Thursday, June 28, 2012
Today it’s very common, and like I said well known. But how many people know who Tommy John is? My guess is most think he’s the surgeon who invented the procedure. Wrong. He was a major league pitcher who was the very first to undergo this operation. At the time, it was very experimental and risky. It’s not something you can try first with hamsters. And even if you could, how would you even know if the surgery was a success since hamsters can’t grip a baseball? The real inventor of the surgery was Dr. Frank Jobe in 1974.
Still, Tommy John will forever be linked to the surgery, long after his playing career is forgotten (which, to many is already).
But it brings to mind the question (at least to me) of how many other public figures will be remembered for something other than what they did to originally achieve notoriety?
Quick aside: When Arnold Palmer orders one of those drinks does he say, "I'll have a me?"
Shirley Temple was a major Hollywood child star in the ‘30s. She even won a little Oscar. But most folks only the know the name because of the Shirley Temple cocktail – a non-alcoholic drink of ginger ale and a little grenadine.
A variation is a Roy Rogers cocktail. It’s made with cola and grenadine. Roy Rogers was a cowboy movie and TV star. You didn't mess with Roy. How scared would horse thieves and bank robbers be if Roy sidled up the bar and ordered cola and grenadine? "And don't forget that maraschino cherry, podner."
George Foreman was a heavyweight boxing champ. You might only know him as the grill you bought off the TV.
Mae West was a bawdy movie actress in the ‘20s-‘40s (a Tallulah Morehead wannabe). Now her legacy is a personal flotation device. Sidenote: My favorite Mae West quote -- I'm the lady who works at Paramount all day... and Fox all night.
John Hancock was a great American patriot and statesman. But to most he owns an insurance company. And for that matter, Abe Lincoln is remembered as a U.S. President not a vampire killer.
I’m sure there are others. Can you think of them?
By Ken Levine at 5:56 AM