January 25th

One of the most important songwriters of the 20th century, Antônio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim was born on January 25, 1927. The Brazilian was the primary force behind bossa nova and was especially influential in the U.S., most notably for “The Girl from Ipanema (Garota de Ipanema)” which he composed. Others include “Corcovado” (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars), “Desafinado” (Slightly Out of Tune) and “Samba de Uma Nota Só” (One Note Samba). Jobim died in 1994.

Pro Football Hall of Fame member Lou Groza was born on January 25, 1924. He played for Ohio State and the Cleveland Browns (1946-1959, 1961-1967). How good was Groza? The award for best college place kicker each years is the Lou Groza Award. Groza died in 2000.

William Earnest “Ernie” Harwell was born 98 years ago today. Harwell broadcast baseball games from 1948-2002, primarily in Detroit (1960-1991, 1993-2002). For decades he was one of the best things about Detroit. Harwell died in 2010. In 1981, Harwell, was recipient of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award, just the fifth announcer so honored.

Harwell made his major league debut in 1948 after becoming the only broadcaster who ever figured in a baseball trade. Earl Mann, President of the Atlanta Crackers, agreed to let him go to Brooklyn if Branch Rickey would send Montreal catcher Cliff Dapper to Atlanta to manage the club. Harwell also worked for the New York Giants and for the Baltimore Orioles before coming to Detroit in 1960. . . .

Baseball Hall of Fame

Virginia Woolf was born Adeline Virginia Stephen on January 25th in 1882. She married Leonard Woolf in 1912.

I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier ’til this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can’t even write this properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that – everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer. I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been. V.

Woolf’s note to her husband just before she drowned herself in 1941.

Charles Curtis was born in Kansas on this date in 1860. Curtis was the 31st vice president of the United States, serving under President Herbert Hoover, 1929-1933. Curtis is the first person with non-European ancestry to ever serve as President or Vice President. His mother was part Kansa or Kaw, Osage and Potawatomi and part French. Curtis had a one-eighth Indian blood quantum.

George Edward Pickett was born on this date in 1825. He was 59th out of 59 in the Class of 1846 class at West Point, but was a hero at the Battle of Chapultepec in September 1847. On July 3, 1863, Maj. Gen. Pickett was one of three Confederate generals under Gen. James Longstreet who led their men against the Union forces on Cemetery Ridge outside Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Pickett’s division suffered over 50% casualties. All three of Pickett’s brigade commanders and all 13 of his regimental commanders were casualties. Pickett himself lived until 1875.

Robert Burns was born on this date 256 years ago.

The wintry west extends his blast,
And hail and rain does blaw;
Or the stormy north sends driving forth
The blinding sleet and snaw:
While, tumbling brown, the burn comes down,
And roars frae bank to brae;
And bird and beast in covert rest,
And pass the heartless day.

“The sweeping blast, the sky o’ercast,”
The joyless winter day
Let others fear, to me more dear
Than all the pride of May:
The tempest’s howl, it soothes my soul,
My griefs it seems to join;
The leafless trees my fancy please,
Their fate resembles mine!

Thou Power Supreme, whose mighty scheme
These woes of mine fulfil,
Here firm I rest; they must be best,
Because they are Thy will!
Then all I want-O do Thou grant
This one request of mine!-
Since to enjoy Thou dost deny,
Assist me to resign.

Etta James (1938-2012) would have been 78 today. Dean Jones (1931-2015) would have been 85.

Alicia Keys (Alicia Augello Cook) is 35. Carl Eller is 74.