Formerly Ad Orientem

"Irish Elk is original, entertaining, eclectic, odd, truly one-of-a-kind. And more than mostly interesting."
Amy Kane

"Puts the 'ent' in 'eccentric.'"

"The Gatling Gun of Courteous Debate."
Unitarian Jihad

"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)."
Erik Keilholtz

Under the patronage of St. Tammany



Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children.

News & Ideas
Real Clear Politics
Daily Telegraph
Washington Post
Pajamas Media
American Digest
Little Green Footballs
National Review
The New Republic
The Corner
Opinion Journal
Best of the Web Today
Lileks: The Bleat
Mark Steyn
Midwest Conservative Journal
The Spectator
Atlantic Monthly
Front Page Magazine
Critical Mass
Weekly Standard
Power Line
Llama Butchers
The Onion
Conservative Home
Tory Diary
Henry Jackson Society
Naked Villainy
Fear & Loathing in Georgetown
Commentary: Contentions
The People's Cube

Culture & the Arts
Times Archive Blog
Spectator Book Club
Zajrzyj tu
Terry Teachout
Elliott Banfield
Today in History
Telegraph Obits
Maureen Mullarkey
City Journal
The Historical Society
The New Criterion
American Memory
Wodehouse Society
Hat Sharpening
Doubting Hall
Random Pensées
Hatemonger's Quarterly
Patum Peperium
Forgotten NY
NYPL Digital Gallery
Mid-Manhattan Library
BPL Online Prints
Cigar Store Figures
Scuffulans Hirsutus
Poetry Hut
Spinning Clio
Ye Olde Evening Telegraph
Atlantic Ave.
The Monarchist
Dr. Boli's Celebrated Magazine
The Port Stands At Your Elbow
Sven in Colorado
Dickens Blog
Feast of Nemesis

Red Hot Jazz Archive 'Perfessor' Bill's Ragtime
Arhoolie Records
Sinner's Crossroads
Riverwalk Jazz
Steamboat Calliopes
Cajun Music mp3
Old Hat Records
Virtual Victrola

Touching All the Bases
SABR Baseball Bios
Baseball Fever: Teams of Yesteryear
Boston Sports Temples
Philadelphia A's
Elysian Fields Quarterly
Mudville Magazine
US College Hockey Online
Baseball Reliquary
Sons of Sam Horn
Smoky Joe Wood & More
WaPo DC Baseball
Royal Rooters
Baseball Library
H-Y Football Gallery
Shoeless Joe

Cops in Kilts
Irish Eagle
Slugger O'Toole
Tallrite Blog
Irish Echo
Edmund Burke Society
Wild Geese Today

Theodore Roosevelt
Winston Churchill
Louis Armstrong
H.L. Mencken

St. Blog's Sampling
New Liturgical Movement
Damian Thompson
First Things
Mere Comments
Andrew Cusack
The Revealer
E. L. Core
Catholic Light
Thomas Fitzpatrick
Inn at the End of the World
Dale Price
Curt Jester
Domenico Bettinelli
Erik's Rants and Recipes
Shrine of the Holy Whapping
Todd Flowerday
Some Have Hats
Daniel Mitsui
Roman Miscellany
Against the Grain
Summa Minutiae
Digital Hairshirt


Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem

He is a very shallow critic who cannot see an eternal rebel in the heart of a conservative.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Irish Elk - Blogged


05/01/2002 - 06/01/2002 06/01/2002 - 07/01/2002 07/01/2002 - 08/01/2002 08/01/2002 - 09/01/2002 09/01/2002 - 10/01/2002 10/01/2002 - 11/01/2002 11/01/2002 - 12/01/2002 12/01/2002 - 01/01/2003 01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009 12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010

Irish Elk
Tuesday, September 28, 2004  

Victory Faust

Mahow Mahow: Manny's clown pants, Bronson Arroyo's cornrows, Johnny Damon's Jesus look? All prologue: The Sox now have a new lucky charm in a 29-inch-tall midget, the world's third-smallest man, who at Pedro Martinez' invitation was running around the clubhouse the other night. An account in the Hartford Courant is titled, "Pedro's Friend And Clubhouse Of Dr. Moreau":

BOSTON -- The Red Sox may have unveiled a new good luck charm Saturday night.

"The curse is gone," Johnny Damon said. "He's helping us out."

Scaring them is more like it.

Nelson de la Rosa, listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the shortest living actor ("The Island of Dr. Moreau"), paid a visit to the Red Sox clubhouse. He is a friend of Pedro Martinez and a fellow Dominican, all 25 or so inches of him.

"Why don't you ask Derek Lowe about what he saw," Damon said. "He's still kind of in shock."

"I don't even want to talk about it," Lowe said. "It gave me the heebie-jeebies."

Kevin Millar said Red Sox manager Terry Francona thought de la Rosa was a toy when he walked into the manager's office.

"It was unbelievable," Millar said. "I didn't know what the hell it was. Are you [kidding] me with that thing? That scared the [heck] out of me. Good Lord. And it started talking, too. Whatever it was, it scared the [heck] out of us."

De la Rosa, 36, posed for pictures by sitting on the laps of players and coaches.

"Literally, he was up to your knees," Bronson Arroyo said. "Pedro's bobble-head is so much bigger than him."

The report from the Yankees' YES Network was colorful if disapproving:

“He’s a great dude,” said Kevin Millar. “He’s hilarious. He’s awesome man.”

Martinez showcased De la Rosa and allowed players to have their picture taken with him, which turned the clubhouse into somewhat of a circus. But the real freak show unraveled when Martinez let the little man run loose through the clubhouse while Red Sox players made vocal, inappropriate and tactless comments.

At one point, Derek Lowe inquired if he could “buy one of those” while Curtis Leskanic mimicked the line from Austin Powers, “I will call him Mini-Me." Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz then yelled out they thought De la Rosa had a significantly larger body part than Millar. Curt Schilling was loudly humming the theme song to Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey’s Circus in front of his locker.

Here's tape of the Mahow Mahow dance. Muy bueno!

* * *

For background music to the rest of this post, sample a fine selection of calliope tunes at Steamboats.org, and "Thunder and Blazes" and "Barnum & Bailey's Favorite" at the bottom of the Sounds of the Circus page.

* * *

The Sox' Latin Mini-Me belongs to a storied baseball-mascot tradition. Baseball historian John Thorn writes in a tribute to early-20th-century oddball pitching ace Rube Waddell:

The age of magic in baseball was in full flower during Waddell's career. Society at large feared the misshapen as manifestations of God's wrath, regarded the feebleminded as signs of God's humor, and imbued the lame and the halt with heightened goodness, like Tiny Tim in Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol. Major league teams employed mascots like Louis Van Zelst, a hunchbacked cripple, who drew luck to the A's until he died in 1915; dwarf Eddie Bennett, who brought pennants to the White Sox in 1917 and 1919, then to the Dodgers and Yankees; and the aptly named Victory Faust, a hayseed mental defective who “helped” the Giants to pennants in 1911-13. All of these mascots sat in uniform on the bench or, in the case of Faust, entertained the crowd before the game.

An article at BaseballGuru.com recalls the era in which a hunchbacked Eddie Bennett would win a measure of celebrity as batboy to the 1927 Murderers Row Yankees:

Misshapen midgets, humpbacked unfortunates, stunted dwarfs. It was the age of ritualistic, mystical mascots who wielded a parochial mumbo-jumbo magnetism over teams & games: a pat on the head, softly rubbing the protuberance of a hunchbacked form, a handshake from a twisted body, rubbing a bat or glove or a player’s cap in a certain way yielded powerful results. The early 1900’s gave us a plethora of team mascots who either promised us miraculous results (i.e. Charles “Victory” Faust) or the touch of their body heralded victory (see Louis van Zelst) or good luck charms such as Ty Cobb’s L’il Rastus and Alexander George Washington Rivers and Babe Ruth’s Little Ray Kelly.

Eddie Bennett came to a sad end, dying at 31 of alcoholism, broke and alone, in a lodging-house room filled with autographed mementos of his baseball years. None of the Yankees attended his funeral.

Years later the billionaire investor Warren Buffett would find motivational material in the crippled batboy he cited as a "managerial model" (last item).

"Eddie understood that how he lugged bats was unimportant," Buffett wrote. "What counted instead was hooking up with the cream of those on the playing field."

* * *

Image: Eddie Bennett and the Yankees stump for Al Smith in 1928.

* * *

Connie Mack's Athletics had a hunchback named Louis van Zeldt who brought them good luck between 1910 and 1914, during which time the A's won four American League championships and three World Series. He can be seen in the front row in this team photo from 1914. In 1915, Louis van Zeldt died, and the A's finished last.

Red Sox fans, take note: The A's, despite their mascot, lost the 1914 World Series to Boston's Miracle Braves, whose secret weapon that Fall Classic, baseball historian John Holway notes, was the trademark song sung by Boston's Royal Rooters.

"Tessie" trumped the hunchback.

* * *

Baseball showman Bill Veeck writes in his autobiography he was inspired to send a midget to bat by tales he'd been told as a boy by New York Giants manager John McGraw:

McGraw had a little hunchback he kept around the club as a sort of good-luck charm. His name, if I remember, was Eddie Morrow. Morrow wasn't a midget, you understand, he was a sort of gnome. By the time McGraw got to the stub of his last cigar, he would always swear to my father that one day before he retired he was going to send his gnome up to bat.

All kids are tickled by the incongruous. The picture of McGraw's gnome coming to bat had made such a vivid impression on me that it was there, ready for the plucking, when I needed it.

The Baseball Reliquary has the jockstrap midget Eddie Gaedel wore to the plate in his famous at-bat in 1951.

* * *

Images: In subsequent Veeck stunts, midgets demanding tryouts beset Browns manager Rogers Hornsby, who wards them off with a bat * Midgets dressed as Martians advance on the White Sox dugout with ray guns.

* * *

Charles "Victory" Faust, pictured above, was a lunatic who presented himself on the advice of a fortune teller to New York Giants manager McGraw, and was kept around as a hex-killer.

Giants manager John McGraw wrote, "I give Charlie Faust full credit for winning the pennant for me - the National League pennant of 1911." Faust had approached McGraw before the season and explained that a fortune teller told him if he pitched for the Giants, they would win the pennant. Faust became a good luck charm, traveling with the team and warming up to pitch every game. He hurled an inning against the last-place Dodgers on the final day, shutting them out on one hit. He also reached base by getting hit by a pitch, and was allowed to steal second and third, and score. "Who's loony now?" he asked teammates as the crowd cheered. Faust was committed to an institution in 1914. When he died in 1915, the Giants finished last.


This page is powered by Blogger.