Category Archives: Degrees

Orange WHIP


In The Blues Brothers, Jake and Elwood Blues sang the old Spencer Davis Group hit “Gimme Some Lovin'” On the original, teenage Steve Winwood sang and played the Hammond B-3. Winwood would go on to Traffic and later Blind Faith. Blind Faith was a supergroup that included Winwood, Ric Grech from Family, and Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton from Cream. The bandmates were indeed in the “Presence of the Lord” for Clapton was still God at the time. This was before his music became wimpy.

Blind Faith had the half life of plutonium and only recorded one album. Slowhand was more interested in playing with Delaney, Bonnie & Friends, anyways. But constant infighting between Delaney and Bonnie fouled that band up. Out of the ashes came Derek and the Dominoes. Bobby Whitlock, Carl Radle, and Jim Gordon all played with Clapton in Delaney, Bonnie & Friends and they joined him again on Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs. To complete the quintet, they called on Duane Allman.

Allman was the Sandy Koufax of guitar. He formed The Allman Brothers Band with his brother Gregg. Before that, he was a respected session musician. He played with all sorts of R&B cats down at Muscle Shoals. He played with Wilson Pickett and Percy Sledge. Aretha Franklin covered The Band’s “The Weight” and Duane played guitar on that. Kids today don’t remember the Queen of Soul, do they? Aretha was in The Blues Brothers. She played Matt “Guitar” Murphy’s wife and sang “Think.”

I suppose I could have went with Blues Brothers 2000. Steve Winwood appears in that with Eric Clapton as part of the Louisiana Gator Boys. So does Franklin, still playing Mrs. Murphy. But I’ve never seen that flick.

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Why Wasn’t This Guy Nicknamed Goose?


This guy I’m talking about is Greg Goossen. The Society for American Baseball Research is having their annual shindig in Atlanta this week. They have an email list called SABR-L. On that list there’s been a recent discussion about Gossen.

Goossen was a ballplayer back in the ’60s. He was on one of the early Mets squads. Once, he was coming back to the hotel after curfew and a bit schnockered. He ran into Casey Stengel, who was managing the Mets at the time. “Drunk again, Goossen,” said the septugenarian skipper. Goossen replied, “Yeah, me too, Casey.” But he’s more famous as part of a Stengel quote. It goes something like “There’s Ed Kranepool, who is 20. In 10 years he has a chance to be a star. And there’s Greg Goossen; in ten years he has a chance to be 30.”

45 years later, Goossen is still alive. He was a California guy and went Hollyweird after he hung up his spikes. Got a job as a stand-in for Gene Hackman in movies and ended up getting some bit parts as a result of this. One of these was the 1990 copedy Loose Cannons. S. Epatha Merkerson had a role in that pic. She’s best known as Lt. Van Buren from “Law and Order.” But she also did some film roles. She appeared in Terminator 2 with Ahhnuld.

Schwarzenegger came to fame in the 1977 documentary Pumping Iron. But before that he made an uncredited appearance in Robert Altman’s adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye. Synechdochically enough, he played some muscle in that flick. It was a quirky film; Elliot Gould’s Marlowe was like a fish out of water stuck in the Watergate era. I liked it and like to think that Mickey Mantle and Bowie Kuhn got a kick out of it, too. You see, toward’s the end, Marlowe blows away his friend Terry Lennox by firing his roscoe at point blank range.

Lennox was played by Jim Bouton. Bouton was Goossen’s teammate on the 1969 Seattle Pilots.

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Moe Berg: Pitchers and Catchers


More classic stuff from Google Books. I’ve discussed Berg in these pages a few months ago. He once appeared on Information Please! with Clifton Fadiman. I wish I could find it online, but I can’t. The “it” that I’m referring to is an essay called “I Shook Hands With Shakespeare.” In it, Fadiman connects himself to Shakespeare via a series of acquaintances. The essay was as much of an inspiration for me and my occasional Mobius strips linking baseball figures as James Burkes’s works.

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Six Degrees of Spencer Haywood


Spencer Haywood was an interesting cat. Dig. He was husband, at one point, to the supermodal Iman. Wikipedia includes her in a list of mononymous people like Cher or Madonna or Prince. Mononymous! I wish I thought up that word. Anyways, Iman went onto marry David Bowie.

Bowie is an interesting connector. He’s collaborated with all sorts of folks like Mick Jagger, Bing Crosby, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Niles Rodgers. He worked with John Lennon on “Fame.” Lennon was once interviewed on Monday Night Football by Howard Cossell. This was before they started to have celebrities on every MNF game, so it was a special occasion. And Cossell was the first person to announce Lennon’s death on TV. Cossell is intertwined intimately with Muhammad Ali. But this is a cul-de-sac. We need to go back to Lennon.

It is true that Lennon was in a band before the Plastic Ono Band. They were the Beatles. On the White Album, there’s a song “Dear Prudence” that was written by Lennon and Paul McCartney. It was written about Prudence Farrow, who went to India with the group to meditate. Prudence has a more famous sister named Mia. Mia lived for over a decade with Woody Allen. Now,this is the weakest link, but Allen wrote an article for Sport about Earl Monroe that I’ve mentioned here. He never interviewed him for it or anything. They did meet during the filming of Annie Hall, but the Pearl’s scene was cut. Monroe and Haywood were teammates from ’75 to ’78.

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Connections


Roger Clemens pitched in the 2007 ALDS against the Cleveland Indians. Some of those guys like Asdrubal Cabrera may play baseball for a long time.

In 1986, he pitched for the Red Sox against the Angels in the ALCS. Reggie Jackson played for California.

In 1973, Jackson’s A’s faced the Mets in the World Series. Willie Mays was singing his swan song.

Mays played in the 1951 Series against the Yanks. This was Joe DiMaggio’s last season.

DiMaggio played in the 1936 World Series versus Bill Terry’s Giants. Bill Terry played in the 1924 Fall Classic versus the Walter Johnson’s Senators.

Johnson to Clemens in five steps. Not bad for a Saturday morning.

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Stantonicity


S. Strasburg (as OldHossRadbourn might call him) wasn’t the only hyped prospect to debut recently. There’s also Mike Stanton. Mike Stanton (reliever) and Hanley Ramirez played together on the ’05 Red Sox. Ramirez now plays with Mike Stanton (prospect.)

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Another Seamheads Article


This one links two Joe Jacksons.

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