Posts Tagged ‘Valentine’s Day’

So…it’s Valentine’s Day.  Card companies and flower companies and candy companies love this day for obvious reasons.  People that work at places that sell cards and flowers and candy probably love it a little less, just because of the manic shopping that takes place in the days leading up to (and especially the day of) the holiday.

In general, it’s a fun day with some treats and time spent with those we love.

But it’s not that way for everybody.  For some, Valentine’s Day conjures up pains or hurts that they’d rather not remember.  That was certainly the case for a young Theodore Roosevelt.

On February 14, 1884, the young man who would be President suffered the most grievous of losses.  It may not be the best source for this type of incident, but since I read about it in Timothy Egan’s The Big Burn, it’s the source I’m using.

“The blow of a lifetime came early, on Valentine’s Day 1884, perhaps the best-known single day of trauma in the formative period of a future president.  In the morning, Teddy’s mother died of typhoid fever at the family house on Fifty-seventh Street; she was forty-six.  A few hours later, the suddenly orphaned Roosevelt lost his bride in the same house, to Bright’s disease, a kidney ailment, which had been masked by her pregnancy.  He scrawled a big, shaky X on a diary page and wrote a single sentence: ‘The light has gone out of my life.'”

The young man, in his mid-twenties and a budding politician, chucked it all and headed west, where friends and family and politics wouldn’t be around, and where the Badlands and open country could maybe concoct an elixir to clear the head of a man crushed by loss.  It would be two years before he returned to Manhattan.

Recommended Reading: The Big Burn

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’ve known Ben for seven or eight years, and he’s a good friend of mine.  We share a love of baseball and the Atlanta Braves and talk back and forth across a Braves forum quite a bit.  We talk on the phone at least once a month, giving our thoughts on baseball and family and faith and whatever else comes up.  I’ve never met Ben face-to-face, but it will happen at some point.  He’s a genuinely good guy…

…and at one time, he worked for the Atlanta Braves, so maybe that’s the source of this story.  But regardless of where he heard this, it’s his idea that is the subject of Today’s History Lesson.

We’ve talked about the badness the Atlanta Braves displayed as a team in the mid-to-late 1980s.  They were pretty bad.  No, they were really bad.  But the 1970s were cursed ones for the Braves as well.  Only twice did they finish above .500, in 1970 (82-80) and 1974 (88-74).  But for the most part, they were at or near the bottom of the NL West.  Players didn’t like it.  Coaches didn’t like it either, but they didn’t usually stick around long enough to get too tired of it.  Fans didn’t like it, but they kind of came to expect it.

In 1975, a year after 88 wins and a 3rd place finish, the Braves lost 94 games, returning to 5th place in a league of 6 teams, 40.5 games behind the division-winning Big Red Machine in Cincinnati.

On February 14, 1976, owners of Braves’ season tickets and members of the media got a special Valentine’s Day card.  Everybody likes Valentine’s Day cards, right?  The warm words of love, the fuzzy feelings, the smile you have when you read them.  Well, these cards were from the Atlanta Braves front office.  Inside, they read:

Rose is a Red
Morgan’s one, too
They finished first
Like we wanted to

But last year’s behind us
We’re happy to say
Now we’re tied for first
Happy Valentine’s Day

A nice sentiment, and humorous for sure, but baseball games can’t be won by clever rhyming.  And the Braves proved it.  Though they won 3 more games than they did in 1975, they finished the 1976 season in last place, 32 games behind the unstoppable Reds.

A Valentine is nice, but it’s not all that good for miracles…

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