Memorial Day Rewind

By on May 8, 2022


The following is what I wrote in 2019 the second year I was blocked by VFW Post 5540 from announcing Phoenix’s Memorial Day Parade because I mentioned in 2017 that the villages three schools weren’t flying the American Flag. 

     Well I have what I wrote for you before and a lot more to follow and here are a few clues to what I will announce if I am allowed to return to announcing the parade this year.

1-Did you know that three former Phoenix residents have worn a major league uniform and two were with world series winners.

2-One former resident was the US Army Bands “Pershing’s Own” first command sergeant major.   He was also a pretty good left-handed hitter.

3-Another former resident also got the info so that a major newscaster who was on the air Monday thru Friday is no longer.

4-Did you know that part of the villages original fire house is still standing?

5-Did you know one former Phoenix family is related to a former USA President, a former Canadian Governor General and an award-winning Hollywood Director.

     These are just some of the things that will be announced if I am allowed to return to the mike this May 30th.  Now here is what ran three years ago.

The Other Side of Sports TOO (from 2019)

By Eddie Michels

     Well since I am not able to present this live as the announcer of the Village of Phoenix’s Memorial Day Parade I might just as well inform you the public with this information I have stumbled upon.

      Now this is based on the calendar year 2019 and in five-year increments starting with one everybody in Phoenix should know about.

     Between Lock and Bridge Street on Main St. in Phoenix is a blue cast iron sign with yellow letters and it informs all that in 1809 Alexander Phoenix came and settled in Phoenix. 

     At 210 years this will probably be the easiest.

     Next up is 155 years ago on August 5, 1864 at the battle of Mobile Bay during the Civil War a gentleman by the name of William Halstead of Schroeppel, N.Y. was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.  Never have I heard this name before.

     As a note here he transferred from the 110th Infantry to the US Navy as a navy coxswain as he worked at sea before going into the Army.  Another on this is that he is supposed to have been born on a canal boat in 1837.

     Not too much info but someone with time just might want to check it out.

     As a note here Mike Regan, the only Phoenix native to pitch in the major leagues was born November 19, 1887, 24 years after Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.  Maybe not a denomination of five but here is what connects it.

      On May 25, 1919 Regan pitched in his final MLB game for the Cincinnati Reds, Phoenix’s only major league pitcher.

     Then on September 11, 1919 I have been told American Legion Post 418 was formed in Phoenix and has been in continues operation since then.

     If I am doing the math right this might be their 100th Memorial Day Parade.

     Now to 75 years ago and that would be 1944 and two Phoenix VFW members that both have the DSC.

     Fred Boardman is a native who got his in the Philippines while Robert Berkley Hollingsworth got his in Germany.  Now the two are connected in a way.

     You see Fred’s nephew was Vickey Bell my father’s god son.  Supposedly my mother was on a date with my stepfather Bob Hollingsworth when she met my dad and dropped Bob and married my Dad Ted.  You-All Following This?

     Now two years after my dad died my mother and Bob got together and got married.

     Well Bob joined Post 5540 and he told me some things that my father kept from my mother much like I did in Vietnam but that is another story.

     Now on the sports scene again 55 years ago on April 3, 1964 the second Phoenix resident participated in a major league game uniform and all.  He is the last one for MLB in the village and requests not to be named.

       On May 27, 1969 this writer had a highlight as it has now been 50-years since I came home from service.

     I was going to surprise my parents that day but my younger brother who I saw in NYC and took me to LaGuardia called my folks and ratted me out.

      Well so much for the surprise so let’s move on.

     Back 30-years ago in 1989 a gentleman passed away that lived in Baldwinsville but spent a lot of time in Phoenix and his name was Andy Anderson.

     Andy and his wife belonged to the Methodist Church in Phoenix and he also coached the Phoenix Bombers in the NY State League in 1966.

     In fact, during a game at Mecham Field on the south side of Syracuse in 1966 Andy was conned into coming to the plate to pinch hit.  Well the Syracuse Ramblers tried to walk him, but Andy reached out and slapped a long line drive down the right field line that for anyone else would have been a stand-up triple.  Of course, Andy got to first and yours truly ended up as his pinch runner.

     That was just on the local scene as Andy played in the Negro National League and was Satchel Paige’s catcher in 1927.  Just go on the internet and you will find out more about Andy.

      In 1994 Phoenix native Chuck Murphy received an award from Baseball Chapel.  This came along with the Warren Giles Award in 1991 and in 2011 he was inducted with his wife Emo into the Florida State League Hall of Fame.   The sometime in the early part of this century Chuck came close to 60-years as a member of Callimachus Masonic Lodge 369 in Phoenix when he died.

     You see Chuck actually grew up in Mexico after being born in Phoenix then spent 21 years as an Army Ranger rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.  He was in minor league ball before becoming president of the Florida State League for 25 years, which he was when he died in 2015.  But he still had his ties to Phoenix.

     Well for now that is all I have, so hope you are informed.  Sorry I wasn’t allowed to announce this or your Memorial Day Parade but it appears that some people don’t like successful people returning home and giving back.

Categories: Other Side of Sports (Too), Sports

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