This Week in 1908 (December 15–December 21)
How Long Ago Was 1908?
Fred Merkle celebrates his 20th birthday (Dec 20) in New York by laying low and hoping nobody tries to kill him. Everyone in New York is still mad at him for his base-running blunder that allowed the Cubs to win the pennant. Little does he know that people will NEVER forget. He would later add to his misery by dropping a crucial pop fly for the Giants in the last inning of the 1912 World Series, and misplaying a chance for the Giants in the final game of the 1913 World Series (which allows the A’s to score 2 runs.) He will end his career with the Cubs, on the team that lost the 1918 World Series. It’s not until he is invited back to the Polo Grounds for old-timers day in 1950, and is cheered loudly, that he can finally put his demons to rest. He openly weeps on the field as the cheers pour over him. He had been called “Bonehead” for thirty two years, and his last name had become an adjective for doing something stupid, and we can only imagine how difficult that must have been.
Elsewhere this week…
*Holy Name Cathedral is being renovated in Chicago. Surveyors had noticed a few years earlier that it was sagging on its Superior Street side. This prompted the archbishop to commence with the cathedral’s first renovation projects. By 1915, Holy Name Cathedral was balanced out and saved from sinking into the ground. It was also lengthened by 15 feet to accommodate the growing Catholic population.
*The first telephone booth is installed in London
*Ty Cobb turns 22 on Dec 18 (as a World Series loser). He may be the best player in baseball, but his own teammates hate him.
*Joseph Stalin turns 29 (Dec 21). He has just been sentenced to two years in exile in Siberia. On his way there he will disguise himself as a woman and escape.
*Noel Coward celebrates his 9th birthday (Dec 16). He has already caught the acting bug and will star in his first professional theatrical production a little over a year from now.
*J. Paul Getty turns 16 (Dec 15). Getty was born rich, but dies the richest man in America in 1976. (Apparently what they say is true–he couldn’t take it with him.)
Price check: 1908 Conley Long Focus Cameras, with 8 x 10 inch plates, and extra heavy solid black sole leather carrying case is $37.
If you travel back in time, you won’t be able to give the kids Silly Putty for Christmas. It won’t be invented until 1940.