The Last Cars and Coffee?

Say it ain’t so Christian.*  Say it ain’t the last Cars and Coffee of the season.  The rain  held off and the temperature rose into the mid-sixties as four-score or more people hied themselves to Porsche of Clifton Park for the October edition of the dealership’s monthly get together.  Will November’s weather be as kind?  Will there be another C&C this year? One can only hope.

As always the coffee, bagels and pastries offered a treat for the taste buds.  The cars folks drive to the event always offer a treat for the eyes. It’s an eclectic and often exotic collection of vehicles that park in the dealership lot. An unofficial concourse of automotive nobility: Ferrari, Maserati, Mercedes, McClaren, Lotus, BMW, Rolls Royce, Ford GT and Mustang, BMW, Jaguar and of course, Porsche.  But the day is really about more than cars and coffee.  It’s a chance for HCP-PCA Club members and car enthusiasts to get together to talk cars – and just maybe, about something else.

Here’s a look at some of the vehicles that made it to Clifton Park on the second Saturday of October:

*Since the baseball playoffs are upon us, it seems fitting to dig into a little history and remember Joseph Jefferson Jackson.  From the day a fan heckled him for batting bare-foot because blisters forced him to take off his cleats, he entered baseball legend as “Shoeless Joe”.

Jackson started playing baseball at thirteen; by twenty-one he was paying his dues in the minor leagues.  He found himself in the American League in 1911; his was an impressive debut. Shoeless Joe’s .408 batting average was second only to Ty Cobb’s and he led the league in on-base percentage.  WWI kept him out of baseball in 1918 but he returned the next year as strong as ever.  As impressive as his .351 season’s batting average was, it was eclipsed by his play in the 1919 World Series- a performance considered one of the greatest in baseball playoff history.  Ironically, it was that series that ended his career.  His heavily favored Chicago White Sox lost to the Cleveland Indians, raising allegations that Jackson and seven of his teammates, the Black Sox as they were dubbed, threw the series in exchange for $5000 bribes.  A  Chicago jury exonerated the men; never-the-less, Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis imposed a life-time ban on the eight.

As the story goes When Jackson left the criminal court building in the custody of a sheriff after telling his story to the grand jury considering indictment, he found several hundred youngsters, aged from 6 to 16, waiting for a glimpse of their idol. One child stepped up to the outfielder, grabbed his coat sleeve, said: “It ain’t true, is it, Joe?” “Yes, kid, I’m afraid it is”, Jackson replied. The boys opened a path for the ball player and stood in silence until he passed out of sight. “Well, I’d never have thought it,” sighed the lad.

It’s a poignant story that’s forever sewn into the fabric of baseball lore; but the encounter never really happend. The truth is a bit less dramatic.  After the grand jury returned its indictments, Charley Owens of the Chicago Daily News wrote a regretful tribute headlined, “Say it ain’t so, Joe.” The phrase became legend when another reporter later erroneously attributed it to a child outside the courthouse.

Casual observers of baseball may remember Jackson solely for the Black Sox scandal.  Serious students of baseball know Jackson as one of the all-time greats.  Sporting News has him as number 35 on its list of the 100 greatest players of all time ; but, banned for life, Jackson can not be found in the Baseball Hall of Fame- despite repeated appeals to have his expulsion recinded.  The U.S. House of Representatives even got into the act, passing a non-binding resolution in 1999 urging Major League Baseball to reinstate Jackson. Jackson came from a poor family, starting work in a textile mill at age six.  He never learned to read.  His illiteracy made it almost impossible for him to get a fair hearing before the grand jury that indicted him.  His wife signed much of his memorabilia.  In a testament to his legend and his greatness, the few baseball cards he managed to sign sell for well over $40,000.

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