start striking out a bunch of Techsters but still lose the game anyway.

Today’s post title, of course, a reference to Regular Show‘s Muscle Man, who never was able to get the mom joke format down pat.

May 9, 2022

Big Floppy Hats Are SO 2016

Filed under: actual action, baseball, Pantheon of Mysterious Objects, Valley Tech — nedryerson @ 6:14 pm

Remember when we thought we were going to get way more Scooter Borden than we could handle and possibly want to stab ourselves in the eyeholes with rusty farm implements? Well maybe I still feel that way, especially if Scooter’s going to use terminology like compadre, fired up and on the bump. But Scooter’s stupid jibba jabba has so far been nothing compared to the sheer, unrelenting monotony of Gregg Hamm’s old man, Mr. Incognito.

It looks like Ruth Hamm is getting tired of her husband’s crap, too. She’s clearly snarking at him about the measures he’s taking to avoid being identified in public. That would suggest that she doesn’t think it’s a matter of life and death if someone spots him watching his half blind kid on the bump. Maybe after another couple weeks of big, flappy hat talk, we’ll find out what the big mystery is, but I’m bored with it. I’d rather deliberate on the mystery of what the heck the thing is on the Hamm’s counter. Is he packing a lunch in a customized Bento box? Maybe he is going to put on a mask that he keeps in an old Steak & Shake carryout box.

Let’s watch some baseball, shall we. One would presume that we’re looking at a Valley Tech player attempting to lay down a bunt, but the colorists never know which end is up, so we can’t be sure. If it is a Valley Tech player at the plate, will blind Gregg kick the ball all over the infield or will one of the other infielders commit an error because he’s too distracted by Gregg’s dad in the stands sporting a big, floppy hat?

All I can think about are big, floppy hats.

May 6, 2022

A Hamm Hmph

Filed under: baseball, Pantheon of Hair, Pissy faced minor character, The Bucket — robmize2013 @ 7:50 pm

Im not sure who the girl is, perhaps the tennis player? Scooters girlfriend.. Anyhoo- they take the whole meal to discuss what we already have known for 2 weeks- Mr. Hamm doesnt like his picture shown. Curtis surmises he may be in the Witness Protection Program. Here’s more on exactly what that is:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Federal_Witness_Protection_Program

I think its way simpler then that, but we dont have enough facts to make a call just yet. All we have is him finishing something on his PC and his wife commenting about it:

Which brings us to P3 and the Hamms enjoying a glass of wine on the porch. I read the Gocomics comments and someone remarked that Mrs. Hamm had changed her hairstyle the same day from ponytail to bobcut. I disagree- she merely removed the rubberband that made the ponytail and let it hang down when she got home: Many women do that..

She also had clips in her hair in the panel from April 1 as an alternative to rubberbands to hold her long hair in place. (See 2 panels above)

But this is my favorite look for her: Looking good indeed.

The artist musta forgot how hot she was in this panel and went back to her other color, to my dismay. Ponytails always make you look fun.

So she doesnt seem too keen on her hubby hiding behind the cameras, for whatever reason, and I really hope the whole baseball season doesnt take a back seat to this. We have bigger fish to fry, like their sons eyes not working.

I’m sure Mrs Hamm approves of my song choice today:

May 4, 2022

From a Slick Stop to a Meal Stop

Time for a break from the Milford Witness Protection Program for some actual action.

Central tries to mount a late rally against the Mudlarks by putting on Milford’s uniforms and crowding the plate. This ruse fails as Gonzo Aceves gets the batter in disguise to ground into a game-ending double play. Surprising that Gil and Kaz left Gonzo in to pitch a complete game; maybe they were also too busy watching Mama Hamm take a bullet for Papa Hamm to pay attention to the action on the field.

Menawhile Marty’s in his crate, calling the game using the CB radio he pulled from under the dash of his car and taking notes using a carpenter’s pencil. Guess Marty got it from Heather that everyone’s calling Aceves “Gonzo” now. Though he and his butter knife are long gone The Mayor has left his mark, at least for the rest of this season.

Now it’s off for postgame junk food, either at Ricozzi’s or The Bucket. Will the Hammmmer walk into a pane of glass as he joins the rest of the team? Will Papa Hamm be stuffed in the trunk of the Hammmobile when Mama Hamm comes to pick Gregg up? Will Scooter be too busy bragging about the twin killing he turned to bore everyone to tears with baseball trivia? So much to anticipate for the rest of the week!

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