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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Basic Biittner : Chance encounters

Thursday, January 13, 2011

You know how sometimes you meet someone of some degree of fame or importance totally by chance? Nah, me either.

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But such a circumstance does happen to some people. In my experience, that person seems to be my brother Doug. One example - last year, when he and his wife Nancy were on a cruise, one of their fellow cruisers was Angela Cartwright. In case the name doesn't ring a bell, for us "baby boomers," Angela is an actress who was a co-star in two regular television series in the '50s and '60s, and also in one of the most beloved films of all time. Her first television series was 'Make Room for Daddy,' starring Danny Thomas. where Angela played Danny's stepdaughter Linda for seven years. The year after she left the Thomas show, Cartwright appeared as Brigitta, one of the von Trapp family in the film "The Sound of Music.' Continuing on a roll, Angela landed a role in another TV series, 'Lost in Space,' where she was once again a member of a family, the "Space Family Robinson," where she played Penny Robinson. At that point, Cartwight decided to get out of show business and live a "normal" life and she has done so, with the one exception of a return for a "Make Room for Granddaddy" TV movie.

She and her family were on the afore-mentioned cruise, where she spoke to the guests about her show business experiences. My brother said she was a delightful and totally "un-showbusinesslike" person who is a now a mother and grandmother.

Doug had another one of those unexpected chance encounters a week or so ago, and for this one, he didn't even have to leave town. He and Nancy live in Phoenix and after attending a "Hawkeye Huddle" Pep Rally there prior to the Hawkeyes' recent Insight Bowl game, he was sitting a the light rail stop, when a couple came strolling along and asked him if this was the place to pick up the train to the airport. He told them that it was not and then explained where they should go to pick up that train. Doug said the couple didn't seem to be in a hurry, so he asked them if they were in town for a bowl game.

"No," they replied,"we're here for a home run - hitting competition for teen athletes." (It was held at the Arizona Diamondbacks' stadium, Chase Field, which is located about two blocks from where this conversation took place).

Doug replied that he didn't know there was such a competition, and the woman handed him a business card and said, "My grandfather was pretty good home run hitter."

The woman, Linda Ruth Tosetti, can certainly be excused for touting her family's exploits. Her grandfather - one George Herman "Babe" Ruth. As my brother said in a note to me - "I guess so."

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Mrs. Tosetti's card listed the "official family web site," www.thetruebaberuth.com , and I , of course, had to check out the site.

I found this information from Linda Ruth Tosetti on the web site:

'Dorothy Ruth Pirone was born in 1921 in New York City. She was the daughter of Babe Ruth and Juanita Ellias. Juanita was the granddaughter of the first elected president of Mexico, Francisco Madero. President Madero was assassinated in 1913. He is still a famous and revered figure in Mexican history.

Babe met Juanita while barnstorming in California in 1920. After Dorothy was born, Babe and Juanita decided that Mom would be raised by Babe and (his wife) Helen. Mom remained with Babe and Helen through her early childhood. When Babe and Helen separated in 1925, Dorothy remained with Helen.

Dorothy was sent to a residential school near Boston, where she remained until Helen died in a house fire in January 1929. When Helen died, Babe took custody of Mom and created a family with Claire Hodgson, whom he married in April of that year. Babe adopted Claire's daughter, Julia, and Claire adopted Babe's daughter, my Mom...Dorothy.

There are also several "family photos" on the interesting web site, as well as information about the event for which Linda Tosetti and her husband Andy

found themselves in Phoenix in late December 2010.

The Power Showcase International High School Home Run Derby seeks to celebrate one of the finest moments in sports, the Home Run, while providing a platform for the top high school power hitting prospects to demonstrate their baseball skills in a Major League Stadium. Created in 2004 as a regional competition in South Florida, the Power Showcase International High School Home Run Derby has evolved into one of the most exciting, can't-miss events of the year.

In 2003 , Brian Domenico, the head baseball coach at Olympic Heights Community High School in Boca Raton, Florida, and his team were holding a car wash to raise money for the Olympic Heights Lions' baseball program. After four hours, the team had only washed seven cars. Domenico knew it was not a lack of effort that prevented his team from raising significant funds, but rather a lack of an appealing fundraiser. As a result, Domenico endeavored to find a more interesting and entertaining method for funding the Lions' program. Since the money raised would be used for baseball, he thought incorporating the sport into the fundraiser would be an excellent way to engender interest. Domenico had heard of a county in Florida that had held a countywide home run derby for high school baseball players. This piqued Domenico's interest, and while he thought a home run derby would be a fun and successful way to generate money for his Olympic Heights Lions, he had grander ideas than simply a local competition. For the next several months, Domenico made hundreds of phone calls to high school coaches throughout South Florida inquiring about potential participants, and on January 17 and 21, 2004, the first South Florida Power Showcase High School Home Run Derby was held at Olympic Heights High School in Boca Raton.

From its modest beginning as a regional competition in South Florida, the Power Showcase has grown into a must-see event in which the top power-hitting prospects from the United States and abroad, including representatives from Australia, Bahamas, Canada, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua and Puerto Rico, compete to see who will be crowned the next Power Showcase World Champion.

Over one half of Power Showcase participants have been drafted by major league organizations directly out of high school. The remaining participants went on to play for major Division I and junior college programs and will likely be selected in upcoming MLB drafts.

Bryce Harper, who attended Las Vegas High School in Las Vegas, Nevada won the Third Annual Power Showcase Babe Ruth "Colossus of Clout Award." Bryce,a sophomore at the time, hit a 502 foot home run at Tropicana Field in Orlando, Florida - the longest home run ever hit at the Trop.

Harper, now a catcher for College of Southern Nevada, was the first overall #1 pick (by the Washington Nationals) in the 2010 Major League Draft.

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner