A Great Find in Poughkeepsie

There is an old time Italian deli on South Clover Street in downtown Poughkeepsie. Its been there for more than 40 years. There’s not much left of the old Italian neighborhood but this deli is spectacular, open 6 days and its all there. I picked up dinner last week and for desert I bought cannoli. Chicken Florentine, penne and vegetables.

Leave the gun and take the cannolis.

 

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More Forgotten Sports Figures. Philadelphia Story

I met a father and son from Philadelphia . The father was in his 70s and a proud son of the city of brotherly love. We got to talking and somehow I brought up two of the most famous athletes in Philadelphia history. He had heard of neither. Of course he knew Smoking Joe Frazier but had never heard of Vic Seixas or Lew Tendler.

Now for a year’s free subscription to the Millbrook Times, do you know who the latter two were?

Ok here we go:

Vic Seixas: who at 96 is still around

 

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Seixas in 1954
Full name Elias Victor Seixas Jr.
Country (sports)  United States
Born August 30, 1923 (age 96)
Philadelphia, United States
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Turned pro 1940
Retired 1970
Plays Right-handed (one-handed backhand)
Int. Tennis HoF 1971 (member page)
Singles
Career record 801-236 (77.2%) [1]
Career titles 49 [1]
Highest ranking No. 3 (ITHF)[2]
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open SF (1953)
French Open F (1953)
Wimbledon W (1953)
US Open W (1954)
Doubles
Career record 4–9
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open W (1955)
French Open W (1954, 1955)
Wimbledon F (1952, 1954)
US Open W (1952, 1954)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
French Open W (1953)
Wimbledon W (1953, 1954, 1955, 1956)
US Open W (1953, 1954, 1955)
Team competitions
Davis Cup W (1954)

 

 

Lew Tendler

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Tendler was a clever, left-handed boxer who was quick and had lots of “savvy”; He lost only 16 official verdicts in 172 contests, scored 39 knockouts during his career and is generally considered to be one of the finest fighters to never have won a world title; He is easily the greatest southpaw to never win one; Lew is considered by many to be the third greatest Jewish fighter of all time, behind only his arch-rival, Benny Leonard, and Barney Ross; In retirement, Tendler ran restaraunts in Atlantic City and in Philadelphia, which became a popular pre-fight hangout.

Here is a video from 1922 Lew Tendler against Benny Leonard. Notice how they shake hands before the fight! This video really shows what boxing used to be when it was still known as the sweet science.

“Lefty” Lew Tendler was an American boxer. He is generally considered one of the best boxers to never have won a world title, though he was a top rated contender for both the world light and welterweight championships.

Born: September 28, 1898, Philadelphia, PA
Died: November 5, 1970, Atlantic City, NJ
Height: 5′ 6″
Martial art: Boxing
Division: Welterweight, Lightweight, Bantamweight

Four Cats

There are four barn cats at the farm

Erlinda

Lily

Pearl

Blackie

Well they’re really not barn cats, they are under the front porch cats and hang around when not out hunting. Gerlinda Gray the alpha cat was rescued from the barn wall when she was a few months old. Nursed back to health after getting stuck for two weeks in the barn wall (plus $4,000 of vet bills) she is fat and very pushy, bosses the other cats around and sneaks into the house when you leave the door open for a second. Once inside,spoiled rotten.

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Avid readers of this blog may recall the great Blackstone, who left the farm some years ago and traveled extensively. He is now down at a neighbor’s where his main efforts involve moving from the bed to the sun porch. He still reminisces about his youth and travels. He is fat and old but in his day he was known as Blackstone of the death squad, always alert and ready to pounce.

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New Hope for a Running Career

July 15, 2017 at 8:53 p.m. EDT

Watch your back, Usain Bolt — there’s a new 100-meter dash superstar and she looks unstoppable.

Meet 101-year-old Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins, who on Saturday became the oldest female athlete to ever compete in the USA Track and Field Outdoors Masters Championships. Not only that, but by running the 100 meters in 40.12 seconds, she shaved more than six seconds off the current certified world record for women aged 100 or older.

Astonishingly, that wasn’t even a personal best. This month, at the National Senior Games in Birmingham, Ala., Hawkins ran the dash in 39.62 seconds. If either of those times get certified in December, she will become the official world-record holder.

And to think, she may have missed her shot at making track and field history if she opted to follow her original plans for the day.

“[I] missed my nap for this,” she said (via USATF) on Saturday at the event at Louisiana State University, not far from where Hawkins lives in Baton Rouge.

Hawkins is a natural talent. An avid bicyclist, she said she only began training for track and field last year.

“I’m always outside and the phone always rings, and I come running in is how I knew I could run,” she told The Post last month.

Hawkins, who was born in Wisconsin in 1916, said she likes “the feeling of being independent,” as well as the challenge. She also likes impressing her family, which includes the four children she had with her late husband, Murray, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

“Having a momma that can do this pleases them, and it pleases me to please them,” the former schoolteacher said.

Today, Hawkins spends most of her waking hours being active (no surprise). Along with running and cycling, she’s an avid gardener.

She’s also humble.

Asked about how she thought her race went on Saturday, she told the Advocate, “This time I wasn’t feeling like I was going that fast.”

Some Sports History

Below a letter I received from my nephew who is a professor of media history at the University of Maine. He worked for CNN covering the Olympics three or four times and met some interesting people. For those who don’t know he is referring to Saduhara Oh the Babe Ruth of baseball in Japan. 
Interesting. I met Oh at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, and actually worked with him (passed him information/stats while he was doing Olympic baseball TV coverage during Japan games). It was more the way everyone in the press box treated him – the whole place sort of came to a halt each time he arrived and everyone looked at him. My other memory of him is that he wasn’t very tall (I’d guess 5’7″) but he was an absolute brick of a human – he was built like Barney Rubble. Totally square, with broad shoulders and a huge barrel chest.  He was very friendly, shook everyone’s hands, signed autographs, and posed for photos.
The other big memory of those games was about the Cuban third baseman Omar Linares.  He was probably the best 3rd baseman on the planet, but stuck in Castro’s Cuba and a real lifer – there was no way he was going to defect (they threw anybody suspect off the team anyway).  Scouts from the Phillies, Braves and Expos finagled there way into the press box and begged me to get them press passes to the mixed zone (athlete/media – for media interviews only) so they could speak with him. He could’ve made millions on the spot. I didn’t do anything because I was afraid I’d be fired if I got them in. But I was in the mixed zone once a few days later, and in the tunnel Linares was loudly arguing with a few Japanese people. From what I could tell, he kept telling them he needed more and more boxes of Mizuno cleats – and they didn’t have them. What stuck with me was that here was a guy begging his team’s sponsor for shoes who could’ve been making millions and millions if he wanted to figure out a way to defect.

Frank Blefari- Gone to a Better Place

Frank Blefari a friend of 35 years, maybe more, died this morning after a long struggle with pulmonary fibrosis. Frank owned Heritage Automotive Restorations in Pawling New York. He was a genius at his trade, the rebuilding and restoring of antique cars and building hot rods.

Everything he touched and worked on had the artist’s touch. On the walls of his shop are pictures of maybe 100 cars he restored most for customers but some for himself.

One of his customers from Quaker Hill was an artist. Frank asked him to show him how to paint pictures. Frank became a skilled artist quickly surpassing his artist customer. He came from Stamford Connecticut and his whole life was based on love of cars, everything from a 1912 Cadillac to a 1932 hot rod roadster. When I asked him how the rod had done at a show. He said it has never gotten anything less than first place.

I went to see him last Friday, a hospice nurse was with  him and he didn’t know I had come. He passed away this morning and his girl friend Karen called me. Rest in Peace Frank.

 

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Latest News of the Great Blackstone

For those who follow this blog, the big black and white cat Blackstone again disappeared after taking up temporary residence here at the farm. Our neighbor Betsy sent the following email:

Dear Peter,
I am reading The Millbrook Times, and it seems November 11th is missing, so I started scrolling down and see your your article about Blackstone.
Ken and Betty asked us to take Blackstone because, apparently, he had not eaten “since Aunt Rosy went to the Fountains, 2 1/2 months ago”.  Jeff and I went to the Andrews’ and easily put the skinny Blackstone in a crate and brought him to our barn.
He started in the barn, then started to follow us to the house. Now, he sleeps on the bed in the master bedroom all day long and in the sunporch all night. You can see from the photo that he is a little plumper than before. I feel like he came here to “retire”. How old is he anyway?
We took him to the Vet and got him some shots and de-wormer medicine, etc.  Amazing that the leader of the Death Squad came here to play shuffleboard!  We let him out all the time and he never strays far. Always back in 2 minutes.
Too funny. Let me know how you feel about him being here. We are enjoying him but certainly not trying to keep him from you!

Blackstone has become a fat cat in every sense of the word. I have no intention of taking away from his life of leisure but I can’t guarantee he won’t show up one day as he was always a traveling man.

 

1912 Model T Ford and a Strange Story

About 30 maybe 40 years ago I met a guy named Mr. Gardner, he lived in Clinton Corners. He knew I had a model A and was interested in cars. He showed me his garage. It had a beautifully restored 30 or 31 deluxe roadster and another car which I have never forgotten. It was a 1912 Model T brass roadster in perfect condition. He was not a seller and at the time I didn’t have the dough or the time to try to put together enough for a real offer. What I do remember was that the T had a brass plate on the wooden firewall that said John Van Benschoten who was a Ford dealer in Poughkeepsie on Catherine Street.
Fast forward to yesterday. Bill Shanks who tows cars called to tell me there was a guy who owns a body shop in Salt Point who had a 1940 Pontiac Woodie in great shape for sale. I went over and looked at it and the car was mostly pieces and an enormous amount of not only wood work but mechanical also. I told him I would let him know if I found someone who wanted to tackle it but it was too much for me.
We then got to talking as car guys often do, he had sold me a VW bug about 7 years ago that I restored. I told him that I was going to put an ad in Vintage Model T magazine to see if I could locate the Van Benschoten T as Gardner had sold the property years ago and the new owner who I knew, had no idea what had become of the rare Model T.
The guy that owned the body shop said “Let me show you some other cars I have.” Well you may have guessed it and the pictures below will tell you the rest of the story. I made it very simple. I know you don’t want to sell it,
but if you ever do, I’m a buyer.
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November 11, 1918

My brother is 9 years older than I am. He is retired and writes poems. He sends them out by email every Sunday morning but today he sent the below, it speaks for itself about my father who was in both the First and Second World War. Sgt. Krulewitch was in a trench in France on his 23rd birthday November 11 , 1918.

 

November 11-18, 2018

A Century’s Wars

 

I’m not good at birthdates

but have always remembered my stepfather’s,

for his was the day

the Great War ended.

We have a photo of him in France,

on a hill overlooking the Rhine,

a tall, clean-shaven, young marine

in breeches, boots and campaign hat

hands on hips, legs spread,

seeming to tower like a monument

over the river’s far bank.

 

There’s another photo of him,

on Saipan,

carbine in hand,

soiled battle fatigues,

helmet with chin strap hanging open,

looking smaller than I’d ever seen him look.

That was the day his friend’s son died there,

a friend he’d carried from a battlefield in France.

 

Big Six

I sometimes worry that things I heard when I was very young will be lost because at my age those things are now in such a distant past that few will remember or care. But as 100 years have passed since my father was in a trench in France when the Armistice was signed I thought I would write about Big 6.

There is a town in Eastern Pennsylvania, Factoryville, which was the home of Christie Matheson. It is on Route 6 which was the main road East-West through Northern Pennsylvania at a time when oil was the king in the Keystone State.

Now Big Six was the nickname for the great New York Giant pitcher Christy Matheson.

Here is some information about him

Christy Mathewson
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Pitcher
Born: August 12, 1880
Factoryville, Pennsylvania
Died: October 7, 1925 (aged 45)
Saranac Lake, New York
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 17, 1900, for the New York Giants
Last MLB appearance
September 4, 1916, for the Cincinnati Reds
MLB statistics
Win–loss record 373–188
Earned run average 2.13
Strikeouts 2,502
Managerial record 164–176
Winning % .482
Teams
As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction 1936
Vote 90.7% (first ballot)
Christy Mathewson
Career information
Position(s) Fullback
College Bucknell
High school Keystone Academy
Career history
As player
1898 Greensburg A. A.
1902 Pittsburgh Stars
Career highlights and awards
  • Pittsburgh Stars 1902 Championship team
Military career
Allegiance United States United States
Service/branch United States Army seal U.S. Army
Years of service 1918–1919
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Captain
Unit Chemical Warfare Service
1st Gas Regiment
Battles/wars World War I
Western Front

Christopher Mathewson (August 12, 1880 – October 7, 1925), nicknamed “Big Six“, “The Christian Gentleman“, “Matty“, and “The Gentleman’s Hurler“, was a Major League Baseball (MLB) right-handed pitcher who played 17 seasons with the New York Giants. He stood 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall and weighed 195 pounds (88 kg). He was among the most dominant pitchers in baseball history, and ranks in the all-time top ten in several key pitching categories, including wins, shutouts, and ERA.[1] In fact, he is the only professional pitcher in history to rank in the top ten both in career wins and in career ERA, if taking 19th century pitchers statistics into account.[2] Otherwise, both Mathewson and Walter Johnson would hold that distinction.[3] In 1936, Mathewson was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame, as one of its first five members.

Mathewson grew up in Factoryville, Pennsylvania, and began playing semiprofessional baseball when he was 14 years old. He played in the minor leagues in 1899, recording a record of 21 wins and two losses. He pitched for the New York Giants the next season but was sent back to the minors. He would eventually return to the Giants and go on to win 373 games in his career, a National League record. He led the Giants to victory in the 1905 World Series by pitching three shutouts. Mathewson never pitched on Sundays, owing to his Christian beliefs. Mathewson served in the United States Army‘s Chemical Warfare Service in World War I, and was accidentally exposed to chemical weapons during training. His respiratory system was weakened from the exposure, causing him to contract tuberculosis, from which he died in Saranac Lake, New York in 1925.

What isn’t mentioned in this bio was that his battery mate was Roger Bresnahan who was Irish and was known as the Rose of Tralee, a fact you can use as you wish.

So if you want to pass this story on to some youngster who loves the game you may also tell him Jacques Barzun’s famous quote Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball, the rules and realities of the game — and do it by watching first some high school or small-town teams.