Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Pasadena & Boston - Ty Cobb & Babe Ruth August 27, 2012

 I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.

To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe. Decide what it is you want. -  Write it down.  Make a plan. And … Work on it.  Every. Single Day. That's how this new show came about.

That is what I learned when I started the Ty Cobb show. After contacting my friend Steve Folven, I approached him with the concept of a show about Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth. 

 Steve (aka Babe Ruth) Folven (a) introduced me to his friend, Phil Van Horn (b) who resides in Pasadena, Calif. I contacted Phil who told me he recently video taped Steve for his sports media network. He said Steve, who is a professional Babe Ruth impersonator bears a remarkable resemblance to the Babe and sounds like him.

Phil said Steve told him about my Ty Cobb show and he asked me if I would perform in Pasadena for a client of his which I did in December.  After the meeting, Phil, md y nephew Steve Grant and I went to Jackie Robinson Park in Pasadena where Phil taped me.

Steve liked the idea and flew to San Francisco to meet me and discuss the concept.

Steve and I with friends met at Lefty O'Doul's Restaurant on Geary Street in Union Square,  San Francisco, in April. We entered the crowded restaurant in uniform, Steve in his Yankee uniform bearing  Ruth's famous number 3 on his back, and me in a Tigers uniform. The crowd was astounded, smiling and laughing as we strolled into the restaurant, past the bar and headed toward the rear of the establishment.

The restaurant, named after famous slugger and San Francisco celebrity Lefty O'Doul is famous for its outstanding collection of sports photos, including Cobb and Ruth, it's variety of sandwiches, hot lunches and bar serving what is known as the best Bloody Mary in the USA.

The four of us including our friends Hal Bogner and Nick Siegel took a table in the rear and immediatley improvised a conversation as Ty and the Babe might have done, downing beers and entertaining the crowd of men who surrounded our table. 

This attracted the attention of owner Nick Bovis who joined us, took several photos on his cell phone and said, "If you get a good photo of the two of you, I will hang it in the restaurant".
After we lunched, Hal, Babe & I posed for a portrait that now hangs in the rear of the establishment.

Photo by Hal Bogner
We decided to  write a script for a show we called" Ty Cobb & Babe Ruth, "A Tale of Greatness". We did not let the fact that 3000 miles separated us from rehearing. Steve lives near Boston and I live in Half Moon Bay near San Francisco. We agreed to rehearse every Sunday at 4PM for an hour. We each had a script, I recorded our rehearsals. We started early in May, our goal was to perform in the Boston area late August or early September.

With my experience with Rotary clubs in the San Francisco area, I contacted over twenty Rotaries over a three week hunting expedition  and six agreed to our performing starting August 27th.

I flew to Boston on the 23rd, stayed at Steve's home in Tyngsboro while he went to work in Lowell. We started our first in person rehearsal the next day. I expressed my desire to see the Red Sox play in storied Fenway Park and Steve's brother Ray arranged to receive four box seats, 5 rows from the field next to the Red Sox dugout. 

Along with Ray's nephew Matthew, we had a great time as the BoSox beat the Kansas City Royals 8-6.  

Left to right - Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio, John Pesky, Bobby Doer

August 27 - Chelmsford

Our first of six shows in six cities in four days was Chelmsford, located 24 miles northwest of Boston. The city was named after Chelmsford, England. Our contact, Dawn C. Ferrari advised us she was unable to attend but Patrick Kimera, Club President would and Charles Keen would video tape the show.

The location was the Radisson Hotel & Suites. As this was our first performance in public, we were slightly nervous at the start, but settled in as we introduced the show opening.

 Cobb entered stage left and described the two men as opposite as the sun and the moon. They had two different approaches to playing baseball, and playing the game of life. Ty says how he helped create the game we know as the national pastime, while Ruth changed the game with his home runs.

Ruth points out that he led the Yankees to four World Series Championship (c) pointing out that the Tigers with Cobb never won one. Cobb joshes Ruth by reminding him that he, Ty, hit over 400 three times. Ruth never accomplished that feat. The audience loved the friendly battles the two men engaged in.

       Cobb speaks about what he loved about playing baseball and when he is finished, he sits, lights up a pipe and picks up a newspaper.  Babe Ruth walks in stage right and talks about what he loved about playing the game.

They diss each other in a friendly manner each trying to out do the other explaing how they were the greater player drawing chuckles from the attentive audience. The show ends with a Q&A and a round of applause.

August 28 - Bedford

Robert A. Cassady, President Elect advised us there is construction and detour at the
Doubletree Hotel on Middlesex Turnpike.
We took this into consideration and left Steve's home in Tyngsboro early.

Bedfor is located about 15 miles northwest of the city of Boston. It was once known as the whaling capital of the world. Herman Melville sailed out of Bedford which inspired him to write Moby Dick.

We were served a buffet lunch and took the stage at 1PM. They bantered back and forth discussing baseball strategy, the players they admired
and who was the better hunter and golfer.

At one point Ruth asked Cobb how much he was worth (Cobb was a multi-millionaire) (d). Cobb answered "none of your damn business George. No one knows what I’m worth but when I die, the State of Georgia is going to be richer by one million bucks. Inheritance tax you know" drawing laughs from the audience.  We concluded with a Q&A, posed for photos with the President and others and signed some autographs.

August 28 - Evening

We took a three hour break before driving to Wellesley for the first of two "doubleheaders" I had scheduled.

We met Tory DeFazio, our contact person at the Wellesley Community Center on Washington St. in Wellesley Hills. A social 1/2 hour began at 6PM with a sit down dinner at 6:30. We took the stage at 7:15 and completed the show at 8PM following our 

Wellesley is an affluent town north of Boston. It is best known as the home of Wellesley College, a liberal arts college.

Tory told us the local cable company (Wellesley Media) will be present to record the show. They will broadcast our entire program for the weekly news program "Wellesley This Week"  

"I will be doing a writeup for the local newspaper using the photo and material 
you sent me".

Aug 29: BOSTON at the elegant Park Plaza Hotel. Lucia Millam, Speakerchair.  Small audience, about 20, They enjoyed the show. Excellent lunch, chicken & mashed potatoes at McCormicks & Schmicks.  Received complimentary note & photo from Lowell A. Hart. He asked for our autographs. We taxied to Fenway Park, bought a Sox shirt, walked around Boston

Aug 30:  DEDHAM, Tanya Taddeo, speaker.  She liked idea of returning to small theater, had a son, Duece there. Dan Wood met us and spent the day with us.
FRANKLIN with Bruce Healey, speaker.  Show at 3 Restaurant, meatloaf (I did not like it-great mashed potatoes) Good show. Positive comments. Steve lost his cell phone. Phone found. Very tired,  went to bed early.

Aug 30 - Evening Franklin

The official name isThe Town of Franklin was the first city in the country to have a library, donated by Benjamin Franklin. It contains the largest Catholic parish in the Boston Archdiocesse, St. Mary's Catholic church with 15,000 members.

After leaving Dedham, we drove to The Town of Franklin was our final stop on our 6 city tour. Bruce Healy was our contact person. He advised us the stage is small but should work. He agreed to provide a CD player for the introduction. He told us members arrive about five for cocktails and appetizers, Dinner at 6PM.

We said we would be about five, mingle with the members and have a few snacks. We enjoyed the dinner, went on stage at 7pm and concluded with our Q&A at 7:45.

August 31st was a day of rest and relaxation around the spacious pool at Steve's condo. We were both tired and need this day to prepare for our six hour drive to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY the next day.

Sept 1: Left for Cooperstown, NY at 8AM.  Our drive through  upstate New York took us through the most lbeautiful countryside of up state New York.to Cooperstown.

Sept 2: We had breakfast, than toured the Museum. It was delightful with so much to see. We had dinner at the elegant Otswega Hotel overlooking the Otswega Lake.
Steve attracted lost of attention as he wore his Yankee uniform, kids loved getting photos with the Babe. Adults too. We toured many memorabilia stores on Main St and 
a young man named Tom took our picture.

We drove back to Tingsboro and the next morning, I flew home to San Francisco.

(a) Steve Folven: Bearing an uncanny resemblance to Babe Ruth, his mannerisms and anecdotes, Steve has performed at ballparks around the country. 

(b)  Phil Van Horn
Integrity Sports Agency LLC
301 N.Lake Ave, 7th Floor
Pasadena, Ca 91101

(c) The restaurant was named after Lefty O'Doul, a great hitter in the National League and a San Fancisco celebrity. Located in Union  Square, it has hundreds of sports photos on its walls including, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth and me.

(c) 1923 vs Giants 4-3
      1927 vs Pirates 4-0
      1928 vs Cardinals 4-0
      1932 vs Cubs 4-0

(d) Cobb invested in the stock market shortly after joining the Tigers. In corporations like General Electric, RJ Reynolds tobacco, US Steel and General Motors. His investments with Coca-Cola in the early twenties made him a  millionaire.  

Cobb quote:  "Baseball was one-hundred percent of my life." Source The Tumult and the Shouting (Grantland Rice 1954)                           

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