Will Harridge (1883 - 1971), although he never played a game of baseball, did play the hand of cards he was dealt right into the top executive ranks of the American sport. His most significant role was as president of the American League from 1931 to 1958. For all his hard work - carrying the bags of the rich and famous, pushing the League to play in the annual All-Star game, then sitting at his desk for decades - Harridge was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972, just in time for him to be dead.
Will Harridge started in baseball over a century ago, in 1911, at a time when cowboys and Indians were still fighting it out and moving pictures were but a glint in Nikola Tesla's eye. American League founder and President, Ban "The Bomb" Johnson, was traveling to Boston from Chicago one fine day to harrass the million-dollar Red Sox outfield of Tris Speaker, Duffy Lewis, and Harry Hooper into putting their pants back on while on the field. After a few drinks he got to talking to a railway ticket clerk who was carrying his bags. The clerk's name was Will Harridge, and, feeling no pain, Johnson hired young Will on the spot to be his personal secretary.
When Johnson sobered up he realized Harridge wasn't his nephew, but just looked like him from the side. But Johnson kept his word and let the railway clerk sweep up around the office. From 1911 to 1927 Harridge also fetched Ban Johnson's coffee, procurring his women, carried his bags, and listened to his drunken ramblings. Harridge kept this up day in and day out until, in 1927, he became the secretary of the entire American League when Johnson was fired and Will refused to carry his bags to the curb.
Then lo and behold, a well-known Detroit Tiger's executive, Ernest "E.S." Barnard (the "S." stands for Sassssssy!) moved into the American League's cramped two-room Chicago office and served as president until 1931. Then he took a called third strike and decided to die. With E. S. Barnard as dead as the spitball, Harridge, who'd stubbornly stuck around the office - busying himself answering the phone, taking long lunches, practicing his putting and harrassing Tris Speaker - peaked out the window and, seeing his ship coming in, told everyone he "wasn't going anywhere". So they named the office gofer the president of the American League. At that point Will hired his own secretary, Mary.
What can we say about Mary that hasn't been said before? Mary was the apple of her mother's eye, the orange of her father's nose, and the lump-in-the-throat girl of her local college. She could type, file, negotiate complicated contracts, and work the phones like Donald Trump, and with her other hand sculpt mythological Greek Gods out of soap, tie a four-square knot, then play bridge and four-dimensional chess while waiting for the light to change. She had an I.Q. that Albert Einstein called "Remarkable, for a girl", and had the biggest heart, nicest smile, and the quickest draw in the West.
Underneath Harridge's gentlemanly exterior and his secretary's polite kindness, Will and Mary were modest human beings (as opposed to the National League President and his secretary, who were immodest lemurs). For the next 27 years Will and Mary successfully promoted the American League without personally seeking the spotlight or pocketing the profits. Among their proudest achivements was convincing the American League club owners to play in an interleague All-Star game, thus beginning the mid-summer classic that started in 1933 and has bored viewers ever since.
Harridge and Mary later faced some criticism for their involvement in allowing Arnold "Lyndon" Johnson, a business associate of New York Yankees owners Danny "Chocolate and Sprinkles" Topping and Del "Spider" Webb, to purchase the powerhouse Philadelphia Athletics and move them to the godforsaken town of Kansas City (rather than allow Philly's bar owners and keepers of houses of ill repute to purchase the team and leave it where it lay). They were also criticized for their "non-involvement" in turning a blind eye, a deaf ear, and a receding hairline to the tight-fisted control that the sadistic New York Yankees had over the machoscistic Philadelphia A's (for example, that time Babe Ruth went berserk and pantsed Lefty Grove while giving Jimmie Foxx an Indian burn).
Will and Mary held their posts until they were, ahem, for lack of a better word such as fired, "retired" in 1958. Will was then thrown a bone by being named President Emeritus, and Mary was thrown out with the trash by being named Secretary Emiritus. The official American League office was then moved to New York City, and Will and Mary were allowed to keep the Chicago office up and running for nobody to visit and for no one to phone.
But here comes the important part, the Star Chamber, the McGuffin: By some insanely incompetent decision on the American Leagues part, Will and Mary still acted as custodians of the American League archival correspondance. The documents - the complete historical records of the American League from 1901 to 1958 - were kept in a long row of file cabinets in the first of the two rooms in the small office. Mary sat at her desk in that room. Will sat at his desk in the other room. And they sat, and sat, with visitors few and far between. After decades of constant activity, and after being relegated to an "emeritus" status which gave them all the prestige of an ancestoral portrait dusted off when the family came to visit on holiday, boredom set in. "What to do?" they thought, "What to do?"
The Happiness of the Long-Distance Autograph Collector
They went nuts. A benevolent nuts, like a loony Robin Hood and a loopy Maid Marion. Will and Mary decided to two-handidly destroy the accumulated records, documents, and manuscripts of the American League dating back to 1901 - the very heritage of one of the great American sports institutions - all for the benefit of autograph collectors. They were wonderful people.
About ten collectors knew about this backdoor route to looting the American League. They'd write a letter which looked like a grocery list listing names of autographs they wanted: Lou Gehrig, Ban Johnson, Charles Comiskey, Eddie Collins, Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis (his signature almost a straight line, predating the athletes of today who scribble and loop their indecipherable names), Ed Barrow, and scores of other players and executives. The lists were almost endless. Mary would sit at her desk, grab the documents of the American League, and cut off the signatures with a song in her heart and a pair of dime store scissors. So with Will Harridge sitting in his old-timey suit at his old-timey desk in his office a few feet from her, and with Mary snipping and clicking away, the archival history of the league was sent packing. For the autograph collectors, it was the perfect time to be alive. Armed with an envelope and a stamp (and including a return stamped envelope if they were nice about it) their wetdreams came true. They'd use their own name and address, their Aunt's name and address, their cousin's home in Philly, or taking on the disguise of a president of a high school autograph club (please send 12 Connie Mack's, 10 Al Simmons.....on and on, thank you.), and maybe even taking on the persona of a girl or two. All for the sake of stealing what could not be stolen without charges being filed: The signatory parts of the accumulated history of an entire baseball league.
Will Harridge and Mary died peacefully at age 87 in Evanston, Illinois, surrounded by family and autograph collectors. They are interred aboveground where the crows could get to them in Memorial Park in Skokie, Illinois.
American League Championship Trophy
The American League Championship trophy is named the William Harridge Trophy in honor of his secretary, Mary.
In 2011 two tech students from MIT teamed up with dozens of bored janitors at Microsoft and invented Ultimate Twister. UT uses the same equipment as beginners Twister (spinner, plastic mat, box) but UT's plastic mat is encoded with ultra-chips using graphene technology and whammo micro-dot power. When two people play in an attempt at orgy, their body parts are eerily transmitted and scientificly transported into quantum foam where everything is possible and usually is. Take for example, Rhonda.
Rhonda was your average secretarial student, a bright eyed co-ed wishing for a future filled with several husbands and covertly drained bank accounts. She was the apple of her daddy's eye, the ulterior motive of the class of '11, and the dashing-through-the-snow girl of Ames, Iowa. She went happily along until in world came crashing down, all because she went to a party at a friend's house and had too much to drink.
When the evening wore on and the whiskey and seditives were drained, someone had the bright idea to play Ultimate Twister. The partyguests opened the box, took out the spinner and the plastic mat, and got ready to orgy. Then the spin was spun, Rhonda was asked to put her life on the line as well as on the blue dot, reached her right hand in and......
Are you near the great barrier reef? If so, please break me off a good size piece for my "Wonders of the World" collection. I have paint scrapings from the cave paintings in Spain, a trunk-core specimen from the oldest tree in the world (well, it used to be), and pieces of head meat from a bald eagle. Lots more.
Hi. My name is Clem, and I collect things that would make your toes curl. Have you ever seen the Mona Lisa's smile? No you haven't, 'cause I've got it. Give credit to author Ray Bradbury, who installed the idea in me with one of his stories. I have his stories by the way.
Those Apollo Moon rocks everyone goes all bonkers over, most of them are fakes. I've got about 90 pounds of the suckers sitting in my den. I use them for coasters.
And whenever people cry tears of real happiness when they see the Declaration of Independence, they do so in my bedroom. Got it hanging right above that Van Gogh with the crows and that silent screaming kid on the bridge.
I got turned on to all this when my Uncle - and you should have seen the shoulders on that specimen (turn your head a bit, there, you can see them propped up by the table holding the original black stone of Mecca. What? Yes, that's King Arthur's round table. So?) - gave me my first piece, the skull of John the Baptist still propped up on its original plate. That's when the collecting bug bit me and left a mark about the size of a quarter.
K’uh ītech occequīntīn ītōcāhuān.Huēhuehmēxihcatl teōneltococāyōtl poliuhqui cenca iciuhcac catca īpampa catolicismo romano, mācēhualtin ahmō ōneltoqui mochololih canahpa ohuitepētitlān īhuān occequīntīn (Caxtillān Atlācayōtl). Ihcuāc caxtiltēcah ōmpēhua
rub-a-dub-dub three jin in a tub
soap has deadly properties (into g)