Enjoy your Fourth, everyone!
"I believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival... it ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other..."
The 'it" in those words to my wife Abigail is Independence Day, the Fourth of July. That happens to be today. The Timber Rattlers will be playing a game of baseball tonight in Burlington, Iowa. Is there a better way to celebrate?
Mr. M wrote something a few seasons ago for PLAYBALL! and he probably posted it on this site last year, too since he is lazy if marginally talented. But, since I have limited use of these things called 'search engines', I thought it would be a good idea to post it again.
Especially since Mr. M included a certain Mr. A in the piece. Although the part on Mr. A should be a little longer and should not have been shared with another Mr. A. Such is Mr. A's place in history. Enjoy the day, America and...Go Rattlers!
THE FOUNDING TEAM
The United States of America celebrates its 231st birthday during this home stand. Baseball was not around on July 4, 1776. But, we thought it would be worthwhile to look at the men who signed the Declaration of Independence and see how they might fit into a baseball team. There were 56 who signed the document – which works already because of Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak. We picked out nine based on what we vaguely remembered about them from history class and matched them up with a position on the diamond. Don’t look for a DH, the Founding Fathers didn’t use one.
Pitcher, Thomas Jefferson: The main author of the Declaration of Independence would not be afraid to take the mound and face anyone on the opposing lineup. Jefferson could mix up the fastball with a good curve and he threw strikes; lots of them.
Catcher, Ben Franklin: The oldest man to sign the document is tough to leave off this lineup. He was a coach on the field who could take charge with a quiet word or by chewing someone out. The words ‘We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.’ is a quote that could apply to a baseball team, too. It’s also a quote worthy of Yogi Berra.
First Base, Robert Morris: A first baseman sometimes needs to give himself up to save his fellow infielders from throwing errors. …[H]is capacity for business, and knowledge of the subjects committed to him, or his talents for managing pecuniary concerns, he was particularly fitted for such services; as the commercial credit he had established among his fellow-citizens probably stood higher than that of any other man in the community, and this he did not hesitate to avail himself of, whenever the public necessities required such an evidence of his patriotism. A real power hitter.
Second base, Sam Adams; Shortstop, John Adams: You can go a long way with a couple of scrappy middle infielders who won’t back down from a fight. The Adams boys from Massachusetts fit this description perfectly.
Third base, John Hancock: The President of the Congress had the biggest, boldest signature on the founding document. If he could handle the heat that came with that signature, he could easily handle the hot corner.
Left, Samuel Chase: You need someone steady who can contribute in all facets here and Chase is the man. Maryland sent delegates to the Congress with the instruction to not vote for Independence should it be brought forward. What did Chase do? He left congress, and proceeded to Maryland. He traversed the province, and assisted by his colleagues and friends, assembled county meetings, and persuaded the inhabitants to send addresses to the convention, then sitting at Annapolis, in favor of independence. Such an expression of cordiality to a measure, the convention could not resist, and at length gave an unanimous vote in its favor. With this vote, Mr. Chase hastened to Philadelphia, where he arrived in time to take his seat on Monday morning, having rode, on the two previous days, one hundred and fifty miles, On the day of his arrival, tile resolution to issue a declaration of independence came before the house, and he had the pleasure of uniting with a majority in favor of it. That is a contribution you look for from your left fielder.
Center, Francis “Lightfoot” Lee: Well, with a nickname like “Lightfoot” he has got to be a centerfielder.
Right, Edward Rutledge: The youngest man to sign the Declaration of Independence was a Top Prospect. The general esteem in which be was held, was evinced in 1774, by his appointment to the distinguished congress which assembled at Philadelphia in that year. He was at this time but twenty-five years of age. It was a high honor for so young a man to be called to serve in the national council, with men of exalted powers and pre-eminent experience. It furnished unquestionable proof of the estimation in which he, was held, and strong presumptive evidence that this estimation of his talents and moral worth was not unjust. We would put him in right to see what he can do.
We would stack this lineup against any other one in history.
The italicized parts of this article are from http://www.colonialhall.com