Post Yanksgiving Odds and Ends

I don’t know about anyone else, but I spent Black Friday not going shopping. I’m just not into getting stampeded.
Sitting in my inbox were a few interesting photos. Mike, a frequent commenter, sent me this one of Hilda Chester, who just may have been the original she-fan.
Hilda rooted for the Brooklyn Dodgers – and that’s putting it mildly. After reading this excerpt from Peter Goldenbock’s oral history of the Dodgers, I’m thinking Hilda was even more obsessed with her team than I am with mine.
Melissa, another friend of the blog, sent me a pic her brother took at their Thanksgiving. Apparently, her father had saved newspaper clippings about the Yanks and arranged them in the frame of an old mirror.
melissa's dad's mural1.jpg
The headline “Gehrig stricken with infantile paralysis” really stands out, doesn’t it? I guess that’s what everybody thought poor Lou had – at least for awhile.
Mary Ann, the trash talker from my Thanksgiving, took time out from saying mean things about the Yankees to send this pic she snapped of me, my husband, and Robert, the Yankee fan.
I’m posting it because I’d like someone to tell me why my eyes are so scary in every single picture somebody takes of me. I once asked an eye doctor about this and he said, “It’s your pupils. They don’t contract.” Fine. But why must they make me look like a she demon?
Speaking of “She Demons,” which was a cheesy horror movie from the 1950s, it’s how I came up with the term “she-fan.” You can hear me talking about that – as well as how I became a Yankee fan, the connection between the Mantle and Jeter eras, the journey that led me to write the “Confessions of a She-Fan” book and more – on a podcast hosted by Joe Magennis and just posted on “Baseballisms,” his terrific site. Here’s the link. Even if you’re not interested in hearing me ramble, you should sign up for Joe’s e-book that’s about to come out. It consists of real time Tweets from people on Twitter who were watching the World Series – fans reacting to the action with 140-character responses. It should be entertaining and bring back all the excitement of the Series, which, as we know, had a very happy ending.


  1. Jane Heller

    You had fun with a loud Cubs fan, Jeff? I didn’t know beer could mitigate that! Thanks for the comment today, btw. It sure feels lonely here. Everyone must be shopping or eating leftovers.


    I did NOT go shopping yesterday or today – that would be my idea of hell! Though I was in the mall in Albany, NY last weekend wandering around while a genius fixed my macbook and they have a “Yankees Dugout” store. All Yankees, all the time. Cool!

    As far as the infantile paralysis, this is what the Mayo Clinic said about Gehrig “Dr. Habein released this statement to the newspapers after Gehrig had the chance to tell the Yankees:
    “This is to certify that Mr. Lou Gehrig has been under examination at the Mayo Clinic from June 13 to June 19, inclusive.
    After a careful and complete examination, it was found that he is suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This type of illness involves the motor pathways and cells of the central nervous system and, in lay terms, is known as a form of chronic poliomyelitis – infantile paralysis.”

    I guess at the time, they thought ALS was a type of polio.


  3. Jane Heller

    It would be my idea of hell too, Melissa. I’m staying far, far away from the crowds. Interesting about the Mayo Clinic’s diagnosis of Gehrig. I guess it’s not surprising that they thought ALS was related to polio, since polio was so pervasive at that time – and so frightening. Thanks again for sending the pic.

  4. mikeeff

    i was waiting in the cold outside of the Apple store at 7:30 yesterday morning to make sure they weren’t out of the new 27″ quad core iMacs . there was a large crowd…but i got one…

    it’s hard to find a lot of info on Hilda. i first heard about her from the ken burns doc. the best Hilda story I know is when she sent a note to Leo in the dugout to take out the starter and bring in some favored reliever of hers. Leo thought the note had come from Branch Rickey and he duly removed the guy. The reliever almost blew the game…

  5. Jane Heller

    I very well could be a vampiress, Paul, but not a stat one. I still don’t know what a slugging percentage is.

    OMG, Mike. That story about Hilda is hilarious. I love that she wielded such power over Leo. Can you imagine a fan passing a note to Girardi to remove Bruney and Girardi actually doing it?


    Hi Jane,

    I enjoyed the interview! You represent the She-fans well.

    When do you go for spring training? My husband and I are going to Hawaii for our 25th anniversary the last 10 days of February.

    I’ve been looking ahead to next year’s schedule. The Angels will be playing in NY in April. HA HA! Do you think they’ll be able to hold on to the ball? They should be grateful to the schedule-makers for toughening them up. The Yankees will be in KC in the middle of August for a four game series that includes the weekend. I’m aiming to see the World Champions then.

    I saw Sugar and I really liked it though I was surprised by the way it turned out. It was really touching and Soto reminded me of Robbie Cano. Maybe they are related.


  7. Jane Heller

    So true. She was the Brooklyn Dodgers equivalent of a Bleacher Creature. She would have been great doing the roll call. LOL.

  8. Jane Heller

    Hi, Laurie. I have a speaking gig on the east coast of FL in mid-March, so the current plan is to drive to Tampa afterwards and spend a few days there at spring training. I have to check the Yankees’ schedule but I hope it works out. So you’re planning to see them in KC? Excellent. I liked Sugar too. I especially loved the ending, because I have a feeling it was much more realistic than if he had ended up in the majors. And yes, now that you mention it, the actor does remind me of Cano!

  9. Jane Heller

    Alan, that’s the same article/excerpt I linked to above! She sounds like an interesting character, doesn’t she? I wonder what she’d make of the current Dodgers.

  10. jessel

    Two thoughts, Jane. If as the eye doctor says your pupils don’t contract, then perhaps you have been palling around with Nancy Pelosi, or as the Guv would say Pah-low-zee. She looks as though some angry constituent dropped a ice cube down her pants suit that never did melt and remained cold in perpetuity.

    But on to things of greater import. You’ve kind of embarrassed me. As a Dodgers fan I should be the one informing you about Hilda Chester. But Kudos to you for bringing up this Brooklyn legend. I want to share with you another story about Hilda that I think will be to your liking.
    Here goes.

    [Hilda had a voice that could be heard all over the park. It stood out above all the other voices, and the players could hear her raspy call followed by the clanging of her cowbell all through a game. At least once Hilda even was involved in a game’s outcome.

    PETE REISER: “I remember one time, it was either in ‘41 or ‘42, we were in the seventh inning of a game. I was going to take my position in center field, and I hear that voice: ‘Hey, Reiser!’ It was Hilda, There could be 30,000 people there yelling at once, but Hilda was the one you’d hear. I look up, and she’s dropping something onto the grass. ‘Give this note to Leo,’ she yells. So I pick it up and put it in my pocket. At the end of the inning I start heading in.

    “Now MacPhail used to sit in a box right next to the dugout, and for some reason he waved to me as I came in, and I said, ‘Hi, Larry,’ as I went into the dugout. I gave Hilda’s note to Leo and sat down. Next thing I know he’s getting somebody hot in the bullpen; I think it was (Hugh) Casey. Meanwhile, (Whitlow) Wyatt’s pitching a hell of a ballgame for us. In the next inning, the first guy hits the ball pretty good and goes out. The next guy gets a base hit. Here comes Leo. He takes Wyatt out and brings in Casey. Casey gets rocked a few times, and we just did win the game, just did win it.

    “….[A]fter [the]game … he goes into his office and slams the door without a word. We’re all sitting there waiting for him to come out. Finally the door opens and out he comes. He points to me.

    “‘Don’t you ever give me another note from MacPhail as long as you play for me.’

    “I said, ‘I didn’t give you any note from MacPhail.’

    “‘Don’t tell me!’ he yells. ‘You handed me a note in the seventh inning.’

    “‘That was from Hilda,’ I said.

    “‘From Hilda?” he screams. I thought he was going to turn purple. ‘You mean to say that wasn’t from MacPhail?’

    “I hadn’t even looked at the note, just handed it to him. Leo had heard me say something to MacPhail when I came in and figured the note was from Larry. It seems what the note said was: ‘Get Casey hot. Wyatt’s losing it.’ So what you had was somebody named Hilda Chester sitting in the centerfield bleachers changing pitchers for you.”]

    For clarification’s sake, Larry MacPhail was the Dodgers owner at that time, and followed that by becoming the Yankees President and later co-owner. Pete Reiser was a star outfielder for the team, who unfortunately has not received his historical due. Leo Durocher in his autobiography stated that when asked he always said that Willie Mays was the greatest ballplayer he had ever seen. But, he said, actually the greatest was Pete Reiser. Reiser was fearless in his pursuit of flyballs in an era before padded walls. As a result, his numerous injuries, from repeatedly crashing into those walls caused his career to be tragically short and his brilliance largely forgotten. He won the batting title as a rookie and still holds the record for stealing home 7 times in a season, a feat he accomplished twice. Most players don’t steal home that often in a career.


  11. Jane Heller

    Wonderful story about Hilda, Jessel. I can only imagine trying to send a note to a manager today and telling them to make a pitching change! Thanks for sharing the anecdote and telling us more about Hilda – and Reiser.

  12. irishsoxkid19

    Good to know I’m not the only one that didn’t shop on Black Friday!! Heck, I went Christmas shopping last month. Ok, I saw a few things online that are perfect for my brother and grandpa. came to my rescue!! But yeah, I spent Black Friday at the movies and just hanging around. The Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey- FUNNY AS ANYTHING!! So is New Moon.


    The price of fame is spam (fyr) Jane. Btw, I browsed through the comments and the reason I learned people’s eye’s become red is because you look directly into the flash. hope that helps XD

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