DAILY DIRT: Thanks to Illinois, Missouri for giving us Wyatt, Bat, Wild Bill, Belle and more


Daily Dirt for Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023

Since the wild west is a kind of a theme today, it’s fitting that we pick the Houston Astros to represent the American League in the World Series … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 531 of The Daily Dirt.

1. As I’m sure most readers of this site know, I absolutely love old western movies and TV shows, plus stories in general concerning the wild, wild west. 

Illinois and Missouri both produced their fair share of big names when it comes to that incredibly interesting era. Here are three of the more recognizable figures from both Illinois and Missouri when it comes to those ole shoot ’em up days.


Wyatt, Morgan and Virgil Earp are all synonymous with the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. What many may not realize is that another Earp brother, James, fought with Virgil for Illinois in the Civil War. The Earp family’s roots are in Monmouth.

Famed gambler and lawman Bat Masterson grew up in southwestern Illinois. He and family members had roots in and around Belleville.

“Wild Bill” Hickok, whose birth near Troy Grove in LaSalle County is honored as a state historic site, is considered my many to be the greatest gunfighter of all.  


Jesse James is arguably the most famous of the Missouri outlaws, of which there were many. His exploits included robbing banks and trains, along with killing people. James, raised in the “Little Dixie” area of western Missouri, became a celebrity in life, then a full-fledged legend of the Wild West following his death.

Cole Younger was an American Confederate guerrilla during the Civil War and later an outlaw leader with the James-Younger Gang. He was the oldest of four brothers who all rode with Jesse and Frank James. Younger hailed from Jackson County.

Belle Starr was  a native of Carthage who rose to fame for not only her own well-documented killing sprees, but through association with the James and Younger clans. “The Bandit Queen’s” weapon of choice was a trapdoor Springfield rifle.

2. Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime show averaged 118.7 million viewers, making it the second-most watched in Super Bowl history.

Katy Perry’s 2015 performance still holds the top mark at 121 million.

Looking ahead: Super Bowl 58 will be in Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium. The date is Feb. 11, 2024. The Kansas City Chiefs are early 6-1 favorites to repeat as NFL champions.

One final Super Bowl note: Of the top 30 all-time most-watched television broadcasts, 29 of them are Super Bowls, including the top nine. At No. 10 is the series finale of the CBS hit M*A*S*H on Feb. 28, 1983.

3. As promised yesterday, here are our way-too-early American League baseball predictions.

1. Houston: Only injuries can stop this team. Great pitching. Great hitting. World Series, here they come. 

2. New York: Yankees are the best in a loaded A.L. East, which isn’t quite as strong as the N.L. East — but it’s darn close.

3. Toronto: Jays may have the flashiest player in the league with the ever-improving Bo Bichette, he of the cool name and long, flowing hair.

4. Cleveland: The Guardians’ staff may actually be deeper and stronger than the one in Houston, but few realize it because … well, they play in Cleveland. And don’t forget the importance of perennial MVP candidate Jose Ramirez.

5. Seattle: If there is a mild dark horse team that will surprise everyone this summer, this could be the club. Keep an eye on second-year pitcher George Kirby. He’s going to be a stud.

On the outside looking in: Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Chicago, Los Angeles. 

Wait till next year: Boston, Baltimore.

No hope for the foreseeable future: Detroit, Kansas City, Oakland.

Steve Thought O’ The Day —If I had grown up in the wild west, my name could have Stevie Gunn. Yes, with two n’s.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. Have pen, will travel…but he might get lost.

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