Sunday, January 18, 2009

#5 -- John Bateman

John Bateman

John was a fair to middlin’ catcher for most of his big league career. He was good defensively, but couldn’t hit or run enough to stay in a good lineup. Still, name me a Houston Astro catcher that’s bested his 16 homers in a season. Can’t do it, although I think that’s got to be beaten in the next 5-7 years. He was also the first ever catcher on the Expos. The best team he was on was the 4-man King and His Court, Eddie Feigner’s traveling 4 man team that beat 9 man All-star teams in softball.

John died in 1996, but that hasn’t stopped him from maintaining a Myspace page. Check it out. There are some interesting stories about how he didn't get along with Gene Mauch in Montreal, but did fancy himself as a 1970's Jack Bauer.

1972 Feature
Probably the most heinous event of 1972 occurred on September 5 in Munich, Germany. This will be written about separate from the Olympics, because I have such fond memories of the Olympics that year I don't want to ruin it again with this.

Members of a Palestinian group called Black September infiltrated the Olympic Village and got to the condo where the Israeli Olympic team was staying. They kidnapped and killed 11 Israeli Olympians. Three of the terrorists were captured, but later released in exchange for release of a West German airliner that had been hijacked. No bother. Israel has its own way of dealing with terrorists. Those were called Operation Spring of Youth and Operation Wrath of God.

I don't think we realize what a big event this was. This Olympics was something special for Israel. Only 27 years before, the nation of Israel did not exist and Jews were being slaughtered by the millions by Nazis at the Dachau Concentration Camp, only 10 miles from the Olympic Village. Yet Israel could now send a team to the Olympics in Germany. What started out with so much promise ended with so much tragedy and sorrow.

The world had dealt with terrorism before. There were groups all over the place perpetrating bombings and assassinations. This was different, however. The Olympics should have been a safe, hands-off area and these athletes weren't combatants. However, the reason you don't negotiate with terrorists is that terrorism has no rules. This event changed the world because Jim McKay broadcast it to the world. We had to see it, feel it and deal with it. I remember it, but as an 8 year old I had no idea how it would change the world.

"Our worst fears have been realized......They're all gone."


  1. A fantastic documentary was released a few years ago - I'm blanking on the title - on the Munich disaster. Germany's security preparations were stunningly inept.

  2. I saw Bateman play with Feigner in 1981. What ever happened to Feigner and his group?