Category Archives: Miscellaneous

The Other Two


President McKinley Site - Canton, Ohio

— Matt Nelson

Regrettably, when I travel to ballparks not all of my time is spent at ballparks. There are many, many, hours on the road, and in those hours I often try to find some unique (and cheap) places to visit.

I’m a fan of United States history, and I’m a fan of Presidential history. I claim no true expertise.

President McKinley

Presidential gravesites are interesting places to visit. The local communities where the presidents grew up are always very proud of their native sons. The thing is, other than a select few, most people don’t know a whole heck of a lot about many of the 44 presidents in this country’s history. They may have school buildings and street signs that bear their names, but visiting a presidential gravesite always prompts me to learn a bit more about them.

Garfield Site

Ohio is a hotbed for presidential history. On a trip out east in 2009 I stopped in Fremont to check out the gravesite of #19, Rutherford B. Hayes. I recently traveled to Ohio to visit the Midwest League ballparks in Dayton and Eastlake (those stories come to KCRG-TV9 and in August).

President Garfield Site - Cleveland, Ohio

This time around I saw the gravesites of two presidents who unfortunately, share a common bond. It’s probably safe to say most Americans know that Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy were assassinated, but until you read the photo captions on this page, could you name the two other assassinated Presidents? They are #20, James A. Garfield, and #25 William McKinley.

President Garfield

Garfield was shot in a Washington D.C. train station and was President of the United States for just 200 days. He rests in Lakeview Cemetery just east of downtown Cleveland a few miles. His resting place is tough to miss. It’s a large building on top of a hill, providing a view of downtown Cleveland.

View from the McKinley Site

McKinley was assassinated in Buffalo, New York. He was in his second term as president. McKinley’s resting place is also in a large building on top of a hill, but in Canton, Ohio, about one mile from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Hayes, Garfield and McKinley. Just three of the eight presidents born in Ohio, “The Cradle of Presidents.” The Buckeye State is in a bit of a drought though, #29, Harding (who also died in office, but of natural causes), was the last president produced by Ohio.

Garfield's Resting Place

“The Other Two.” Abe, JFK, Garfield, and McKinley. Might help with a trivia question some day, you never know!


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Midwest League Offices – Beloit, Wisconsin


Midwest League President George Spelius works at his desk in the Beloit, Wisconsin, offices of the Midwest League

— Matt Nelson

On the road to Milwaukee a couple of weeks ago I stopped in Beloit to interview Midwest League President George Spelius. He’s the guy with his signature on every Midwest League baseball after all.

The interview with Spelius will be part of the coverage of the Beloit Snappers in July, but here are some photos of the Midwest League Office. It’s in an unmarked building shared with an insurance company just down the street from the ballpark the Beloit Snappers play in.

This sequence shows Marty Foster, son-in-law of George Spelius, ejecting Yankees Manager Joe Girardi in 2009.

Albert Pujols was the 2000 MWL MVP. Spelius fined him $25 one time for arguing balls and strikes.

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— Matt Nelson

KCRG-TV9’s Ballparks of the Midwest has been recognized by the National Press Photographers Association for two stories. The ballpark story on Clinton’s Alliant Energy Field took 3rd Place in the Central General Pool 2nd Quarter News Feature category. The ballpark story on West Michigan’s Fifth Third Ballpark received Honorable Mention in the Central General Pool 3rd Quarter News Feature category.

While the Midwest League Schedule has been out for quite a while, it probably won’t be until sometime in January or February that I start plotting my travels to cover the other 8 ballparks that I haven’t been to. I find that’s a pretty good time to think baseball…when there’s 8 inches of snow on the ground!

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From Ballparks to Stadiums

Photo by Jonathan Woods/The Gazette

Photo by Jonathan Woods/The Gazette (That's me in the gray t-shirt)

— Matt Nelson

Many people will soon be moving from the ballpark to the football stadium. After all, the college season kicks off in just a couple of weeks.

I got an e-mail from a group of Wisconsin residents who have ambitious plans to see a game at every football stadium in the Big 10 this fall.  Check out the Big 10 Football Tour by click here.

They’ll see the Hawkeyes twice this year, the night game at Kinnick vs. Michigan, and the November road trip to Columbus, Ohio.

As someone who’s been to 9 Big Ten stadiums, I highly recommend a football tour like this:)

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Ballparks of the Midwest Show on KCRG-TV 9.2

100_9525— Matt Nelson

Starting this Wednesday, August 19, we will be running a 30-minute special recapping Season One of Ballparks of the Midwest on KCRG-TV 9.2. That is KCRG’s digital subchannel.

You can get that channel in Eastern Iowa with your digital antenna, or on Mediacom Digital Cable Channel 109 in Eastern Iowa. The show debuts at 6:30 on the 19th and will also be shown for the next few days. Here is the full air schedule, thanks for watching!


(Each night at 6:30pm on KCRG-TV 9.2)

Wednesday, August 19th

Thursday, August 20th

Friday, August 21st

Monday, August 24th

Tuesday, August 25th

Thursday, August 27th

Friday, August 28th

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“It Means We’re Going to Minnesota to Find Moonlight Graham”

100_9235— Matt Nelson

I never pass up an opportunity to find some baseball history when on a trip, be it a baseball related trip, or any other trip.

Recently I was heading to west-central Minnesota with The Mrs. (special thanks to her for humoring me and allowing me the 15 minutes to make this stop) and knew that we’d be passing through Rochester, Minnesota. At some point a couple of years ago I came across a mention of a famous baseball player that was buried in Rochester.

100_9239That player is Archibald Graham, better known as “Moonlight.” Graham’s career consisted of one game, and no at-bats (Click here to view his statistics at Retrosheet). The 104th anniversary of his big league appearance was 6.29.09 (the movie has the date wrong). Graham’s not the only player who has had this sort of brief major league career, but his was made famous by the book Shoeless Joe and subsequent classic movie Field of Dreams.

After his baseball career was over Graham worked as a doctor in Chisholm, Minnesota for many years where he had a significant impact on that community.

100_9231His gravesite is located in Rochester’s Calvary Cemetery. Thanks to the man mowing the grass there for pointing me in the right direction to find Moonlight’s gravesite. He is buried there with his wife Alecia (she’s also mentioned in the movie). On the day I visited, there were four quarters resting on the marker.

“Go the Distance:” If you want to visit the site start by looking at the entry on Find A Grave.

100_9229Googling “Rochester, Minnesota Calvary Cemetery” is not altogether helpful as Google Maps gives an innacurate location of the cemetery (which is obvious by looking at that location via the satellite layer of mapping).

Calvary Cemetery is located at 11th Ave NE and 5th St NE in Rochester, Minnesota. Moonlight is in Section 9, Plot 4, 1E. It is the SW part of the cemetery, not too far north of 5th St, look for the Section 9 sign.


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