- The Washington Times - Monday, August 20, 2001

Remember Griffith Stadium? You may not, because the rickety park at Seventh Street and Florida Avenue NW was vacated by the Redskins and Senators in 1961 and razed in 1965. But a symposium next month at Howard University Hospital which rose in 1975 on the site should help older fans and whippersnappers celebrate the glory, such as it were, of the old ballyard.
The daylong "Legacy of Griffith Stadium" symposium, which begins at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 25, will include panel discussions featuring former Senators players as Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, Mickey Vernon, Chuck Hinton and others. Former Washington batboy Emmett Lanier also will take part. Other participants will include Sharon Robinson, daughter of the late Jackie Robinson; former Negro League star Buck O'Neil; author Hank Thomas; and local historian Gordon Thomas. The program will be emceed by who else? play-by-play man Bob Wolff, who did Senators game on radio and TV from 1947 to '60 and is a member of the broadcasters' wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Bonita Bolden, director of marketing and public relations for the hospital, said one of the symposium's goals is to create a permanent memorial on the site, where the Senators first played in 1903 and the Redskins in 1937. Frank Ceresi of Alexandria's FC Associates is curator of the affair.
The symposium is being run by George Case, son and namesake of the Senators' late base stealing champion of the 1930s and '40s. Case also is executive director of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), which is increasingly involved in honoring the memory of old ballparks.
Bolden says hospital officials are receiving many offers of artifacts from fans who heard of the symposium by word of mouth, and she expects the flow to become a flood when others learn of the plans. "We'd like to be able to establish some type of exhibit hall," she said.
Gordon Thomas, for example, has offered a seat from the stadium, as well as signs denoting the press entrance and the price of tickets, and other items certainly will turn up.
The creation of a permanent tribute is long overdue for Griffith Stadium, a unique place that evokes unique memories. There were the distant bleachers over which Mickey Mantle smote a 565-foot home run in 1953, the 40-foot high wall in right field, the two uneven sections of grandstand along the third-base and left-field lines, the temporary bleachers in right for football games, complete with teepee on top for the Redskins band. And what other venue ever boasted two all-time heroes like Walter Johnson and Sammy Baugh, who brought championships to Washington in 1924 and 1937, respectively?
It was all so long ago and so good to recall.

The shortstops find Joy

News item: The New York Post reports that Derek Jeter has stolen luscious Latin singer Joy Enriquez from buddy and fellow superstar shortstop Alex Rodriguez.
Comment No. 1: It just goes to show ya that $252 million can't buy everything.
Comment No. 2: Who's up next, Nomar Garciaparra?

Menchine's new gig

Former expansion Senators broadcaster Ron Menchine, who was at the mike when the final game at RFK Stadium was forfeited to the New York Yankees on Sept. 30, 1971, has spent much of the endless intervening years as a collector. Most of his artifacts deal with (surprise!) baseball, but his fourth book of collectibles material is what Menchine calls "a total departure."
It's called "Propaganda Postcards of World War II," and if this sort of thing appeals to you, Menchine will be signing copies today from noon to 1 p.m. at Archives II in College Park.
How does a guy get from Bob Short, the dastardly dimwit who moved the Senators to Texas, to enemies like Hitler and Tojo? "Well, I've always been a history buff," Menchine explains. "I have more than a thousand World War II postcards."
And consider this: None of our political enemies ever traded the left side of his infield for a washed-up Denny McLain.

Dying hard in Baltimore

News item: Orioles reach 3 million tickets sold for seventh straight season.
Comment: Imagine how well they might be doing at the gate not to mention on the field without Peter Angelos as owner.

Take my team, please

Joe Paterno's 5-7 record last year only the second losing season since he became the coach at Penn State in 1966 hasn't dimmed his sense of humor. At 74, he's the most quotable big time coach this side of Bobby Bowden and Lou Holtz.
Here's Paterno's recruiting take: "It's more like getting married than like selling cars. When you finally decide you're going to be together, you better not have told too many lies."
And this on how he would tell wife Sue when he decides to retire: "I'll say, 'Let's go to Italy or back to Brooklyn' either one of those countries will work for me."
Even if this stuff isn't quite Conan O'Brien, it ain't bad from a member of the usually grim coaching set. Hang in there, JoePa.

Eminently quotable

New York Yankees manager Joe Torre, on the rampaging Seattle Mariners: "They don't have the marquee guys that they used to have with Randy Johnson, Junior [Ken Griffey Jr.] and A-Rod [Alex Rodriguez]. That's a good sign for baseball because it shows that you don't need that one guy you need a team."


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