"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. Email
Most kids want to grow up to be Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle or Reggie Jackson, but I wanted to grow up to be Jigger Statz. ~ Duke Snider
When he died at the age of 90 in 1988, Jigger Statz was remembered in the LA Times as "The Greatest Angel of Them All."
Jigger Statz, Holy Cross '21, was a "feisty speed merchant and fence climber" who starred for years for the old Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League. In the days before Major League Baseball came to California, he was good enough to play in the big leagues, but preferred playing in California. Playing with a hole cut in his glove ~ he said it gave him a better feel for the ball ~ he was considered one of the best centerfielders in the game. He finished his career with more than 4,000 hits; only Pete Rose and Hank Aaron played in more professional games.
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Jigger Statz has a typeface named for him. Font designer Wesley Poole explains:
During the spring of 2006, while creating this typeface, I was reading Praying For Gil Hodges, by Tom Oliphant, who grew up a Brooklyn Dodgers fan. I grew up a Los Angeles Dodgers fan. My mother worked as secretary to the president of the old Triple A LA Angels Baseball Team. In 1952 when she was pregnant with me, she left the team. They gave her an autographed baseball and a puppy named Angel. That’s the dog I grew up with.
Toward the end of the book the author talks about Gil Hodges' favorite ballplayer, a slugger for the LA Angels, Jigger Statz. I thought, could it be? My mother died two years ago and I got the team baseball. Sure enough, the first name after the dedication to my mother was Jigger Statz.
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A Triple-A farm club of the Chicago Cubs, owned by chewing-gum magnate William Wrigley, the old LA Angels played in a Wrigley Field of their own, which, like the Chicago model, had signature ivy on the walls.
Lou "The Mad Russian" Novikoff won the Triple Crown in 1940 (batting .343, with 171 RBIs and 41 homers) while playing for the Angels -- thanks in no small part to his wife, Esther, who could be heard from her box seat behind home plate verbally abusing Lou during each of his appearances at the plate. Lou suffered from the worst possible phobia one could have while playing in Wrigley Field -- he had an incurable fear of vines. He would allow balls to sail over his head and hit the wall, retrieving them as they caromed back towards the infield. He later blamed his terrible fielding on Wrigley field's left field line, which he swore was crooked. He once stole third with the bases loaded because, he said, "I couldn't resist. I had such a great jump on the pitcher."