Remembrances of things past

Two for Tuesday with zzturk.

Very VERY few people remaining remember this factoid: Who's center field monument was first displayed (here in New York)?

Miller Huggins? no.
Babe Ruth? no.
Lou Gehrig? no.

But if that's all three, what am I missing?

Eddie Grant? Yes, Eddie Grant! No joke.

Before NY baseball got so consumed with itself that they elevated great players to the level of war heroes, there was Eddie Grant, a journeyman player with the NY GIants, who of course, played in the famous Polo Grounds, but who went off to fight in World War I (the war to end all wars? ... if only ...)

Grant may have been the first MLB casualty of that war (as far as I know).

After he retired from the Giants in 1915, Eddie used his law degree and opened a practice in Boston, near where he was born. But three years later, fate found Captain Grant in France's Meuse-Argonne Offensive where all of his superior officers were killed or wounded. He took command to search for "The Lost Battalion" where he was killed by an exploding shell in 1918.

Three years later, the lone monument in CF at the Polo Grounds was dedicated to Eddie Grant. Sad to say, when the Polo grounds closed in 1957 with the departure of the Giants, angry fans (and souvenir hunters) completely defaced the innards of the ballpark where countless greats played the game, and the monument and its plaque were not spared. But as of 2006, The SF Giants have a new plaque (no monument) at their new ball park.

For the last two weeks, tri-state people have suffered through the ravages of a storm that might seem like war, and incredibly, with all the pre-warnings, there were still around 50 casualties.

But this week also marks veterans, and the inhuman ravages that they witnessed personally, so I thought I'd segue into my tribute with this baseball anecdote.

I could spend time with a litany of Yankees who made their contributions to the war efforts, but I might inadvertently miss a few, and that would not be fair.

And that some of them might have had it easier than others is not their fault - that's the way the dice roll.

So I left it to the one person that made the ultimate sacrifice FIRST, as I leave it to readers to remember the veterans their own way.


MATSUIFAN INC. 2007