In LA Times writer Bill Plaschke's June 20 piece on the death of Larry Doby, the second African American to enter the Major Leagues, the columnist accused the media and historians of ignoring Doby when it mattered most—when he was still alive. At first calling Doby a "man who was never properly introduced in the public eye," Plaschke later writes that, "alone is how he remained. History has properly lauded [Jackie] Robinson as a pioneer, but it has treated Doby shamefully, as if he hadn't even been there." Plaschke also ripped "the writers" for not getting Doby admitted to Cooperstown until 39 years after his retirement. A Lexis-Nexis database search suggests this is the first time Plaschke ever wrote about Doby. (Anthony Pignataro)
Did you know Reggie Jackson (himself part Latino) was once married to Jovita Campos, who today teaches at a Costa Mesa school? I didn't, but baseball writer Tim Wendel, author of The New Face of Baseball, did. He spoke last Saturday at Santa Ana's Librera Martnez, but only two baseball fans showed, mostly because his appearance coincided with the Dodgers killing the Angels at Chavez Ravine. The tiny turnout didn't sour Wendel's spirits as he talked at length about his history-of-Latinos-in-baseball book and allowed the two-hour chat to veer in many delicious directions. Bookstore baron Reuben Martnez reminisced about seeing former New York Yankees Don Larsen and Billy Martin in the Arizona minor leagues during the late 1940s while Wendel raved about the fastball of Cal State Fullerton junior closer Chad Cordero. Then Wendel scoffed at the notion Latinos will follow the Angels simply because new owner Arturo Moreno is Latino. At the end, while autographing a book for me, Wendel explained that Ted Williams' mom was Mexican. "I guess you can say he's now a frozen burrito," said one Latino fan. The five of us laughed even as we winced. (Gustavo Arellano)
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There was a time—a few weeks ago, actually—when we were like other Americans and enjoyed the wiener dog races at Los Alamitos. We'd head to the track and bet the rent on some sleek canine with triumph in her clear brown eyes. And after the dog lost and the crying stopped, my girlfriend and I would head back to our car and look for someone to give us a jumpstart. And that's when the real terror of wiener dog racing hit us: these dogs have been completely degraded. Once called the terreur de la bois franais, the ferocious wiener dog was bred in the 16th century to hunt wolves. During the Franco-Prussian war, Germans called wiener dogs der Froschenesserfresserhund—literally, "dog that feeds on frog-eaters," i.e., Frenchmen; the animals were withdrawn from service when the frontline troops realized they made excellent Vienna sausage, which is how they came to be known as wiener dogs (literally, "wiener dogs"). Today, the memory of a pack of these snarling, sausage-shaped hellhounds, blood dripping from their maws while they tear into French flesh, stands in stark contrast to real life at the track. Oh, we once thrilled as a crowd of wiener dogs thundered across the race course, paws pounding; and we admit to hoping that a nasty collision would ensue, producing a tangle of snout, tail and brown fur; and, yes, we might have occasionally precipitously fired our revolvers into the skulls of wounded beasts. But our point is the ravenous wiener dog that once roamed the wilds of Europe now dies when you hold it under water for more than 52 seconds and cannot live in the desert alone or survive a fall when dropped for scientific purposes from the top of the OC Weekly's World Headquarters. It is not even much good for its fur. There are still the sausages. (Todd Mathews)