The incomparable Abbot and Costello routine starts with Who…. he’s on first.
“Who are you? Who who, who who….” The Who, the rock group, asked that very question in one of their well known songs.
Baseball in fact is a Who’s Who. One of the aspects of the great game is that there are legendary players, or if not legendary, were so adept they are in the Hall of Fame, but if someone says their name you (like me) may well ask: “Wait a second…. Who?”
This is how I reacted to the name Heinie Manush. His actual name is Henry Emmett Manush. He was one of eight children (seven were boys). The parents were German which somehow explains the nickname Heinie. I am not going to make any puns. The nickname may come back into popularity, you never know. Not likely, but you never know.
I have learned Mr. Manush played professional ball for 20 years (1920 to 1939). His life time average is a rather stunning 330. He replaced Ty Cobb on the Tigers when the Georgia Peach (there’s another unique nickname) was done, at least on the Tigers. Ol Heinie won the batting title in 1926 by going six for nine in a doubleheader, edging out some other guy nicknamed Babe.
Apparently Manush had a bit of a temper, On a bad call (a very bad call) he verbally lambasted the Ump before being tossed out of the game, but admitted years later he pulled the bow tie the umpire was wearing (they wore bow ties in those days), and then snapped it back right into the gentleman’s neck…
Baseball is like a jig saw puzzle, except not all of the pieces always fit together Even so it makes a mosaic that is irresistible.
Heinie Manush. Joe DiMaggio. Hoyt Wilhelm. Randy Johnson. I can’t say they have a lot in common except they all played the great game. They all excelled one way or another. They all rowed in the endless boat that is our national past time. They brought it forward. They helped it sail. And they did well for us, the fans.
Heinie, I will never say “Who?” again when your name is mentioned. And at Cooperstown, I am going to visit you and salute. I might even wear a bow tie for the occasion.