Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Frank Robinson - Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s

Frank Robinson

On this date in 1976, one of my boyhood heroes, Frank Robinson, played his last game as a major leaguer. He was the player-manager of the Cleveland Indians at the time, after a stellar career first with the Reds, then Baltimore, Dodgers and Angels. I was 8 years old when Robinson broke in with the Reds in 1956, winning Rookie of the Year honors. He was traded to Baltimore before the 1966 season, my senior year in high school. So, I literally grew up as a huge Frank Robinson fan, culminating in 1961, when he led the Reds to the World Series against the Yankees and was named the NL MVP, batting .323 with 37 home runs, 124 RBI’s and 22 stolen bases.

When the Reds traded Robinson to Baltimore on December 10, 1965, I, along with literally every other Reds fan, was totally devastated. The headlines in all the local papers decried the sad news.


The Reds desperately needed pitching, so traded for two pitchers and an outfielder, one of which was reliever, Jack Baldshun, a Greenville native, who went 1-5 with no saves in 57 innings during the 1966 season. The others didn’t perform much better; meanwhile, Robinson won the triple crown and led Baltimore to a World Series victory over the Dodgers! The trade is widely regarded as the worst in major league history - it sure was in my mind.

In 1982, Robinson entered the Hall of Fame, with an unthinkable Baltimore Orioles cap rather than one from the Reds, re-opening old wounds all over again!

Here’s several of Robinson’s baseball cards with each of the teams he played for. I do recall having his rookie card way back when, now long gone.


After managing Cleveland, Frank went on the manage San Francisco, Baltimore, Montreal and Washington, never having a winning season.


Robinson, 83, has served as Senior Adviser and Honorary President of the American League to Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred since ’15.

Bring back some more Frank Robinson memories by checking out this Home Run Derby segment from 1959.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Lost & Found - Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s

Lost & Found


Over Labor Day weekend, we traveled back home for a family photo and stayed with my wife’s mother in Russia. More on that in a minute. But first, since the Homecoming Festival was underway, we took the opportunity to spend an afternoon and evening there on Sunday. My brother-in-laws affectionately call it the Russia World’s Fair. Turns out my father-in-law, an uncle-in-law and two brothers-in-law have been event chairs and are included in this list of previous chairs since 1954.


We ran into many people our age we knew and many more younger people who looked somewhat familiar but were likely the children or grandchildren of those we knew way back when! Of course, the beer tent was a favorite place to meet old friends, one of which was the town Mayor, who kindly bought me a Wally Post Red beer, a favorite craft brew that I had written about in this past blog. Here's the Mayor's photo from a few year's ago. Thanks, Terry!

Here’s a collage of photos from past and present events:


The stay at my mother-in-law’s place was interesting in that during the course of our conversations, we learned that she had never seen her parent’s obituaries. So right on the spot, I used my phone to search google and found them in short order as shown below along with a photo of their gravestone My mother-in-law was so surprised my little iPhone had held what she had been looking for her entire life, as both of her parents had died when she was very young.


Here’s the 1919 wedding photo of her parents, William and Emma.


Living on the farm adjacent to my mother-in-laws parents were my grandparents, so upon their death, my grandmother, for all intents and purposes, “adopted" my mother-in-laws family of eight children, one of whom married my uncle. To this day, the family recalls fond memories of my grandmother, who incidentally had lost her husband, my grandfather, the year before Emma’s death. My grandmother was raising 14 children on her own as pictured below, so what’s the big deal with 8 more? Large families in those days were the norm - all the more to help around the farm.


Speaking of large families, here’s the photo of the 75 members of my wife’s family that was taken over the weekend.


My beautiful mother-in-law is right in the center!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Woodward Dream Cruise (cont’d) - Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s

Woodward Dream Cruise (cont’d)

When my wife described last week’s blog about the Woodward Dream Cruise to her Mother, the two reminisced about the summer of 1971 when we first dated. My 1969 Nova SS pictured in last week’s blog had a set of Trush mufflers installed that made it quite loud. My Mother-in-law recalls when I dropped off her daughter after a late night out, the car’s roar would wake her up, which meant she also knew the time. She claimed the noise was audible until I crossed the railroad tracks on Rangeline Road heading back to Ft. Loramie.


Here are some of my other favorite cars at this year’s Dream Cruise. First is a Shelby Cobra, a car I always wanted but never owned primarily because I couldn’t fit in it; no leg room plus my head stuck up over the windshield! The fact that an original model now goes for $250,000 was a minor technicality, but lower cost replicas were available. Today some of the replicas actually have more leg and head room.


Other favorites were the 1969 GTO Judge and Olds Hurst 442. Friends at the time drove both classics that were really fast and had the distinctive monikers that made them instantly recognizable then and now.


Another favorite viewed at the Dream Cruise was the Hemi Under Glass Barracuda that could do amazing wheelies.


I also loved the fastback, boat-tailed Riviera from that era.


The Ford Sunliner was a really cool car with a retractable hardtop that would transform into a convertible. A high school friend had one of those. The hydraulics to raise the trunk lid and store the hardtop were an engineering feat I appreciated, but caused innumerable operational problems at always the wrong time.


The very first car I can remember was Dad’s 1951 Chevy; painted cream color with absolutely no options except 4 doors to allow us kids to pile in. It wasn’t nearly as nice as this restored beauty.


My first Ford vehicle was a 1971 Mercury just like the one below. We bought it with the money from selling the Nova SS about a year after we were married. Time for a family car, I guess.


When Ford purchased Jaguar, we owned two at one point; a 1959 XK150 and 1999 XK8, both maroon convertibles, or drop tops as the Brits call them.



Aretha Franklin’s funeral was held in Detroit this past week, and in her honor, an entourage of pink Cadillacs were included in the funeral procession in recognition of her album Freeway of Love.



Speaking of Aretha, she was in one of my favorite all time movies, the Blues Brothers singing her hit Think. In this years Dream Cruise there was a replica of the old Dodge police car the Blues brothers used in the movie, large rooftop speaker and all!



Speaking of movies, another favorite commemorated at the Dream Cruise was a Delorean featured in Back to the Future with its gull wind doors, flux capacitor and all.


Maybe they’ll make some movies about any of these strange vehicles spied during the Dream Cruise.


Mighty Mouse Cartoon.


Oops!


Rub-a-dub-dub!

Can’t wait till next year’s Cruise!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Woodward Dream Cruise - Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s

Woodward Dream Cruise

The Original Woodward Dream Cruise

As a retired automotive engineer, the annual Woodward Dream Cruise here in Michigan each August represents the perfect time to reflect back on the cars and trucks that I had the privilege to work on as well as own over the years.


The 2018 Cruise was exceptional in that Debby & I were invited to the Roush Racing pavilion right on Woodward north of 13 Mile Road, literally at the epicenter pictured in the aerial photo below of the annual automobile pilgrimage.


We were invited by a fellow Ford retiree who now works for Roush. An informative blurb about the Company and it’s founder, Jack Roush, can be found by clicking on this link.


In addition to the ample food and refreshments that we enjoyed, Roush had set up elevated bleachers right on Woodward offering a perfect vantage point to observe the classic cars passing by. Most brought back some memory or another that I’d like to share with you in this blogpost.


An old Thunderbird was spotted which was like the first test car assigned to me upon starting work at Ford in 1973.


As a member of a team to develop an improved air conditioning system, Ford recruited me from Frigidaire in Dayton, which was the General Motors division responsible for GM's A/C system. At the time, Ford purchased many of their air conditioning parts from Frigidaire, and it irritated boss Henry Ford II that he had to pay his prime competitor for these parts. He directed our group to fix the problem, and after a couple years, we were quite successful. For example, the price of one part came down from from $110 per car to $55 while being 50% lighter. Plus we totally eliminated a $10 part, while also cutting the power draw from the A/C by 50%. I earned a patent on that idea!


To this day, Ford does not buy a single part from GM, or any other competitor for that matter. By 1977, I had moved into the management ranks at Ford so was able to lease my first Thunderbird, a two-tone red on white beauty like shown below that I recall driving down to Columbus for the Loramie Redskin State Basketball Championship game, which we fortunately won! To this day, we still have a Thunderbird; this 2004 model with only 6000 miles that we drove in the cruise this year.



Next to come along was a yellow Plymouth Satellite that looked a lot like a car my sister first drove, but when I texted her a photo, she said it was a yellow Plymouth Duster. I think she eventually totaled that yellow beast, if memory serves, but she was Ok! Her boyfriend at the time, now husband, had a really cool Plymouth Road Runner.




As a Ford guy, Mustang’s have always been one of my favorites, kindled by my first exposure to the pony car in the spring of 1964 at Eagle Park in Minster documented in this previous blogpost. We also had a yellow classic, our first ’68 Mustang, like this one that my wife drove. And Roush was exhibiting some really cool Mustangs in their corral, including one honoring their founder called the Jackhammer.



Probably the most popular vehicles in each cruise are the Corvette’s. The most iconic ‘Vette is the split window coupe, one of which I owned years ago. It sure was fast and loud with a big block engine and side pipes.


My favorite Corvette was a maroon ’65 convertible pictured below. This vehicle came into my hands after my brother-in-law married my wife’s sister and she wanted new furniture. So the Vette had to go, but on the condition that he could someday buy it back from me at the going rate. Whenever my brother-in-law and his family visited, he always gave his kids rides in the Corvette, but when it came time to give his wife a ride, for some reason the car wouldn’t start! Somehow it knew! Fast forward about 20 years, after babying that car for all that time, I received a call from my brother-in-law about a week before the Dream Cruise that he was ready to buy back the ‘65. Sad day for me; happy day for him! He’s since given the Vette to his son, who cruises around Russia, with his kids.


A blue ’59 Chevy came rolling past just like my first car, a hand-me-down from Dad. It even had the same black wheels and whitewalls. Hated that car!


A ’62 Chevy was also spotted, a lot nicer than my red Impala that I bought used from a high school classmate’s brother documented in this previous blogpost.


A gold ’69 Chevy Nova SS was my first new car, purchased for $1800 after trading in the ’62.


The Nova was special as I met my wife while driving that car. We had it for our first year of our marriage before a fraternity brother bought it. He eventually trashed it, then crashed it, so no classic life for that memorable car!

Look for more Dream Cruise photos and memories next week.

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