Jan 30, 2010

Remembering Long Time Shea Stadium Organist: Jane Jarvis (1964-1979)

Long time Shea organist Jane Jarvis passed away this week at the Lillian Booth Actors’ Home in Englewood, N.J. she was 94.
Jarvis was born October 31st, 1915 in Indiana. She was a jazz pianist and began playing in Chicago & Milwaukee nightclubs, radio stations & television shows in the 1950's. She was approached by the Milwaukee Braves to play organ at County Stadium which she did for the next eight years.
She moved to New York and got the job at the new Shea Stadium in 1964. She will always be remembered at Shea for playing an alternate theme song, "Let's Go Mets", as the team took the field before every game. She also made famous her renditions of the Mexican Hat Dance during the seventh-inning stretch. Jarvis became a Shea classic, and would play the organ through the 1979 season. The Mets never replaced her.
On top of her Shea job, she worked for Muzak since 1963 as a clerk, then a programmer. She also worked the West Village jazz scene in the 1980's and made her own album. Jarvis lived on the Upper East Side until 2008 when her building suffered damage due to the giant crane collapse.

Jan 29, 2010

A Great Set of Italian American Baseball Cards Realeased

The National Ethnic Heritage Foundation in partnership with the Order of Sons of Italy in America has just released a beautiful 100 baseball card set of Italian American Baseball Players. The cards cover great Italian American Players from Lewis Pessano (Buttercup Dickenson) the very first Italian American baseball Pioneer to Sal Maglie, Roy Campanella, & Yogi Berra of the 1950's. The tradition continues through time from Sal Bando & Gene Tenace to Tommy Lasorda, Terry Francona & Mike Scioscia.

Of course former Italian American Mets Mike Piazza, Lee Mazzilli, John Franco, Bobby Valentine, Frank Viola, Robin Ventura, Kevin Tapani & Joe Torre are all included.

Only 10,000 sets of these beautiful cards have been produced. They are made up of original oil portraits by a team of artists supervised by the acclaimed artist George Kotsovos. The backs feature short bios & stats of the individual subjects. Not only are players included, but other key figures in the Italian tradition that have made significant contributions to the game.

These cards are not available commercially and only sold through
http://www.nehf.org/ & http://www.osia/ . The profits are a donation with a fully tax deductible receipt from Order Sons of Italy Foundation.

See the press realease & links below for this amazing collectible baseball card set.

ITALIAN AMERICAN BASEBALL HEROES CARD SET
PRODUCED BY ORDER SONS OF ITALY IN AMERICA

New York – The rich history of Italian Americans in Major League Baseball is told for the first time in an educational and handsome set of 100 baseball cards, available now.

The cards, will be appreciated by collectors, baseball historians, and Americans of Italian origin, and celebrate not only the greatest names – Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio, Ernie Lombardi, Tom Lasorda, Yogi Berra, Tony Lazzeri, Phil Rizzuto, Roy Campanella, and broadcaster Joe Garagiola, possible future Hall of Famers like Tony LaRussa, Joe Torre, Billy Martin, Ron Santo, Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza and Andy Pettitte, but such popular figures as Tony Conigliaro, Rocky Colavito, John Franco, Lee Mazzilli, Joe Pepitone, Mike Scioscia, Joe Girardi and Terry Francona.

The cards are a product of the National Ethnic Heritage Foundation in partnership with the Order of Sons of Italy in America, with sets available for a $49 donation to the Sons of Italy Foundation, a 501 ( c )3 charitable foundation.

Only 10,000 sets have been produced, and each card features original oil portraits of the subjects by a team of artists supervised by the acclaimed George Kotsovos, (www.theworkofgeorgekotsovos.com)

In addition to a full color portrait on the front, the cards feature biographical information and lifetime statistics on the back. The five-color printing process includes metallic gold foil on 16- gauge stock, heavily coated with a UV inhibitor to prevent fading. The cards are handsomely packaged and shrink wrapped in a 5 ¾” x 7” x 1 ½” gift box.

The 100 subjects selected for the set were researched and selected by originally by consensus of various experts and the with valued comments from the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, as well as individual baseball historians. Included aside from players are former Baseball Commissioner Bart Giamatti, umpire Babe Pinelli, Arizona Diamondbacks founding owner Jerry Colangelo, and legendary Atlanta pitching coach Leo Mazzone, featured on his first ever card apart from minor league cards.

Also receiving his “first card” is Lewis Pessano “Buttercup” Dickerson, who broke into the major leagues in 1878 with the Cincinnati Red Stockings, making him the first Italian-American in the game.

The cards are not sold commercially, and are available through the two websites – www.nehf.org and www.osia.org. The donation is acknowledged with a fully tax deductible receipt from Order Sons of Italy Foundation. Discounts are available for three or more sets.

NEHF, the National Ethnic Heritage Foundation, a 501(c)3 corporation was established in August 2008 with a mission to educate the North American public about the cultural contributions made to the United States and Canada by the diverse ethnic and religious groups that power the engines or growth and knowledge. The Foundation collects and disseminates this knowledge through print and electronic media. Their goal is not just tolerance, but total acceptance of the minority by the majority.


Included in the set Ed Abbaticchio -Johnny Antonelli- Bob Aspromonte -
Ken Aspromonte- Rich Aurilia- Steve Balboni -Sal Bando- Mark Belanger-
Yogi Berra- Craig Biggio- Ping Bodie- Zeke Bonura- Chris Bosio- Ricky Bottalico-
Larry Bowa- Ralph Branca- Ernie Broglio- Dolph Camilli- Ken Caminiti -
Roy Campanella- Tom Candiotti- Bernie Carbo- Jon Castino- Phil Cavarretta
-Rick Cerone- Jeff Cirillo- Jack Clark- Jerry Colangelo- Rocky Colavito-
Tony Conigliaro- Frankie Crosetti- Tony Cuccinello -Doug DeCinces-
Frank Demaree- Mark Derosa -Buttercup Dickerson -Dom DiMaggio-
Joe DiMaggio- Vince DiMaggio- Dick Drago- Jeff Fassero- Joe Ferguson-
Ray Fosse- John Franco- Terry Francona- Tito Francon-a Jim Fregosi-
Carl Furillo- Gary Gaetti- Joe Garagiola- Bartlett Giamatti- Jason Giambi-
Al Gionfrido- Joe Girardi- Dave Guisti- Tony Graffanino- Pete Incaviglia-
Paul Konerko- Tony LaRussa- Tom Lasorda- Cookie Lavagetto- Tony Lazzeri -
Ernie Lombardi- Sal Maglie- Frank Malzone- Gus Manciso- Billy Martin-
Phil Masi- Lee Mazzilli -Leo Mazzone- Sam Mele- Doug Mirabelli -
-John Montefusco- Don Mossi- Tom Pagnozzi- Eddie Pellagrini- Joe Pepitone-
Rico Petrocelli- Andy Pettitte- Mike Piazza- Babe Pinelli- Vic Raschi -
Dave Righetti- Phil Rizzuto Johnny Romano- Ron Santo- Steve Sax-
Mike Scioscia- Sibby Sisti -John Smoltz- Kevin Tapani -Gene Tenace- Joe Torre -
Bobby Valentine- Robin Ventura- Frank Viola- Barry Zito


http://www.nehf.org/shop.html
http://www.osia.org/index.php

Jan 25, 2010

"The Magic Is Back " & "Catch The Rising Stars"

Question from "Met fan in the Bronx"- Who came up with the idea for Catch the Rising Stars & when was it used?

In 1980 the Mets were purchased by Fred Wilpon & Nelson Doubleday. One of the first things the Doubleday people did was, hire a Madison Avenue advertising company to promote the team. The firm of Della Femina, Travisano & Partners were paid a hefty $400,000 to come up with a new slogan to sell the Mets new image.
Jerry Della Femina, a giant in the ad industry with a bestselling book under his belt spoke out right away for his new clients. He said attendance should rise by 50,000 just getting rid of M. Donald Grant & the De Roulet sisters. He said New York fans had to settle for Reggie Jackson when the Mets went into the dumps, if the Mets were where they were in ’69, a guy like Jackson couldn’t get arrested in New York. He also said going to a game in the Bronx baseball Stadium was a very unpleasant experience and Shea was the safe place to go. He promoted Lee Mazzilli as a guy with Bucky Dent looks that could actually hit. Of course old Georgie got upset at these comments, even baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn stepped in and fined the Mets $5000.
It was at this time when the advertising firm came up with the classic slogan “The Magic Is Back” for the 1980 season. Obviously the Magic wasn’t back in 1980 as the Mets lost 91 games. In the strike shortened 1981 season they went 41-62, and in 1982 they lost another 94 games. The media laughed at the slogan as did some teams driving into the ball park. It didn’t do well. After 1983 the team changed it to another Della Femina classic; “Catch the Rising Stars”. In the 1988 Mets Yearbook, there is a 25th Anniversary tribute to Shea. In is a picture dated around the mid eighties where the slogan atop Shea says "The Magic Is Real- Catch It."
As those words were painted atop the sides of Shea Stadium, a strange thing happened, in 1984, the Mets began to win & became contenders. Those Rising Stars did actually rise, most of the most of them right out of the organization and by 1986, they won another World Series.