Check out Adam's story about visiting here with his family, seeing a lot of cool toys, climbing aboard display trains and walking along the riverfront at his Visit Flyover Country blog. Check it out at his Quirky Travel Guy blog.
Midwest Guest: Baseball
Turkey Stearnes: a Detroit legend who starred in the shadows -Although this story isn't strictly travel-related, I thought it belonged on the list this month. I've heard of Turkey Stearnes and the Detroit Stars over the years, but he, like many other talented players throughout the years, received little recognition when he played baseball. Stearnes finally made it into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Dan writes about Stearnes' amazing career at the Detroit Athletic Co.
Wine Wednesday: Chicago's BYOB -If you fancy a glass of wine with dinner, you might find yourself bringing your own beverage to a restaurant in Chicago. Check out her story at Jdomb's Travels. Anthony shares his list of fun things to do in the Hoosier state throughout the seasons at Travel City Breaks.
Michigan-River Raisin National Battlefield Park -We paid a quick visit to this battlefield in Monroe, Michigan on the way home from Ohio recently, but the Visitor Center was already closed for the day when we were there. Thanks to Terri at Travel 50 States with Kids, I got a peek at the park's visitor center and a preview of what to expect when we visit there ourselves.
I always check out historic markers we see in our travels as I love learning about local history, but imagine my surprise when I found this marker honoring a former Detroit Tiger baseball player near a field in a park near Danville, Indiana! And now, with the Tigers' opening day fast approaching, it's a great time to find out more about this early baseball slugger who set several records yet to be broken.
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Jesse learned the then-new game of baseball in the Army and brought the game back home to Danville to share with his sons. Baseball became big in Danville, with the town fielding four amateur teams and games drawing as many as 1, spectators to games. The Thompson boys were all big kids, each standing at least 6 foot tall and weighing about pounds, which was unusually large for men during the s. Baseball fans throughout central Indiana soon knew about the Thompson boys and Danville Browns teammates for their baseball skills.
O'Leary came through Danville with a pro team and the idea of scouting Sam's older brother Cy during an exhibition game.
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He decided that the thenyear-old Cy was too old to begin a pro baseball career, and Sam's younger brother William, who was 6 years younger than Sam, was too young. O'Leary decided that the then year-old Sam seemed the just the right age to enter pro baseball. Danville's mayor bragged that the Browns would win the game if Sam played, which fueled O'Leary's desire to see Big Sam in action.
The Danville team beat the pro team from Indy And so, Sam Thompson became a professional baseball player, playing first for a team in the Northwestern League from Evansville, Indiana in , and then playing with the Indianapolis Hoosiers in the Western League in after the Evansville team folded. Soon, several teams in the Western League disbanded and league play stopped. Thompson got set to don a Wolverine uniform, but there was a problem. The team couldn't find a uniform big enough to fit Big Sam, and he made his major league debut by splitting his pants as he ran into second base after hitting a double.
Still, Sam quickly became a fan favorite and won the respect of his fellow baseball players with his impressive skills. He led Detroit in batting during his first full year with the team in He became the first player in major league history to get more than hits in a season in and racked up a total of RBIs that same year, a record that stood for 34 years until Babe Ruth broke it in Outfielder Thompson, with his batting and fielding prowess, helped lead the Wolverines to a National League pennant and an World Series victory over the St.
Louis Browns of the American Association. The Wolverines folded in due to a poor season finish and financial problems, so the Philadelphia Quakers acquired Thompson. The Quakers soon became the Philadelphia Phillies, and Thompson remained with the team until Thompson became the first Major League player to get 20 home runs and to steal 20 bases during the season.
He led the league in home runs in and Back problems led to his retirement from the Phillies in Thompson retired to Detroit, where he worked as a U. Marshall and as a bailiff in the federal court in Detroit. He also played for the Detroit Athletic Club's amateur baseball team until persuaded to join the Detroit Tigers for a stand of home games in The year-old Thompson played alongside a thenyear-old Ty Cobb in Cobb's first season as a Tiger and became one of the oldest players to hit a triple.
Thompson retired from baseball for good, after his final game as a professional player with the Tigers on September 10, Thompson was the only nineteenth-century player to drive in plus home runs in a season achieving that total twice. He was a strong fielder and batter, retiring with career records of home runs, RBIs, a. Baseball authorities really never appreciated Thompson's talents during his lifetime, but later baseball historians studied and gave Thompson full credit for his stats and status as one of the sport's truly great players. Thompson collapsed from a heart attack while working as an election inspector in Detroit on November 6, He died the next day.
Crowds gathered for a parade through town and for Thompson's burial in Detroit's historic Elmwood Cemetery. The Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame followed suit in Danville erected their marker honoring Thompson in We visited Thompson's grave in Detroit's Elmwood Cemetery on a recent snowy March day, pausing a moment to remember an early Detroit Tigers star and anticipate the coming of spring and yet another baseball season.
Check out my story of another early Midwestern baseball player, the first African American to play Major League baseball, Moses Fleetwood Walker, Ohio baseball pioneer. Thanks to Visit Hendricks County for sponsoring my visit to Hendricks County, providing lodging, meals and a tour of Hendricks County attractions for my review during my recent visit there, with no further compensation. Check out some of these great Midwest-related stories I read online as we closed out I enjoy the winery's Rieslings, and during our last visit, we stopped by the Leelanau Cheese creamery tucked behind the Black Star Farms tasting room to sample and take home some of the fab Raclette Cheese.
Traders Point Creamery is one of the country's only all-organic dairy farms, and it looks like a great place to visit with your family and sample some ice cream!
Bath School Disaster -The recent tragedy at Newtown, Connecticut reminded Debra Ann Pawlak of the disturbing story of the worst act of violence against a school. I read this sad story about a year or so ago in a book about the tragedy in mid-Michigan which claimed the lives of 45 people, most of them children.
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I got Tim hooked on the series after buying him the first couple of books in at when I visited Ohio for a writers conference. We didn't know about this newest addition to the series , or the one immediately preceding it. Thanks for helping me do some Christmas shopping, Amanda!
Finding Hendricks County's Historical Markers -Eric posts this report on the county's All Access blog, and includes a couple of the markers I saw on my own trip there recently. I'll be posting more of my stories about Hendricks County, which will include my take on a couple of these markers, in coming months. Thompson played with the Detroit Tigers baseball team in the early s, so it was a must-see site for me when I was there.
Ohio Caverns -You wouldn't think of Ohio as a place to find cool caverns, but think differently! Michael shares this report about some of the state's visitor-friendly caverns at the Discover Ohio blog. Farlane shares one of my favorite pieces of trivia and a great photo taken by DetroitDerek at the Michigan in Pictures blog.
Yup, Canada is -south- of Detroit, something I've pointed out myself multiple times over the years! Meet Christian Clemens, founder of Mt.
Clemens -Check out Amy's story about Mt. Clemens founding at her Night Train blog. I've always been fascinated with Ohio's canals, and Michigan's lack thereof, so I especially enjoyed learning about Christian Clemens' connection to Michigan's ill-fated Clinton-Kalamazoo canal. Jessie Voigts shares our affection for Skyline Chili!
I love chili, but I don't like it with beans, so I choose Skyline's signature three-way chili - spaghetti topped with chili and a mountain of finely shredded cheddar cheese! And, yes, as Jessie suggests, I make it a point to stock up on canned Skyline Chili at a local grocery store when I visit Ohio! Don't be surprised to see tickets below face value for games featuring an inter-league match-up of the Mariners and the Pirates. If that is the case, it makes a lot of sense to use Stubhub to buy. Another great place to buy tickets is from Score Big.
Let's face it, most ticket broker sites are the same but this one is actually different. It is kind of like the Priceline of sports tickets. Essentially you can search events in your area, and make an offer on tickets and get an instant answer on whether your bid is accepted. Here are a couple of screenshots of how it works. You can select a quantity, and then it gives you different tiers. It gives you an approximate discount percentage, and shows on the seat map which sections your tickets could possibly be in. Next you enter in a price, again it gives you an idea how how likely that is to be accepted.
I made the comparison to Priceline, and it is true, you have to put in payment details prior to making an official offer. But if you are going to the game, what a great way to save money on tickets! I have a feeling this site is going to get big.
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From time to time, I'll have a promo code available for Score Big. Click here to see if there are any current discounts. Click here to check out tickets on Score Big. If you are buying tickets for a game that is not sold out, obviously you could go directly to that team's website. You should also look around a little for promotions they may be running at that time to see if there are any that make sense for your trip.
I don't mean to sound boastful, but you should check my stadium guides as well to find out which sections offer the best ticket values.