STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS SATURDAY: Most/Least

Almost the end of Saturday, at least in the Eastern Time Zone. Way I see it, I still have time. Anyway, here we are with another Stream of Consciousness Saturday post, hosted by Linda over at her blog, where you can also find the rules and other groovy information.

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Today’s prompt: most/least

I have had the most trouble with this prompt, I swear. I tried listing all the things I could think of, like “least common multiple” and “most valuable player,” and then I remembered the most famous reindeer of all, Rollo Reginald Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the invention of a man named Robert L. May who worked for the Montgomery Ward department store. Rudolph was originally Rollo, then Reginald. I’m glad he didn’t pick Reginald; it would have screwed the poem up. As it was, the poem was in anapestic tetrameter (dah dah DUM dah dah DUM dah dah DUM dah dah DUM), pretty strange stuff. Anyway, May was assigned the task of coming up with Monkey Ward’s annual Christmas coloring book in 1939, and Rudolph was the result.

I didn’t know this, but Max Fleischer, the genius behind Betty Boop, Popeye, and Koko the Clown, did a cartoon originally that held pretty close to May’s poem. It came out in 1944, before the song was written. The song came in 1949. It was written by Johnny Marks, May’s brother-in-law, and Fleischer added it to his cartoon over the titles. Here’s the cartoon with the song added to the beginning.

Gene Autry, America’s first Singing Cowboy, had a hit with the song during Christmas week 1949. Autry would go on to own the Los Angeles Angels, an expansion team that joined the American League in 1961. They originally played in Wrigley Field… no, not the one in Chicago; Wrigley was at one time part-owner of the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League, from whom the MLB Angels took their name.

L. A.’s Wrigley Field was the setting for the 1960 TV show Home Run Derby, hosted by Mark Scott. It pitted the sluggers of the day against each other in one-to-one matchups. ESPN used to carry it, and I saw a few of the contests. A few of them are on YouTube, including the episodes with the late Ernie Banks. Henry Aaron, of the Milwaukee Braves, won the most money on the show, $13,500. You can’t even get a major league ballplayer to roll out of bed for $13,500. It was enough for a Ford Thunderbird in 1960.

DollarTimes.com tells me that $13,500 in 1960 is $107,012.29 today. That’s the per-game rate of a guy making $17,335,990.98 a season today. That’s a little more than Max Scherzer will be playing for this season for the Washington Nationals. Max just signed for $210 million for the next seven seasons. Entire baseball teams weren’t worth $210 million thirty years ago. Ballplayers used to have to get jobs during the winter to support their families. Now it’s like owners are throwing money into their laps. That’s just crazy.

I live within three miles of three high schools, all of which have baseball teams and would probably pay me to come to the games. Know what? It’s probably the most fun for the least amount of money. Really. And I’d probably see a better ballgame.

Well, that’s what I got. See you next week.