Smiley: A legend plays ball

Thanks to Clayton J. Joffrion for steering me to the 2007 book “Baseball in Baton Rouge” by Michael and Janice Bielawa, which tells the story of Jackie Robinson’s visit to Baton Rouge for an exhibition baseball game.

After the 1949 season, when he had been named the National League’s Most Valuable Player, Jackie joined Roy Campanella and Larry Doby to form the Jackie Robinson All-Stars for a barnstorming tour.

The All-Stars played the Creole All-Stars of New Orleans on Sunday, Oct. 23, 1949, at Baton Rouge’s City Park baseball stadium, home of the Baton Rouge Red Sticks.

Some 8,000 fans turned out, making it “one of the largest gatherings in the ballpark’s history.”

Edna Jordan Smith says in the book, “My mother Christine Jordan was ecstatic. Jackie passed right in front of us coming into the stadium!”

She says Campy hit a three-run homer in the first inning, Jackie added another solo blast, and his team won 9-2:

“I will never forget Jackie’s home run as long as I live!”

Defining moment

Cindy Babin has another example of confusion caused by two definitions of “thongs.”

“There was a discussion at our office when a memo was sent out notifying employees that the wearing of thongs would no longer be allowed, due to safety issues.

“Upon hearing a very high-pitched, frenzied discussion in the hallway, I approached the group of ‘women under 30’ and asked what had them upset.

“When I was handed the memo, I laughed — and being above the age of 40, explained that ‘thongs’ meant ‘flip-flops,’ not intimate apparel.

“This calmed down the women in the group, but the bigger frenzy was with the men, wondering if they could help with the ‘confirmation of appropriate dress attire.’

“The memo was recalled, reworded and re-sent.”

Meeting his hero

Dick Brandt, of the Marine Corps League, says he met Hugh O’Brian on Saturday when the star of TV’s “The Life and Legends of Wyatt Earp” and his wife were at the USS Kidd Museum with other veterans, “relating experiences in the military to a great bunch of kids.”

The group Hugh was addressing was HOBY, Hugh O’Brian’s Youth Leadership.

Says Dick, “Hugh, now in his 90s, has dedicated much of his life to helping young men and women get started on the right path. He was quite inspirational as he related his time as the youngest drill instructor (at 17) and World War II Marine.

“I was honored to meet this TV hero of my youth, who turned out to be a bigger hero in real life.”

Nostalgia Corner

After readers told of the way ladies used to dress up for LSU football games in high heels, stockings, furs, etc., Beverly Miller Couvillion, of Bunkie, reminds us of another layer of discomfort:

“Our dresses were WOOL because it was September (fall), even though the temperatures were in the 80s and 90s.”

Happy returns

Charmian Kendrick says, “I lost my wallet in a Wal-Mart last week (containing credit cards, driver’s license, cash).

“I thought it was gone for good. However, the next day I received a phone call from the police informing me that Ruby, a 78-year-old lady, had found my wallet and taken it to them.

“They located my phone number and called me. Everything was intact — once again proving that there are some wonderful, honest people in Baton Rouge! Many thanks, Ruby!”

Fun on the water

“Tribute to Louisiana Music Legends” will be the theme of the 31st annual False River 4th of July Boat Parade, says Marc Barker.

Judging of decorated watercraft and party barges starts at noon on the south side of the lake, by the Barkers’ two-story pier. Judging of decorated piers happens at 11 a.m. along the parade route.

The parade itself starts at 1 p.m. in front of the LA Express boat landing and Pointe Placide Condos.

With that theme, I expect to see several versions of Frankie Ford’s “Sea Cruise.”

Special People Dept.

Sharkey Vance Chaney, a World War II veteran, celebrates his 93rd birthday Wednesday.

A different drumstick

Chuck Perrodin says, “The worst (real) company name I ever encountered was a fried chicken place in Eunice years ago with the unappetizing name ‘Mystery Fried Chicken.’

“I had no idea they could fashion school cafeteria ‘mystery meat’ into something resembling a drumstick.

“Amazingly, the joint didn’t last long. Why not is a mystery.”

Colorful cuisine

D.C. Jensen says when his daughters were living at home after college, he did the cooking — and received complaints that his Hamburger Helper dishes were always either brown or gray.

He attempted to resolve the issue, but says that after he served them his Turquoise Tetrazzini, “for some reason they started eating out more.”

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.