Billy Johnson (the baseball player, not the skier) was born on this day in 1918. Johnson debuted at third base for the New York Yankees in 1943 and had a stellar rookie season, finishing fourth in A.L. MVP voting. (There was no rookie of the year award yet.) Johnson had a nice career, making the All-Star team in 1947.
Unless your name is Keith Olbermann, you’ve probably never heard of him. The problem for Johnson is that he was born on the same day as Ted Williams.
Teddy Ballgame (I always preferred The Splendid Splinter), made 19 All-Star games and is in the argument for greatest hitter of all time.
August 30 tends to have a few, “yeah, buts” in its history.
Omaha native Andy Roddick turns 30 today and is on the last few laps of a tennis career that will finish far short of the expectations American tennis had for him when he started out. It certainly didn’t help Roddick that he happened to play in the same era as Roger Federer. Alas, Roddick isn’t even Omaha’s most celebrated birthday today, as Warren Buffett turns 82. I don’t mean to slight Roddick’s tennis achievements, he won a grand slam title and over 31 tournaments in his career. He’s earned over $31 million in his career. Buffett earns that when he takes out the trash (or whenever whoever takes out his trash, does so). Now, Roddick is married to Brooklyn Decker. Should we call it a draw?
Sixteen-year old Usher released his eponymous first album on this day in 1994 to mixed reviews. What did not get mixed reviews was “Definitely, Maybe” the debut album from Oasis that was released on the same day. The buildup for Oasis’ first record was off the charts, and it debuted at #1 on the British charts and it had the best first week of sales of any album in British history. Propelled by the singles, “Live Forever”, “Supersonic”, “Shakermaker”, and “Cigarettes and Alcohol”, “Definitely, Maybe” received five stars from Rolling Stone and All Music and has made numerous “best ever” album lists. “Slide Away” was slated to be the fifth single released, but it was nixed by Noel Gallagher, who, in the first of probably ten million reasons the Gallagher brothers pissed off labels, managers, agents, etc, pronounced, “You can’t have five fuckin’ singles off a debut album!”
The Rolling Stones released their last five star album on this day in 1981, “Tattoo You”. “Start Me Up” was the first song and lead single and was the Stones last top five single. “Waiting on a Friend” and “Hang Fire” were also hits off the album and belong on anybody’s top 50 Stones songs. (Ok, we can argue about “Hang Fire”, but not the other two.)
Continuing on our, “yeah, but” theme, Tug McGraw was born this day in 1944. Tug was one of the emotional leaders of the 1980 World Champion Philadelphia Phillies and had a fine career as one of the best closers of his era. Yeah, but… Tug had a one night stand with Betty D’Agostinio in 1966 and no further relationship with her. However, a young man was born who grew up to be country music superstar Tim McGraw. Tug never met his son until he was 17-years old, but the two became close after that. Tim’s smash hit, “Live Like You Were Dying” was in honor of his father after Tug was diagnosed with brain cancer.
In a move that raised the collective eyebrow of planet Earth, Bruce Springsteen married model Julianne Phillips in 1985. Yeah, but… Phillips filed for divorce on this day in 1988 after repeated tabloid rumors that Bruce was fooling around with bandmate Patty Scialfa. (Although listening to the 1987 “Tunnel of Love” album for the 100th time was probably her first clue.) When you’re in love with a Jersey girl….