Saturday, February 24, 2007

Lutheran Carnival XLIV - Spring Training Edition!

I wanted to step outside the box, if you will, and pick somebody kind of different for my experience hosting, and boy was I thrilled to stumble upon a little blurb two weeks ago. “When asked if he was Jewish, Lou Gehrig replied, ‘No. I’m a Lutheran.’ ”

“WOW!!!! That’s great,” I thought. “What an example of gratitude (thinking of his “I’m the Luckiest Man in the World” speech) and vocation (he held the record for most consecutive games played (2130) until Cal Ripken Jr. beat it in 1998, and was always considered stable and reliable). So I rushed out to the library and grabbed his biography and was devouring it, until I came upon this line “there is no evidence that Lou Gehrig ever was a practicing Lutheran.” GRRRRRR. Oh well, good points aside, he was a Yankee anyway.

But this is the Lutheran Carnival that corresponds with the start of Spring Training…there HAS to be somebody. David Eckstein? Nope…Catholic…Who? Who? Who? (okay, I feel like a frantic owl).

Who indeed???? Are you ready???

Bill Wambsganss!!!!!

Now I know many of my friends (especially those who roll their eyes when I start postin’ about baseball) are saying “WHO?” (Now who’s the owl?)

Bill Wambsganss (1894-1985) played for the Cleveland Indians (I know I just made Marie happy at Homestead Lutheran Academy) and is in the record books for having performed the only unassisted triple play in World Series history (1920). He brought excitement back to the game after the dreaded “Black Sox” incident the year before. The only unfortunate thing is that he did it against my beloved Dodgers!!! It was a very simple, clean feat, honestly. He caught a line drive hit by Clarence Mitchell for the first out, tagged 2nd to retire Pete Kilduff, who was forced to run to 3rd because Otto Miller was coming from first base because he didn’t see Wambsganss make the catch. Then, Wamby tagged him out to complete the triple play (the pic is Wamby on the left with the 3 Dodgers...boy, I bet they loved posing for that picture!).

Known as “Wamby” (because like many of us of German descent, his last name was so gosh darn long that it didn’t fit on the scoreboard), William Wambsganss was born in Cleveland, and when he was a year old, his family moved to Fort Wayne because his pastor father received a call to serve a congregation there. There he grew up and attended Concordia College Fort Wayne. According to Wamby, “if you were a boy and if your parents did their job right, the Good Lord would take care of the rest.” Especially if you were a preacher’s boy, that meant going to seminary. So, even though he had strong doubts that he would make a good pastor, he headed off to St. Louis –despite the fact that he desperately hated speaking in public, had a slight stutter, and got terrible stage fright.

In his first year at seminary, a classmate of his, who had played some professional ball, was asked by a former coach if he knew any good shortstops. The classmate recommended Bill, and so Bill went to play for a minor league team in Cedar Rapids, assuring his dad that it was just for the summer. He did really well, and the following year, his contract was bought by the Cleveland Naps (soon to be the Cleveland Indians). So Bill decided that it was time to have the dreaded talk with his dad.

Describing it 60 years later, he said he was still nervous thinking about it. But, he told his dad that he didn’t think that he was cut out to be a minister and that he really wanted to give professional ball a chance. To his surprise, his dad was VERY supportive. He assured Bill that he wanted him to be happy and was very excited for him. Besides that, Pastor Philip Wambsgannss also happened to be a huge Cleveland fan. Bill wasn’t quite sure what his father’s response would’ve been had his contract been bought out by Detroit.

Bill Wambsganss was married in 1918 and he and his wife had 3 children. After he stopped playing, Wamby coached minor league and professional women’s baseball and softball teams in Fort Wayne for a few years before coaching company teams and entering factory work in 1936. The gymnasium on the campus of Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne is named for Bill Wambsganss.

Sources: The Luckiest Man(2005), by Jonathan Eig ; The Glory of their Times (1970) by Lawrence S. Ritter, ed.; and of course, Wikipedia
Much thanks to
Designated Knitter for the IM saying “hey…what about Wambsganss?”


And now for the lineup:

Dan at Necessary Roughness suggested the 3rd party article "Should Christians Convert Muslims?", written at Evangelical, Catholic, Missional, Faithful. It is a consideration of cultural issues that exist in Iraq and the Middle East today; some that are important to consider when sharing our faith among the Muslims.

Going along with the Muslim theme, fresh from migrating his site to a new address, John H posts a brief review of a book by Barnaby Rogerson looking at a critical period of history, one whose effects are still felt in the world today: the early decades of Islam, and the split between Sunni and Shia Muslims that stems from those decades. John suggests that the Shia mindset, in particular, has various parallels within the church today. Entitled "Shia Tragedy," you will find that at Confessing Evangelical. In a second post, entitled "Perhaps Today" John H. looks at the parallels (on a human level) between Shia Islam and certain groups within the Christian church, and asks why Christians with unorthodox views on eschatology, particularly dispensationalists, frequently put more "orthodox" Christians to shame with their strong belief in the future return of Christ.

Ask the Pastor addressed a question about the use of "obey" in marriage ceremonies with Obedience in the Wedding Vow. Then, with More Christian Critters, he continued to build on two previous posts involving animals in Scripture and religious symbolism.

Aardvark Alley opened this penitential season with a post on the background and significance of Lent. Aardie wrote on Ash Wednesday and included the lection, collect, and litany for the day. Later on the same day, he went off in a totally different direction. Air through a G-String invokes the music of J. S. Bach in commenting on a Polish village that's wrestling with the merits and morals of changing its output of ecclesiastical lace work into lacy garments of a more carnal nature.

Along similar lines, Dan at Necessary Roughness posts "Addressing a Symptom, Not a Cause." Catholic bishops in Brazil are protesting the government's distribution of condoms during Carnival. What's not mentioned is the Roman Catholic church denouncing the licentiousness of Carnival and Mardi Gras. Then he gives us the Valentines Day gift of a mini-carnival through the blogosphere on the holiday of love.

jWinters at submits The Gospel According to Jimmy Buffett: Regabilly Hill. He shares how the lyrics remind him of when Jesus will come again and take us home. Personally, I just can't even type "Jimmy Buffett" without tasting margarita salt.'s 5 o'clock somewhere." ;)

In "Dear Visiting Pastor," E. Rapp of The Rapp Files shares with us a letter to a visiting pastor where he takes issue with his view of the importance of the doctrine of justification ( I like this one, I hope he sent it).

And talking about what God does for us....In her beautiful post, "Being Fed," Susan at Susan's Pendulum comments on babies being fed, brides being fed bits of wedding cake by their grooms, and a nestful of baby robins, waiting open-mouthed for their parents to come back with dinner. And what does this have to do with what happens at the altar rail, anyway?

And my good friend and yarn pusher, The Designated Knitter at Line Drive Down the Right Side admits that she has grown to see how her "her Lutheran-ness" flows through her vocation as knitter (and believe me, for her, its a vocation. She's even mission-minded). In her post "Lutheran Knitting," she calls all confessional Lutheran knitters to join a confessional Lutheran knitters blogroll....I'm so there! (and in all fairness, lest you take her side in that whole "I told her to write a post" thing, she owes me big-time. She got me addicted to knitting, blogging, AND sushi).

Lutheran Carnival XLV will be at Carol Rutz's Annexe on March 11th.

Have a Blessed Lent, a Happy Spring (because it really is Spring, despite the ice has started!), and GO DODGERS!


Dan @ Necessary Roughness said...

Fine job, even if you are a Dodgers fan. If I have to pick a National League team to root for it's usually the Astros. :) Awesome article on Wambsganss.

Susan said...

I LOVE the Wambsganss story! Thanks for telling us that tale.

Marie N. said...

You gave me a very big grin! Sounds like The Wambsganss biography would be a good one to read.

Thanks for hosting carnival :-)

RPW said...

Actually, Marie, there was VERY little to find on the man. I Googled him and saw a reference to George Will's "Men at Work" It says "Most people remember the amazing triple play by Bill Wambsganss, but there was something else that happened in that game" and then it went on to describe how the Indians figured out that the 2nd baseman was throwing extra dirt on his glove whenever the catcher called for one of Burleigh Grimes's spitballs.

I found the essay by Wambsganss himself in "The Glory of Their Times" at the library. And that's all it was, a 3 or 4 page essay that he wrote himself. Other than that, as he says, you'd think he didn't exist before or after he made that play....

He's just a good Lutheran guy who played well enough to have a 10 year career in the Bigs and had his 5 minutes of fame to boot.

Xrysostom said...

Good job. BTW, after your comment to the Designated Knitter, I created a possible button for the Lutheran knitters. Check out Knittenbergers and tell me what you think.

Frank Gillespie said...

I don't understand this game of baseball, but I do understand what a great job you did in hosting the Carnival. Again, thanks for the hard work!

cynic1 said...

This was a SPECTACULAR post (especially because we're all Dodger fans over at our place).

And who is this "frank" who says he doesn't understand baseball? He must be a heretic.

RPW said...

LOL....Heretic is a bit strong. I myself was a convert to baseball.

I prefer to think that his catechesis is not yet complete....


Frank Gillespie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frank Gillespie said...

In the world of baseball, I would definitely be considered a heretic. But I must confess to enjoying, a couple nights a year, watching the Durham Bulls play.

mamajuliana said...

Wow! Great Job! I have lots of reading to do! Thanks for hosting!
Sorry, I'm just not a baseball fan-I tried...hubby just loves the Cubs. We live in Pirate country-so he gave up on them years ago....

RPW said...

LOL...I dated a Cubs fan before I married my husband...I couldn't love the Cubs either.

My husband and I agreed when we got married that I would be a Dodger fan if he were to root for the '49ers. I wasn't from San Francisco, so that didn't last long when the 49ers started stinking (I really just liked Joe Montana).

But little did I know he would get called back to Los Angeles, and that meant I'd actually have to listen to the radio broadcasts and actually go to games. I thought it meant saying "that's nice dear" when he talked about the Dodgers. Eventually, I fell in love with them and gained respect for the game...but I do believe that very few people learn to like baseball "right off the bat" to excuse the pun. But it is a rich game with a tremendous heritage, and there is something of the liturgical in it. It is beautiful. But I don't know if you can grasp that with the Cubs.... Ptttthp.

E. Rapp said...

Too bad Bill Wambsganss didn't get bought out by Detroit.

Thank you for hosting.

Lesa said...

Ouch, 11-1. That's gotta hurt.

Go Cardinals!


Lesa (4th year sem wife and huge Cardinals fan)

RPW said...

Hey..Spring Training doesn't count! You should know that. And we were playing a split squad game. You didn't get our best. And besides, It's Spring Training.

We'll get you this year....

It's been pretty embarassing the way you guys have whooped us the last few years....