(click the link above to see the photograph)
The old television jingle says “I love Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet!” Well, I do indeed love to grill hot dogs over an open flame. I enjoy hot apple pie fresh from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (my grandmother made the BEST apple pies I ever ate!), and I drive a Chevy. However, even more than these, I love baseball!
For many years, I was a collector of sports cards, with an emphasis on my favorite team, the Cincinnati Reds and, in particular, the “Big Red Machine” of the 1970s. Johnny Bench was my favorite professional ball player of all time. Another passion of course is miniature wargaming and collecting model and toy soldiers. Larry Reber of www.gettysburgsoldiers.com is one of my favorite people in the wargaming hobby. The above photograph was taken by my son Tom Mingus during our August 2007 visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, showing me standing in front of Johnny Bench’s jersey. My shirt is one advertising Larry’s business, combining my love for wargaming with my passion for the Reds.
Only one member of Baseball’s Hall of Fame is known to have served in the army during the American Civil War – Morgan G. Bulkeley, a wealthy insurance man and the first president of the National League in 1876. At the outbreak of the war, he left his father’s insurance company and enlisted in the 13th New York Infantry and fought in the Army of the Potomac under George McClellan during the Peninsula Campaign. He also served in the Maryland Campaign. Following the war, his insurance business (Aetna) prospered and he became influential in Connecticut politics, serving as governor and later as a one-term U.S. Senator. Although only in charge of the National League for one year and with no connections to the sport before or after his tenure, he was elected in 1939 to the Baseball Hall of Fame.