DAILY DIRT: ‘The Scooter, the Barber and the Newc, they knew ’em all from Boston to Dubuque’

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Daily Dirt for Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022

All I can say is … Best. Birthday. Present. Ever. … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 476 of The Daily Dirt. (Hey! We’re zeroing in the big 500, which will come shortly after the first of the year. And they said it would never last …)

1. Best. Birthday. Present. Ever.

My son, Geoff, who loves the NFL as much as he does making fun of me, surprised his old dad this week. He had told me last week a birthday present was headed my way, but would be a few days late.

That present arrived just before I was started to put together this edition of The Daily Dirt. And I immediately scrapped the original plans for today’s Dirt.

Geoff had found and sent to me a (sealed) copy of the 1981 Terry Cashman album “Talkin’ Baseball.” The Eighinger family had owned a copy of this masterpiece way back in the early 1980s, but over the course of time and a couple of moves it had disappeared.

“Talkin’ Baseball” has long been a baseball anthem for the baby boomer generation, a work of art by Cashman who was honored in 2011 for his contribution to the game by the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Cashman himself is quite an interesting character. First if all, his actual name is Dennis Minogue and he is now 82 years old. Cashman was also the lead singer for a band called the Chevrons in the late 1950s through the early 1960s. He also played minor league baseball in the Detroit Tigers organization at around the same time.

In 1967, Cashman helped write “Sunday Will Never Be The Same,” a No. 9 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 for Spanky and Our Gang that same year. He also helped author some other top 40 hits by Jim Croce, Henry Gross and others. Cashman, however, will always be best known for “Talkin’ Baseball.” 

The Whiz Kids had won it,
Bobby Thomson had done it,
And Yogi read the comics all the while.
Rock ‘n roll was being born,
Marijuana, we would scorn,
So down on the corner,
The national past-time went on trial.

We’re talkin’ baseball!
Kluszewski, Campanella.
Talkin’ baseball!
The Man and Bobby Feller.
The Scooter, the Barber, and the Newc,
They knew ’em all from Boston to Dubuque.
Especially Willie, Mickey, and the Duke.

Well, Casey was winning,
Hank Aaron was beginning,
One Robbie going out, one coming in.
Kiner and Midget Gaedel,
The Thumper and Mel Parnell,
And Ike was the only one winning down in Washington.

We’re talkin’ baseball!
Kluszewski, Campanella.
Talkin’ baseball!
The Man and Bobby Feller.
The Scooter, the Barber, and the Newc,
They knew ’em all from Boston to Dubuque.
Especially Willie, Mickey, and the Duke.

Now my old friend, The Bachelor,
Well, he swore he was the Oklahoma Kid.
And Cookie played hooky,
To go and see the Duke.
And me, I always loved Willie Mays,
Those were the days!

Well, now it’s the 80’s,
And Brett is the greatest,
And Bobby Bonds can play for everyone.
Rose is at the Vet,
And Rusty again is a Met,
And the great Alexander is pitchin’ again in Washington.

I’m talkin’ baseball!
Like Reggie, Quisenberry.
Talkin’ baseball!
Carew and Gaylord Perry,
Seaver, Garvey, Schmidt and Vida Blue,
If Cooperstown is calling, it’s no fluke.
They’ll be with Willie, Mickey, and the Duke.

Willie, Mickey, and the Duke. (Say hey, say hey, say hey)
It was Willie, Mickey and the Duke (Say hey, say hey, say hey)
I’m talkin’ Willie, Mickey and the Duke (Say hey, say hey, say hey)
Willie, Mickey, and the Duke. (Say hey, say hey, say hey)
Say Willie, Mickey, and the Duke. (Say hey, say hey, say hey)

2. This week’s birthday celebrations include:

  • Late 1960s rock legend Dave Clark of the Dave Clark Five turns 80 on Thursday. The Beatles were No. 1, the Rolling Stones No. 2 and the Dave Clark Five a close No. 3 in the mid-to-late 1960s. 
  • Filmmaking legend Steven Spielberg will be 75 on Sunday. Best Spielberg films? How about 1. “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” 2. “Schindler’s List” and 3. “Saving Private Ryan.”
  • Another Sunday birthday finds movie star Brad Pitt reaching 58. Brad Pitt’s 58? Holy crap.
  • Former pro wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin will be 58, also on Sunday. I think pro wrestling died when Stone Cold retired.
  • 1980s country music headliner Janie Fricke turns 75 on Monday. Her duets with Johnny Duncan are the stuff of legends.

3. Speaking of country classics, here’s the five best I have heard this week:

  • 1. “I Was Country (When Country Wasn’t Cool),” by Barbara Mandrell, with guest appearance from George Jones. When George comes in near the end of the song, how can you not get chills?
  • 2. “Love In The First Degree,” by Alabama. Legitimate question here. Should Alabama be considered the Beatles of country music?
  • 3. “Thinkin’ Problem” by David Ball. One of the best-ever sing-a-long songs.
  • 4. “Redneck Girl,” by the Bellamy Brothers. It’s literally impossible to listen to this song and not smile.
  • 5. “I’ll Be True To You,” by the Oak Ridge Boys. I once interviewed Richard Sterban of ORB and he was one of the nicest human beings I have ever encountered.

Steve Thought O’ The Day — If I could have ever been a part of a country group I would have selected the Oak Ridge Boys. Yes, I would have been country when country wasn’t cool. Or maybe vice versa.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. He’d look good in a Porter Wagoner suit.

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