#Hot Corner

Boondoggle 2012: Day 2

There wasn't much baseball planned for Day 2, but as things turned out ... well, there wasn't much baseball. A little more than I expected, though. In the oddest of places ...

Bill and Hank and I opened our day in Plattsmouth, Nebraska. After blueberry muffins right out of the oven, we found our way to the confluence of the Platte and Missouri Rivers, then crossed back into Iowa via a little-traveled toll bridge over the Missouri.

Next came a steady procession of county seats. Why? Because county seats, especially in towns east of the Rockies, often feature a town square with a stunningly ornate county courthouse in the middle. Here, for example, is the Montgomery County courthouse in Red Oak, Nebraska. Believe it or not, buildings like this are all over the place, but we don't see them because they're not visible from our Interstate Highway system.

About baseball, though. Another of our destinations -- another of those inviting red dots on the map -- was the Iowa Aviation Museum. Aside from all the airplanes -- well, actually there aren't so many airplanes but the ones they've got are pretty nifty -- there's also an Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame, where to my utter surprise I found this:

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What's this? An old-timey baseball bat? What, did some old-timey pilot use this stick to beat off the gremlins that used to beset the poor fliers of yesteryear?

No, nothing quite so exciting:

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Okay, so it's a tenuous connection. But it made me feel better about my visit.

Then we drove around a lot. But our ultimate destination was a cemetery in Cedar Rapids.

See, one of the things we do every year on the Boondoggle is search for the final resting places of notable baseball figures. Hall of Famers usually, but we'll take what we can get. To our knowledge, there aren't any Hall of Famers interred in the Hawkeye State.

Earl Whitehill is, though. And Earl Whitehill, throwing one of the best curveballs in the American League. won 218 games in the 1920s and '30s, including 22 with the pennant-winning Senators in 1933. It took some doing, but just before dusk we did locate Whitehill's grave, a modest affair (though not the most modest I've seen; that would be Zach Wheat's neglected marker in Kansas City) that does have the benefit of a subtle baseball motif ...

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and because I know you won't rest without it, here's me paying tribute to ol' Earl with a game of catch:

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Feel free to ridicule my general lack of athleticism. I've been hardened by your past mockery.

Tomorrow: Day 3, which might (or might not) finish with another game of catch, this time at The Field of Dreams.

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