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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Today's Birthdays

Dick Allen LAN b. 1942, played 1971, All-Star: 1965-1967, 1970, 1972-1974. A seven-time All Star and 1964 Rookie of the Year, Bill James recently rated him the 15th best first baseman of all time. He played only a single year for the Dodgers, in 1971, at a time and place where being a 29-year-old (black) superstar known for having a mouth was not likely to bring a return performance; with (white, and younger) Steve Garvey waiting in the wings, Allen got moved to the Chisox, where he had three straight All Star appearances, and an AL MVP award.

Marv Breeding LAN b. 1934, played 1963

Juan Encarnacion LAN b. 1976, played 2004

Carl Furillo LAN,BRO b. 1922, played 1946-1960, All-Star: 1952-1953, d. 1989-01-21. A brilliant, graceful outfielder from Pennsylvania, the son of Italian immigrants was nicknamed "The Reading Rifle" for his accurate, hard throws home. Offensively, he was mainly useful for his Garret Anderson-like high-average, low-OBP attack, which he maintained at a high level throughout his career (career average of .299). Though he allegedly signed Dixie Walker's petition to prevent Jackie Robinson from joining the Dodgers in 1947, he denied it subsequently, and was bitter when biopic The Jackie Robinson Story included a character of Italian descent who agitated against Robinson's inclusion.

Al Gionfriddo BRO b. 1922, played 1947, d. 2003-03-14

Willard Hunter LAN b. 1934, played 1962

Mark Lukasiewicz ANA b. 1973, played 2001-2002. Decidedly not on the 2002 postseason roster.

Polish mathemetician Jan Łukasiewicz invented an unambiguous prefix notation for mathematical operations that did not rely upon implied operator priorities, as was previously needed for traditional notation. His work was extended and inverted by Australian Charles Hamblin and the result called Reverse Polish Notation, because the spelling of "Łukasiewicz" easily confused anglophones. For many years, HP calculators employed RPN (and apparently, still, though not in as many models as before); geeks of a certain age will recall them fondly as both indestructable (I still have two from my college days) and invaluable. Throw off the shackles of your parentheses! Untie yourself from my dear Aunt Sally's apronstrings!

Ollie O'Mara BRO b. 1891, played 1914-1916, 1918-1919, d. 1989-10-24

Dick Teed BRO b. 1926, played 1953

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i heart HP & RPN. Own 3 from my schoolin' days in the early '80s and into the '90s, and seemingly weekly disparging the TI geeks with the superiority of RPN. And the ability to program them came in quite handy come exam time - a fact the Profs didn't pick up on for a semester or two.

btw, i just got back from Tempe Diablo with pics of our favorite two young Korean Halos. pics are going up now and a diary will be posted at HH. it was a much better choice than feeding Lew's building fund and seeing the rivals play at Phoenix Muni.
I once forgot there was going to be a test in my physics class and subsequently didn't bring a calculator (at this point I was against both backpacks and lockers). I asked the teacher if he had one I could borrow, and so he gave me his RPN calculator. I was pretty baffled for awhile, but I ended up being the only student to get 100% on that test.

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