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Friday, May 16, 2014

Rare footage shows FDR walking at All-Star game

How this helped FDR’s regular season OBP is beyond me.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was crippled by polio at age 39, just as his political career was taking off, and the fact that he could only walk with assistance was something he wanted to hide from the American public, fearing they would perceive him as weak.

Now rare film footage that shows America’s only four-term president walking has been donated to the Pennsylvania State Archives by the family of former baseball player Jimmie DeShong, a Harrisburg native who shot the film at the 1937 All-Star game.

Film of FDR when he is not in a car, sitting at a desk or standing behind a podium is very rare because the press corps of the time followed an unwritten rule that they should not portray a struggling chief executive.

According to an article on the website of the FDR Library, the president “requested that the press avoid photographing him walking, maneuvering, or being transferred from his car” and the Secret Service was assigned to interfere with anyone who tried to snap a photo or film of FDR in a “disabled or weak” state.

Repoz Posted: May 16, 2014 at 06:29 PM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history

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   1. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 16, 2014 at 06:39 PM (#4708482)
FDR later managed to steal two bases off C Mike Piazza.
   2. KT's Pot Arb Posted: May 16, 2014 at 06:46 PM (#4708491)
Faker!
   3. Bhaakon Posted: May 16, 2014 at 07:01 PM (#4708494)
Man, those secret service dudes riding on the limo are styling. Not like today, with their Gman-black business suits.
   4. vortex of dissipation Posted: May 16, 2014 at 07:02 PM (#4708495)
Does anyone know just how common it was for the general public at the time to know about FDR's polio? Was it general knowledge, did people really not have a clue, or did they know that he had it, but not the extent of it?
   5. AndrewJ Posted: May 16, 2014 at 07:10 PM (#4708498)
Yes, that '37 ASG reminded FDR of his Groton schooldays, where he'd purchase a Sporting Life every week to read up on the exploits of Jamie Moyer and Julio Franco.
   6. Obo Posted: May 16, 2014 at 07:20 PM (#4708500)
Is that Gehrig and Foxx in the dugout shot?
   7. jdennis Posted: May 16, 2014 at 07:35 PM (#4708508)
#4 I think it was the last one

#6 The guy certainly looks like Gehrig. But that looks like a catcher's mitt on the Yankee, it might be Dickey. The Sox player sure looks like Foxx though. Did an internet search, a caption says it is Gehrig and Foxx.
   8. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: May 16, 2014 at 08:08 PM (#4708515)
I love the view of that old Griffith Stadium RF wall. By the early 50's all those big ads were gone except for the National Boh sign, and the rest of the wall was like a mirror image of the Green Monster.

The wall in 1921-22
   9. Publius Publicola Posted: May 16, 2014 at 08:21 PM (#4708526)
You can see the metal brace under his pantleg sticking out from behind his knee.
   10. Publius Publicola Posted: May 16, 2014 at 08:22 PM (#4708528)
Was it general knowledge, did people really not have a clue, or did they know that he had it, but not the extent of it?


It was general knowledge but nobody had any idea how bad it was because there were no images of him in a wheelchair or being unable to stand without support or with the braces on his legs. And FDR wanted it that way.
   11. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: May 16, 2014 at 08:47 PM (#4708534)
I'd be more impressed if they found rare footage of Alfonso Soriano walking in the postseason.
   12. Rob_Wood Posted: May 16, 2014 at 08:50 PM (#4708538)
I think that was Red Rolfe and Del Baker to Gehrig and Foxx's right in the dugout scene. (Shoot, maybe that was Lefty Gomez, not Rolfe.)
   13. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: May 16, 2014 at 10:09 PM (#4708565)
It was general knowledge but nobody had any idea how bad it was because there were no images of him in a wheelchair or being unable to stand without support or with the braces on his legs. And FDR wanted it that way.

There are apparently only two surviving photos of FDR is his wheelchair; they're in this book.
   14. Perry Posted: May 16, 2014 at 10:25 PM (#4708572)
Full 5:38 version here
   15. AndrewJ Posted: May 16, 2014 at 10:29 PM (#4708576)
There are stories of young newspaper photographers innocently trying to take a snapshot of FDR being helped into/out of his car, and having their cameras "accidentally" pushed by veteran correspondents who knew the score.
   16. Gamingboy Posted: May 16, 2014 at 11:25 PM (#4708590)
It was general knowledge but nobody had any idea how bad it was because there were no images of him in a wheelchair or being unable to stand without support or with the braces on his legs. And FDR wanted it that way.



This actually holds true for many presidents. For example, JFK was a total medical wreck, Cleveland tried his best to keep a cancer surgery secret so that it wouldn't make an economic crisis worse (and even when it WAS exposed, they downplayed it), etc.
   17. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: May 16, 2014 at 11:48 PM (#4708597)
Full 5:38 version here.

Thanks, Perry. That's a much better version, with more footage and many of the players identified.

Two unidentified players: Charlie Dressen, the Reds' manager, walking out of the dugout with Jo-Jo Moore; and Mel Harder, the Indians' pitcher standing on the first base line during what must be the player introductions.

Most telling anachronism: The pitchers warming up right in front of the dugouts. In Griffith Stadium back then, the "bullpens" consisted of nothing but twp similar pitching slabs located down the foul lines.

Most poignant shot: Dizzy Dean warming up. Just three innings later, his career would effectively be over when Earl Averill's line drive broke his toe, and when he tried to come back too soon afterwards, he changed his motion and wrecked his arm.
   18. Perry Posted: May 17, 2014 at 12:14 AM (#4708601)
One thing I noticed, and not for the first time, is how many guys threw from a lower arm slot back then. Look at Dean and Gomez, both low 3/4. Seems like you hardly see anyone (except Feller, I guess) coming straight over the top in those old newsreels.
   19. Morty Causa Posted: May 17, 2014 at 12:34 AM (#4708608)
Well, Diz is really sidearm. More like 1/2 than 3/4. That must have been hell for right-handers when he was one of the fastest pitchers in baseball. Reminded me of Drysdale.
   20. G.W.O. Posted: May 17, 2014 at 02:37 AM (#4708624)
Fox News now running photos of FDR in a wheelchair alongside Vladimir Putin bare chested on a horse...
   21. AndrewJ Posted: May 17, 2014 at 07:08 AM (#4708637)
There's a brief glimpse of a Phillies player walking behind Dizzy as he's warming up -- that would be Bucky Walters, the Phils' lone All-Star in 1937.

Second-most telling anachronism: Looking at the boxscore, 15 of the 16 position player starters played the entire game.
   22. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: May 17, 2014 at 07:29 AM (#4708640)
Second-most telling anachronism: Looking at the boxscore, 15 of the 16 position player starters played the entire game.

In 1939, the entire AL starting lineup---five Yankees, plus Doc Cramer, Hank Greenberg, and Joe Cronin---played the entire game, and the Yanks' Red Ruffing was the starting pitcher. There were only three pitchers used, and the only other substitution was a pinch hitter (another Yankee) for the AL starting pitcher Red Ruffing, who of course was also a Yankee. Box score

Naturally the game was in Yankee Stadium, the Yankees' Joe McCarthy was the manager who picked the starting lineup, out-of-town sportswriters were forced to sit a special section in the bleachers, and the AL won the game.
   23. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 17, 2014 at 08:16 AM (#4708644)
In Culture, DEAD last....

"Eleanor, we've got to do something about this depression!"
(Krusty gets up and begins pacing)
"Oh that's right, I'm crippled! Heh."
   24. BDC Posted: May 17, 2014 at 08:58 AM (#4708646)
how common it was for the general public at the time to know about FDR's polio?

35 years ago, one a wall of one of the bars in the Nassau Inn in Princeton NJ, there was a cartoonish mural (drawn directly on the panel) that showed Herbert Hoover pushing a grinning FDR towards the White House in a wheelbarrow. I don't know if the mural still exists. I'd infer that among a certain class, FDR's disability was quite common and public knowledge, and available for nasty mockery – but that the media just didn't portray it, and polite discourse didn't bring it up.
   25. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: May 17, 2014 at 09:44 AM (#4708651)
I'd infer that among a certain class, FDR's disability was quite common and public knowledge, and available for nasty mockery.

The worldview of that "certain class" was perfectly captured by the immortal Peter Arno cartoon,

"Come along. We're going to the Trans-Lux to hiss Roosevelt!"
   26. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: May 17, 2014 at 09:50 AM (#4708652)
I'm pretty sure that was a young Andy walking in front of Gehrig and Foxx at about the 1:14 mark.

I'm really glad they adjusted the frame rate so the movements look close to normal. It really used to bug me when just about any time you saw old film footage playing at modern frame rates everybody looked like they were in such a rush.

edit: That RF wall is AWESOME! Woodward & Lothrop, the original Curly L in the books for the Nats! And I've seen my share of Geo A. Fuller construction signs around town.
   27. Scott Lange Posted: May 17, 2014 at 10:28 AM (#4708658)
As a result of a 40-year family feud, I didn't meet my notoriously class-conscious grandmother until a few years ago. She's in her 90's now, and not entirely linear in her thinking, but she focused in like a hawk when I asked her about FDR. "Traitor to his class," she hissed, with loads of malice and without a hint of irony. It was kinda cool, actually.
   28. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: May 17, 2014 at 11:34 AM (#4708671)
I'm pretty sure that was a young Andy walking in front of Gehrig and Foxx at about the 1:14 mark.

Actually at that point I was in the AL clubhouse going through the players' wallets. They didn't have much ballpark security in those days unless you tried to mess with the president.

edit: That RF wall is AWESOME! Woodward & Lothrop, the original Curly L in the books for the Nats! And I've seen my share of Geo A. Fuller construction signs around town.

Here's the best collection of vintage Griffith Stadium photographs I've ever seen. The Reddit "Parks of the Past" page that these come from also has similar collections for Forbes, Shibe, Ebbets, Crosley, and Cleveland's Municipal Stadium.
   29. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: May 17, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4708673)
As a result of a 40-year family feud, I didn't meet my notoriously class-conscious grandmother until a few years ago. She's in her 90's now, and not entirely linear in her thinking, but she focused in like a hawk when I asked her about FDR. "Traitor to his class," she hissed, with loads of malice and without a hint of irony. It was kinda cool, actually.

If she's still alive, I'll bet Nieporent's nana could easily top her.
   30. donlock Posted: May 17, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4708685)

#15 Even in 1937 the older guys on the job were often dicks to the new people. Reportedly, the Secret Service guys would grab cameras and expose the film as well.
   31. bobm Posted: May 17, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4708699)
Now we know even FDR had more range than Derek Jeter does :)
   32. Morty Causa Posted: May 17, 2014 at 01:28 PM (#4708748)
Everyone thinks that everyone else who is like them but has a different opinion is a traitor to his class. Because you are always the prototype and exemplar of your class. The other is the mutant who has to be eradicated so you can feel good (be in less fear).
   33. PreservedFish Posted: May 17, 2014 at 01:46 PM (#4708760)
Where in America do people still talk about class in those terms? Are there some old money holdouts in Newport or Savannah that still congratulate themselves on not ever speaking to the common folk?

I went to a tony NYC high school and the millionaire kids were attracted to ghetto chic - now I live in SF where most money is new money - I guess it's just an attitude I've never really come across, even though I've been near wealth.
   34. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: May 17, 2014 at 01:52 PM (#4708765)
Everyone thinks that everyone else who is like them but has a different opinion is a traitor to his class. Because you are always the prototype and exemplar of your class. The other is the mutant who has to be eradicated so you can feel good (be in less fear).

Yes, that explains why voting results are 100% correlated to income levels, and why intra-class political murders from Watts to Newport make the evening news every day.
   35. Sandlapper Spike Posted: May 18, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4709147)
Two unidentified players: Charlie Dressen, the Reds' manager, walking out of the dugout with Jo-Jo Moore; and Mel Harder, the Indians' pitcher standing on the first base line during what must be the player introductions.


Is that Harder or Earl Averill on the first base line? It kind of looks like Averill to me.

I think Harder can be seen shortly afterwards standing to Jimmie Foxx's left as Foxx signs an autograph.

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