Mike Schmidt's Hoagies - March 12, 2014

Hopefully, all true baseball fans will remember Mike Schmidt's impressive career with the Philadelphia Phillies, for whom he was a devoted third baseman for seventeen years.  He is critically considered one of the best athletes to have ever been involved in Major League Baseball, having been most valuable player three times with a league-leading 548 home runs to his name.  The Phillies retired the number of his uniform when he left the field.

But Schmidt has continued to be a presence in the Cit of Brotherly Love. He's only 64 years old, after all.  In 1990, he became a partner in a series of sandwich shops named in his honor: Mike Schmidt's Philadelphia Hoagies. They were born in Richboro, PA, and quickly expanded to ten sites around the Philadelphia area.  The restaurants were family-friendly, offered twenty varieties of sandwiches from which to choose, and adorned their walls with all sorts of Schmidt- and baseball-related pictures and memorabilia. Unfortunately for fans, the chain only lasted until 2004, by which point nine of the shops had closed their doors and the last survivor changed its theme.  It is highly possible that the sign in our Toy Box is one of the last artifacts from this establishment.


Which of the following is not a real celebrity-related brand?

a)  Kenny Rogers' Chicken Roasters

b)  Roy Rogers Hamburger Restaurant

c)  Wahlburgers

d)  Toby Keith's Vegetarian Restaurant  

e)  Michael Jordan's Steakhouse

Answer Below


1933 will not go down in history as the best year ever.  The United States was deep in the throes of the Great Depression, and most people were feeling pretty down.  The good news is that they had a new president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who inspired more confidence and hope than his predecessor had in the wake of the stock market crash four years earlier.  He did that using  the relatively new technology of radio in what is popularly, and fondly, remembered as his "fireside chats."  Today marks the anniversary of his very first chat, during which FDR spoke directly to Americans in their own homes and encouraged them to keep trying, saying everything was going to be okay. His optimism and warmth made him a favorite among the people.

2013/2014 has been a long winter, with lots of bad storms sweeping across the country.  But there have been worse. Yesterday, we acknowledged the national tragedy that was the Great Blizzard of 1888.  Today marks the anniversary of the start of the 1993 "Storm of the Century," which impacted the entire east coast of the United States, from Florida to Maine.  It started as a cyclone in the Gulf of Mexico, and got worse from there.  Twelve inches of snow fell on Birmingham, Alabama while Syracuse, New York received 43 inches - even the Florida Panhandle received a few inches!  Ultimately, the storm caused billions of dollars' worth of damage and 318 deaths.  Truly a horrible storm.


Pinetown, Pennsylvania celebrated the birth of a baby boy on this day in 1831. His name was Clement Studebaker, and he would grow up, move to South Bend, Indiana with his brother, and found a company that manufactured Conestoga Wagons.  Their wagons were based on the type used by the Pennsylvania Dutch who settled the farmlands of Western Pennsylvania in the 18th century, and they became symbols of the migration west - Conestoga wagons being the transportation method of choice for thousands of families moving into the Great Plains and beyond.  Clement died in 1901, and the next year, his kin started production of their now-famous automobiles.  (The Studebaker in the image is from 1951, and much more attractive than a picture of Clement would be, no offense to Mr. Studebaker.)

When discussion turns to the "Beat Generation," a few images may come to mind:  the poet, the rebel, the wanderer.  A perfect description of one of the most famous of the Beat Poets, Jack Kerouac.  Born on March 12, 1922 in the famous factory town of Lowell, Massachusetts, Kerouac published numerous books and poems, often in free form and stream of consciousness, that have come to define the post-World War II disillusionment some Americans suffered.  His most famous novel, On the Road, tells of a meandering roadtrip that may not be suitable for all readers, but there are people who contend it defined an era.  Kerouac died at the age of 47 from an alcohol-related illness.


Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion. - Jack Kerouac

Answer:  There IS a restaurant chain with Toby Keith's name associated with it; however, it offers many meat-based selections on its menus and is certainly not exclusively vegetarian.