Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sports Illustrated: The Vault

A new feature on the Sports Illustrated Web site, The Vault, now offers free access to an archive of past articles, photos, and covers that were published during the magazine's 54 year history. One can search by keyword and refine by date as well as browse individual issues cover to cover.

For an example of some of the riches one can find on this database, see the following links:

An article about Golden Gate Park circa July 20, 1959:


"Strange and frequently momentous doings are almost always afoot in the gorgeous greenery of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, a squared-off tract three and a half miles long that was once a shifting Sahara of 50-foot dunes. In the proper season hordes of young athletes are at large on Big Rec Field, their backs emblazoned with legends that read "Johnson's Tamales" or "Wally's Fork Lifts," identifying the sponsors of the park's sandlot league which has spawned three DiMaggios, Tony Lazzeri, Babe Pinelli, Willie Kamm and such current lights as Gil McDougald, Gerry Coleman and Gus Triandos.

In the mating season buffalo bulls fight it out for the supremacy of a herd that roams a great green paddock undulating over Golden Gate's northwest acres. Just down the curving South Drive, past the bowling green where septuagenarians in the blue blazers and white ducks of the Bowling Club roll spheroids down the Kelly-green grass, young tennists gambol on Golden Gate's orange-and-green courts. Knowingly or not, they tread on territory hallowed by that oldtime great, Maurice McLoughlin, and later by Don Budge, Alice Marble, Art Larsen and Tom Brown, all of whom began the long climb by bouncing up the rungs of the park's peppy tournament program. And while all these efforts are expended in behalf of glory, on autumn Sundays the 49ers, those hard-blocking Hessians, perform for pay in Kezar Stadium, home of the East-West football game, which occupies a corner of the park too."

The most famous baseball pitcher to have never played a game


"The phenomenon the three young batters faced, and about whom only Reynolds, Stottlemyre and a few members of the Mets' front office know, is a 28-year-old, somewhat eccentric mystic named Hayden (Sidd) Finch. He may well change the course of baseball history. On St. Patrick's Day, to make sure they were not all victims of a crazy hallucination, the Mets brought in a radar gun to measure the speed of Finch's fastball. The model used was a JUGS Supergun II. It looks like a black space gun with a big snout, weighs about five pounds and is usually pointed at the pitcher from behind the catcher. A glass plate in the back of the gun shows the pitch's velocity—accurate, so the manufacturer claims, to within plus or minus 1 mph. The figure at the top of the gauge is 200 mph. The fastest projectile ever measured by the JUGS (which is named after the oldtimer's descriptive—the "jug-handled" curveball) was a Roscoe Tanner serve that registered 153 mph. The highest number that the JUGS had ever turned for a baseball was 103 mph, which it did, curiously, twice on one day, July 11, at the 1978 All-Star game when both Goose Gossage and Nolan Ryan threw the ball at that speed. On March 17, the gun was handled by Stottlemyre. He heard the pop of the ball in Reynolds's mitt and the little squeak of pain from the catcher. Then the astonishing figure 168 appeared on the glass plate. Stottlemyre remembers whistling in amazement, and then he heard Reynolds say, "Don't tell me, Mel, I don't want to know...."

Friday, April 18, 2008

San Francisco Earthquake Anniversary

Photo courtesy of San Francisco History Center, San Franciso Public Library

An article from the San Francisco Chronicle reports that a major earthquake may hit the San Francisco Bay Area within the next 30 years. This year marks the 102nd anniversary of the 1906 earthquake that struck San Francisco one fateful morning over a century ago. Fires ravaged the landscape of the city, ripping streets apart, demolishing buildings, and turning everything into rubble. Explore archival images of these dire events through photographs from the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection database. To begin, follow these instructions:

1. Go to the SFPL Home Page and select “Articles & Databases.”

2. Under the Categories side bar on the left, select “Images,” then “San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection.”

3. In the search box, enter the terms “san francisco 1906 earthquake.”

The results will display a list of photos matching your keywords. Click on the photos to enlarge the images. Get more information about each photo by clicking on "View Full Record."

The San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection contains over 250,000 historical photographs of scenes from San Francisco and California dating back to 1850. Photos include “street scenes, buildings, and neighborhoods, as well as photographs of famous San Francisco personalities.” You can search this collection by photo id number or photographer, and browse through a subject guide or neighborhood map.

You can also read the historical news articles of the 1906 earthquake. The Magazines & Newspapers Center has the entire run of the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner dating back to 1865 on microfilm.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The New Deal

Photo courtesy of San Francisco History Center, San Franciso Public Library

This year (2008) marks the 75th anniversary of the New Deal social programs created under former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration. To commemorate this historical anniversary, the Art, Music & Recreation Center, Business, Science & Technology Center, Government Information Center, and San Francisco History Center are currently showcasing three exhibitions on the New Deal, highlighting historical photographs, illustrations, books, and ephemera from the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection. To learn more about the New Deal, its origins and impact on the U.S. economy during the Great Depression, check out the Encyclopædia Britannica Online:

1. Go to the SFPL Home Page and select “Articles & Databases.” You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to access the databases from outside the Library.

2. Under the Categories side bar on the left, select “Encyclopedias & Dictionaries,” then “Encyclopædia Britannica Online.”

3. In the search box, enter the phrase “new deal.”

The first link presents an overview of the New Deal while the right-hand column features historical photographs, videos, and artwork from this significant chapter in U.S. history.

The Encyclopædia Britannica Online contains a wealth of information including magazine and journal articles, photographs, maps, illustrations, audio files, videos, high-quality Web sites, other forms of interactive multimedia, and more. You can browse through a list of alphabetically arranged topical subjects or run keyword searches on a topic of your own.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Going Green

Recycling bins, compact fluorescent lightbulbs, composting piles, organic foods—using these products can help you save energy, live a healthier lifestyle, and overall, preserve the environment. The Magazines & Newspapers Center has a variety of magazines such as BackHome, Home Energy, Home Power, and Natural Home that offer a wealth of ideas and tips on conserving energy.

BackHome – Features articles on maintaining self-sufficiency and sustainable living in a how-to format. Covers organic gardening, home education, solar and renewable energy, conservation, healthy cooking, mortgage-free building, and more.

Home Energy – Provides objective and practical information from an systems engineering standpoint on residential energy efficiency and home comfort including super-efficient appliances to indoor air quality.

Home Power – Written for homeowners, business owners, and renewable energy professionals, this magazine offers practical, do-it-yourself information for people who want to use solar, wind, water, hydrogen, methane and other renewable energy sources.

Natural Home – Provides environmentally practical ideas and tips for creating a healthy lifestyle. Topics covered include energy conservation, innovative remodeling, redecorating, homebuilding, cooking, gardening, and more.