Cool, Intriguing, Fascinating…. and More

Marc Elliott

SILVER CLIFF… Every now and then you run across some things in life that you may not have known before. Sometimes they are mundane or trivial, sometimes they are of an average interest level and then once in a great while you run across something that is totally exciting and a bit over the top. This involves some family history and genealogy. While I have been interested in my family history and background to an extent, the study of it has not had a high priority in my life. I knew some of the real highlight type stuff such as my great, great Grandparents on my fathers side were personal friends of Abraham Lincoln.

My fathers side came over from England, as did my mothers, fathers side. Her mothers family came right over from Sweden settling in Milaca before ending up in Minneapolis, and then eventually ending up in Illinois after a job transfer from my great grandfathers employer, the Pillsbury Company. Over the weekend a handful of us from my mothers, fathers family got together for a mini-reunion. I can’t say I really knew any of them outside of 5 or 6 that I had met over the years. In the pre-dinner conversation I heard some things that I had known before such as one of our forebearers back in London was a good friend of William Shakespeare. I heard that when that part of my family came to the then “Colonies” they arrived at Jamestown, VA as did many British settlers.

I heard that we had a family member that was a US General in the 1800’s. As that part of the family eventually settled in Kentucky, one of them was good friends of the frontiersman Daniel Boone. There is a story of Native Americans kidnapping 3 girls and that one of them was our relation. Boone, being one of the most expert and renowned trackers of the time led a group of men to eventually find and free the girls. The funny thing is that I had heard of that story before. Don’t know where, but I recalled it right away. And then, post dinner, there was talk of a family member that was a famous baseball player way back when. There weren’t many details available, but those family members that knew of the story verified it.

So, last evening I got to work on the name I had. It wasn’t hard to find information. In fact, my laptop lit up like a slot machine in Cloquet. After inputting the info of “Earle Combs wiki” I clicked on the title and awaited for the info to come on to my screen. As I started to read what was before me my interest level went from curious to rocket ship in a millionth of a second. I could not believe what I was reading! It turns out that Earle Bryan Combs was on the New York Yankees from 1924-35. I leaned forward, it turns out he was a teammate of none other then Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig!! It turns out that he was on 9 World Series Championship Yankee teams! Now I am sitting there, jaw hanging down, eyes wide open and I am in some sort of time suspension.

Even thinking about this now I am having a hard time believing it! I am smiling quite a bit though, this is interesting and funny at the same time. The very first professional baseball game I ever saw was at the old Met Stadium and it was on Memorial day of 1962, prior to the Monday Holiday Act so it was the first game of a midweek doubleheader. It was the Minnesota Twins versus the New York Yankees. These were the Yankees of Mantle, Maris and Ford. I was all of 7 years old and mesmerized by what I saw that day. The Twins would lose Game one, so it was settled right at that moment that I would not ever be a fan of the Pinstripers. Haven’t liked them since.

But the Coup de’ grace was right around the corner. As I paged down, reading with intense scrutiny, I came to the part that pronounced that Combs was a Baseball Hall of Famer. Yessir, I am related to a person that is enshrined in the BBHOF. Holy Schnikees! Now, I’m well aware that this knowledge and a buck seventy nine can only get me a cup of coffee somewhere, so I’m not getting out the ice packs to prevent any swelling of the skull. But reading through Combs bio was substantially interesting. This guy patrolled center field for the NY Yankees for eleven seasons! He wasn’t just a glove or a warm body on an All Star roster, this guy was a major contributor.

Finding this out has compelled me to want to do more family research, and I am sure I will. I’m not sure I will find another person in my lineage as famous and accomplished as Earle Combs, but who knows. 48 hours back I had no idea that this person was a part of my families past, and today? Finding out about this has been totally cool, absolutely, totally cool….

AS THE NHL PRESEASON continues forward, the Minnesota Wild have assigned some players to the Iowa Wild and placed a couple on waivers. For those still trying to make the big roster, they will get another chance to show their stuff as the club takes on the Colorado Avalanche in Denver. Coach Bruce Boudreau is leaving about 8 veterans behind so those making the trip will get one more big opportunity to grab a roster spot and a job. Yesterday I spent some time contemplating how this season just might unfold for the Wild. As I am still formulating some thoughts on this upcoming edition of the team my opinion has yet to crystallize.

They picked up Eric Staal and I wonder what he has left. This is a player with a lot of hockey miles on him. Bruce Boudreau could be a breath of fresh air but will his Game 7 playoff curse continue? The bigger question is whether the Wild could get in or not. Charlie Coyle seems to be the only young player still moving forward offensively and the team is in possession of no new franchise changing young, high draft pick players. It just might be time for a hockey “thinkin” retreat deep into the forest, sounds like a good idea… PEACE