Sep 26, 2013

The Roof, The Roof, The Roof Is On Fire...

Impromptu team photo in the parking lot after the roof of the building caught fire.

Sep 23, 2013

The Steak n' Egger

The Steak n' Egger
Bloomsburg Fair - Bloomsburg, PA
This is a a sandwich of steak and bacon with fried eggs between two thick pieces of buttered Texas Toast, and it's marketed with The Terminator.  It's things like this that make the Bloomsburg Fair my favorite place to eat.

Sep 10, 2013

A Winner In Hazleton

Hugh Mulcahy
Hazleton Mountaineers (1936)
In my research for the 100th birthday of "Losing Pitcher", I came across this 1939 Play Ball card that mentioned that Mulcahy pitched in my hometown for most of the 1936 season.

Hazleton is not a very large city, but it had an off-and-on presence in minor league baseball from 1887 to 1950 which included the Hazleton Mountaineers.  According to Baseball America, the franchise got its start after Star Park in Syracuse fell down and the Syracuse Stars of the Class A New York-Penn League relocated to Hazleton.  The Hazleton Mountaineers were an affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies from 1934 to 1936, and Mulcahy was a pitching prospect who was optioned to Hazleton at the start of the 1936 season.

While his major league career may have been defined by losses, Hugh Mulcahy was phenomenal with the Hazleton Mountaineers.  The 22 year old finished the 1936 season with a record of 25-14 and won the league MVP award.

He may have been a losing pitcher in the big leagues, but he'll always be an ace in Hazleton.

April 13, 1936 - Standard Sentinel

April 29, 1936 - Standard Sentinel

September 8, 1936 - Standard Sentinel

October 8, 1936 - Standard Sentinel

Sep 9, 2013

Losing Pitcher Turns 100

Hugh Mulcahy
Philadelphia Phillies (1935 - 1946)
Right handed pitcher Hugh Mulcahy was born 100 years ago today.  He is best known for having the unfortunate nickname of "Losing Pitcher" during his time in the National League.

In 1938, Mulcahy led the league with 20 losses pitching for a Phillies club that went 45-105.  Despite having a record of 10-20 with a 4.61 ERA, he finished 25th in the NL MVP voting.  He didn't have the most losses for the 1939 season when he finished 9-16, but he did lead the league in earned runs allowed, wild pitches and hit batsmen.  The 1940 season was simultaneously his most successful and least successful season.  He was named to the National League All-Star Team and he once again received MVP votes, but he also reclaimed his crown as the league leader in losses, finishing the season with a record of 13-22.

He managed to avoid leading the league in losses for the next five seasons after being drafted to fight in World War 2 just before the start of the 1941 season.  In fact, he was the first MLB player to be drafted to fight in the war.  He didn't come back to baseball until the war was over in 1945.  He pitched in parts of three more seasons in the big leagues, two with the Phillies and one with the Pirates.  He ended his Major League career with a record of 45-89, never once pitching a season in which he had more wins than losses.

Sep 5, 2013

The World's Largest Pinball Game

Atari Inc. (1979)
The Guinness Book of World Records Museum on Clifton Hill has a display set up for the largest pinball machine in the world.  Hercules was the last pinball machine released by Atari.  It came out in 1979 and is nearly seven foot tall, 39 inches wide and has an eight foot deep playing surface.  An average pinball machine is about 28 inches wide with depth of four and a half feet, so the Hercules isn't just big, it's massive.

Atari only manufactured about 400 Hercules machines, and it's difficult to say how many have survived until today.  The one at the museum is in very nice condition and cost $2 Canadian to play.

A Peel Without Appeal

Peelin' Pops
Nestle (2013)
Every once in a while, we get a call, email or social media post at work from a consumer who asks where they can find the banana flavored ice cream pop that has a peel you can eat.  It's available in a few countries, but the United States isn't one of them.  Thankfully, Canada is, and I found them at a gift shop after we went on the Journey Behind The Falls.

I'm glad I got to try it, but they're nothing to write home about.  The peel is kind of slimy and flavorless, and the frozen dairy dessert on the inside isn't much better.  They're not very big, although I'm not sure that you want them to be after the first bite, and before you start to peel the outer shell, it looks sort of like a tampon applicator.  That last part really doesn't really make the thing any worse, but I found it to be pretty amusing.

While I'm in Canada, I'm going to stock up on Coffee Crisps to bring back home, but I think I'll leave the Peelin' Pops for the folks up north.

House Of Wax

Louis Tussaud's Waxworks
Clifton Hill - Niagara Falls, Ontario
I've never been to a wax museum before.  To be honest, it's not really my kind of thing, but it was part of a combo ticket deal for the Ripley's Museum and the Ripley's Moving Theater which we both wanted to go to, so what the hell.  I had a good time.  It's not something I'd necessarily rave about, but I'm happy that I got to see it.  Here are some of the movie and horror-themed displays:

King Kong Conquers Ontario

Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum
Clifton Hill - Niagara Falls, Ontario
We've been to the Ripley's Museum in Atlantic City a few times, so we couldn't pass up the opportunity to stop at one north of the border.  The building itself is pretty hard to believe.  It's built to look like a skyscraper that has collapsed onto its side with King Kong on top.  Compared to this, the Upside Down House almost looks normal.  Here are some photos of the inside:

The Sheraton Has Stiff Competition

Upside Down House
Clifton Hill - Niagara Falls, Ontario
This was a little too expensive for our budget, but I'm glad that I got to see the outside.  They really ought to consider getting the rights to play Dancing On The Ceiling by Lionel Richie.

Frankenstein's Whopper

Burger King
Clifton Hill - Niagara Falls, Ontario
This may be the most awesome Burger King I've ever seen.  It's right next door to The House of Frankenstein, a haunted house centered around Mary Shelley's epic creation.  The King has partnered with the attraction by adding a massive statue of Frankenstein's Monster crashing through the roof of the restaurant to show off the Whopper that he's enjoying.

Overall, I have to say that I have fallen completely in love with Clifton Hill.  This is the closest thing I've found to the boardwalk in Wildwood, NJ since I was a kid in the 80's.

"Beware; for I am flame broiled and therefore powerful."

A Canadian Breakfast

Canadian Specialty Breakfast
Clifton Hill Family Restaurant - Niagara Falls, Ontario
I have no idea if this is a traditional Canadian breakfast or if it's the Clifton Hill Family Restaurant's version of the All-American Slam from Denny's.  What I do know is that it was absolutely delicious!

Clifton Hill Family Restaurant - 4945 Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls, ON

Sep 2, 2013

Drink Pepsi For Mas Beisbol

These Pepsi Cola labels were on display at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown.  They're from a 2006 marketing promotion in Venezuela that featured several players, including two former Phillies: Bobby Abreu and Freddy Garcia.

Forever Branded

Home Run Ball: #756*
National Baseball Hall Of Fame - Cooperstown, NY
This is the baseball that steroid user Barry Bonds hit off of Washington Nationals lefty Mike Bacsik on August 7th, 2007 to pass* Hank Aaron for most career home runs.  It was purchased at an auction by Ecko Unltd founder Marc Ecko who put the ball's fate up to a vote on the internet.  Fans could either vote to send the ball to Cooperstown intact, launch the ball into outer space, or burn an asterisk into the baseball before sending it to the Hall Of Fame.

More than ten million votes were cast, and the asterisk won with 47% of the vote.  So, here it will sit forever in a display case in Cooperstown, New York as a constant reminder that the 2007 home run record is fraudulent, and the true Home Run King is Mr. Henry Aaron... until someone breaks that record honestly, instead of using performance enhancing drugs to cheat the game.

Chasing The Dream

Hank Aaron: Chasing The Dream
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (2013)
The Hall of Fame has an entire wing dedicated to the man who I believe to be the greatest baseball player who ever lived: "Hammerin" Hank Aaron.

Hank Aaron should have been the first person to be unanimously inducted into the Hall Of Fame.  He did get in on his first year of eligibility in 1982 when he was named on 97.83% of the ballots.  Quite frankly, I feel like the sportswriters who refused to name him on their ballots should have had their Hall Of Fame voting privileges revoked, because there is no valid excuse whatsoever to have not selected him.

When Aaron retired, he was the all-time home run king.  Many fans (myself included) argue that he is still the legitimate all-time home run king, as his achievements were earned, not accomplished as a result of steroid abuse.  Setting that aside, his career accomplishments tend to get overshadowed by the 755 home runs he smashed in his career.  Most of the fans I've spoken to over the years didn't realize that he was a member of the 3,000 hit club, let alone that he is the all-time hits leader for a right handed batter and the third most overall (behind only Ty Cobb and Pete Rose).  Here's a short list of Aaron's other achievements:
  • Most hits by a right handed batter: 3,771
  • Most intentional walks by a right handed batter: 293
  • Most career extra-base hits: 1,467
  • Most career RBI: 2,297
  • Most career total bases: 6,856
  • Most seasons with 100 or more runs: 15
  • Most consecutive seasons with 150 or more hits: 17
  • Most seasons as a member of the All-Star Team: 21
  • Most All-Star Game appearances: 25  (there were two All-Star Games played per season from 1959-1962)
Hank Aaron's uniform (I don't remember what year or game this is from).
Hank Aaron's championship ring from the 1957 World Series.
The NL MVP award that Hank Aaron won in 1967.
Hank Aaron got his 3000th hit on May 17, 1970 off of Cincinnati Reds pitcher Wayne SimpsonSimpson was an All-Star that season who went on to pitch for the Phillies in 1975Aaron has the third most career hits of all time, behind only Ty Cobb and Pete Rose.
Hank tied The Babe on April 4th, 1974 when he hit a three run homer off of Cincinnati Reds pitcher Jack Billingham.
This was the last base Hank Aaron touched before passing Babe Ruth for the most career home runs of all time.  It took place on April 8th, 1974 in a game between the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers.  Aaron's record breaking homer was hit off of Al Downing in the bottom of the 4th to tie the score at 3-3.
This is the ball Hank Aaron hit for his last career home run.  It was hit on July 20th, 1976 when he was the designated hitter for the Milwaukee Brewers.  It was hit off of California Angels pitcher Dick Drago, whose name sounds like someone who would challenge Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship in the 80's.