News of the Week: Baseball Ballots, Thought Leaders, and Maybe You Need More Prunes in Your Life

In the news for the week ending January 29, 2021, are anticlimax at the Baseball Hall of Fame, anticipation at the ‘Jeopardy!’ studios, solicitation from ‘Rolling Stone,’ and much more.

Baseball Hall of Fame Museum exterior
Ken Wolter /Shutterstock

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Strike Out

It feels odd to be writing about baseball on a cold and snowy — yes, it’s finally snowing! — January night, but there are a couple of big baseball stories this week (and they both involve Barry Bonds in some way).

The first story: No one was voted into Cooperstown this year for the first time since 2013. You need 75 percent of the writers to vote for you and no one reached that level this year. The three players that got the most votes are the same ones that have been on the ballot for a while: Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Curt Schilling.

All three players are in their ninth year of eligibility. Next year will be the last time that any of them can get voted in. Schilling got the most votes this time around but he has asked to be taken off the ballot next year.

More Jeopardy! Guest Hosts Announced

Ken Jennings has been doing a fantastic job as guest host on Jeopardy! the past few weeks, and now producers have released a list of the other celebrities who will guest host before the show finds a permanent replacement for Alex Trebek. The list includes Katie Couric, The Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik, CBS News reporter Bill Whitaker, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

During Rodgers’s week, I hope he disregards what the show’s producers say and goes for it on fourth down.

Tom Brokaw Retires

NBC’s Tom Brokaw is retiring after 55 years with the network.

He’s the only person to have hosted all of NBC’s major news programs: Today, Meet the Press, and NBC Nightly News. He was also a White House correspondent and for the past several years has been a special correspondent for various shows and special news events on the network and MSNBC.

Like a Rolling Stone

I’m not sure what’s more irritating, that Rolling Stone is asking “thought leaders” and “influencers” to actually pay them $2000 to write for their site, that people are still using the words thought leader and influencer, or that the magazine chose the name Culture Council instead of Culture Club. I mean, it’s Rolling Stone!

Quote of the Week

“There’s no bad weather. There’s only bad clothing.”

—Madison, Wisconsin, mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, on CBS Sunday Morning

RIP Hank Aaron, Larry King, Cloris Leachman, Gregory Sierra, Bruce Kirby, Mark Wilson, Perry Botkin Jr., Walter Bernstein, and Mira Furlan

Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record in 1974 (a record broken by Barry Bonds in 2007, though some think Aaron is still the champ). He still holds the records for most RBI, extra base hits, and total bases, and he was a 25-time All-Star. He’s been called one of the five best baseball players that ever lived. Aaron died last week at the age of 86.

Larry King hosted the popular and influential talk show Larry King Live on CNN for 25 years but had a long career in radio before that, starting in 1957. He also wrote columns for The Miami Herald, The Miami Beach Sun, and USA Today and authored several books. He died Saturday at the age of 87. Jeanne Wolf has an appreciation.

My favorite King trivia: He made a cameo on the short-lived series Miami Undercover in 1961.

Cloris Leachman may be best known for her role as Phyllis on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and the spinoff Phyllis, as well as The Last Picture Show and the horror spoof Young Frankenstein, but her movie and TV career started in the late ’40s. She died this week at the age of 94.

Gregory Sierra was a prolific character actor who appeared on such shows as Barney Miller, Sanford and Son, All in the Family, Columbo, Stingray, Soap, and Murder, She Wrote, as well as films like Papillon, Getting Straight, and The Towering Inferno. He died earlier this month at the age of 83.

Bruce Kirby was also a prolific character actor, with regular roles on L.A. Law, Columbo, and Car 54, Where Are You?, as well as movies like Stand By Me, Sweet Dreams, Catch-22, and The Muppet Movie. He was also the father of the late actor Bruno Kirby (When Harry Met Sally). Kirby died last weekend at the age of 95.

I owned the magic kit that master magician Mark Wilson created, and I think I read most of his books too. He started on local Dallas TV in 1956 with Time For Magic, hosted the popular ’60s show The Magic Land of Allakazam, and was the magic consultant on such shows as The Magician and Columbo. He died last week at the age of 91.

Perry Botkin Jr. was the Grammy-winning composer and arranger who co-wrote the theme song to The Young and the Restless (also known as “Nadia’s Theme”). He also did music for Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, and Mork and Mindy. He worked with everyone from Phil Spector and Peggy Lee to Barbra Streisand and Glen Campbell. He died last week at the age of 87.

Walter Bernstein wrote such movies as Fail-Safe, The Front, Yanks, and Semi-Tough, as well as the TV shows You Are There and Danger. He died last week at the age of 101.

Mira Furlan played “The French Woman” (Rousseau) on Lost and was also a regular on the sci-fi series Babylon 5. She died last week at the age of 65.

This Week in History

Donna Reed Born (January 27, 1921)

The It’s a Wonderful Life and Donna Reed Show actress would have turned 100 this week. Here’s an interview she did with the Post in 1964.

Challenger Explodes on Takeoff (January 28, 1986)

We all remember where we were during the big events that have affected the country. When the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded after takeoff, I was in a record store. They happened to have the radio on and I heard the news and hurried home to watch the TV coverage.

This is the 35th anniversary of the tragic accident, which took the lives of six NASA astronauts and New Hampshire teacher Christa McAuliffe.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Mail Delivery By Sleigh (January 29, 1944)

Woman delivering mail while riding a sleigh

This seems like a nice, quaint way to deliver the daily mail, though it probably wouldn’t work in New York City.

There’s Still Time to Celebrate National Prune Breakfast Month!

Prunes don’t get any respect. You never hear anyone talk about a great prune recipe you just have to try, you never hear anyone claim their favorite food is prunes, and you never hear anyone say, “Oh, I’m out of prunes. I have to remember to get some tomorrow.” It’s the Rodney Dangerfield of fruits. But they’re really good! They’re actually just dried plums.

(Thanks Google.)

Some breakfast recipes: Health has a recipe for Oatmeal with Prune & Banana Compote. Sunsweet has these Apple Prune Pancakes, while Mediterranean Living has a recipe for Stewed Prunes with Greek Yogurt and Cinnamon. Food52 has a recipe for Prune Coffee Cake, and Recipe Runner has these Prune Breakfast Cookies.

Just one of those recipes probably contains more prunes than you’ve eaten in the past five years.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Groundhog Day (February 2)

If Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, we’ll have six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, we’ll have an early spring. It’s all very scientific.

Thank a Mailman Day (February 4)

This should be changed to Thank a Mailperson Day. The Post knew that way back in 1944, as that cover above shows.

Featured image: Ken Wolter /Shutterstock

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  1. It’s sad that Curt Schilling has requested removal of his name from the Baseball Hall of Fame. But with the way it appears to be going in Cooperstown with that bunch bowing to political correctness and the left wing cancel culture, I can’t blame him. You have to make a stand or statement for what you believe in (as Curt did) or you can fall for anything. This whole bunch of BS absolutely makes me sick.

  2. Here’s how hilarious Rolling Stone is. ( This is not a knock against John Lennon. He was a brilliant one – of – a kind who with three other brilliant ones – of – a kind made something which is great for all sorts of reasons. )

    Still, John Lennon didn’t even take himself seriously as a political thinker, so I have little doubt he would have appreciated the irony of the following:

    A couple of days ago, I was reading an online copy of an article written forty years ago to mourn the murder of John Lennon. It was a good article. I remember having read it at the time it was published. When I finished, Rolling Stone offered me a link to another Lennon memorial article. I went to it and – SURPRISE!! ( no surprise, really ) – was told that if I wanted to read it I’d have to become a subscriber.

    “Imagine no possessions
    It’s easy if you try…”

    Indeed, but not, it seems, for Jann Wenner and whoever else may own a part of that thing.

  3. I feel uncomfortable reading about prunes. My daughter wants me to drink more prune juice which makes me uncomfortable because she won’t tell me why. Maybe the prune breakfast cookies might be okay but I can’t be sure. In the comments I don’t understand how Bob would have known who Cloris Leachman’s mother in law was. I don’t know who would want to know about about her life’s private parts. Is nothing sacred? I’m not sure what’s going on with the Saturday Evening Post anymore either now for that matter it has changed so much.

  4. Wow Bob, you finally got your winter weather (on steroids) almost immediately after the last Friday’s column. Yikes! Even out my way it’s been getting down to the 30s at night, and I have to keep the heat on during the day or it’ll get down to 56 indoors. Too c-c-c-c-cold for me!

    I don’t know what to say about Rolling Stone. It’s been irrelevant for so long, I’m surprised they didn’t start the publicity stunts a long time ago.

    Hank Aaron wasn’t only one of the 5 best baseball players to have ever lived, but one of the finest men, period! Cloris Leachman was one of the finest, most versatile entertainers to have ever lived. Her IMDB is unbelievable with listings going into 2021.

    By the way, at one time, Cloris was the real-life daughter-in-law of Mabel Albertson who played Elizabeth Montgomery’s mother-in-law on ‘Bewitched’. I just put comments on HER earlier this month in a Post online feature on mid-century Post cover artist, Dick Sargent. NOT the same man as actor Dick Sargent! It’s really not confusing at all. It’s not. Just go up to the Post’s search bar, put his name in, click, and you’ll see. That’s it!

    Happy 100th birthday anniversary to Donna Reed! Thanks for including the 1964 Post link. It’s worth reading if you haven’t, and re-reading it you have.

    I love the 1944 Post cover you’re featuring this week. It’s just that are you sure she’s delivering the mail, or sledded down the hill to retrieve her own mail?


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