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SUNDAY MORNING PICK-ME-UP

coughlinmicDear Markie:

Again, not sure you’re ever going to read this, but it always feels good after I write to you.

I got up early before Sunday’s game because I couldn’t sleep, and decided to take a drive up to Royal Oak. There’s a pretty famous “radio priest” up there named Charles Coughlin, working out of a church called the National Shrine of the Little Flower. He’s been involved in our country’s politics and given many speeches.  He’s also been doing his own weekly radio sermons for about seven years now, and they reach tens of millions of people across the country. Last week I heard one for the first time and even though it was mostly about America’s economy, it bothered me for days. I think since I’ve recently gotten more aware of Henry Ford and his anti-semite attitudes, I’ve been able to see that stuff in the words of others, too. When Coughlin blabbed on about the “evil money changers”, I knew who he was really talking about.

We had a rough rest of our home stand coming up this week against the Red Sox and Yanks, and I figured I needed something to get my blood boiling and pep me up. So I decided to hear Coughlin up close and in the flesh if I could.

It was a nice drive up to Royal Oak, and there was a line of people out the door to get in. I waited in my car until most of them filed in, then rushed up to the door and slipped inside.

Father Coughlin was a real powerful speaker. Started slowly talking about the things he didn’t like about Roosevelt’s New Deal, even though he used to support it, and before long his voice was rising and his fists were clenching, taking about “Jewish control” of our financial institutions and boy did he ever remind me of newsreel footage I’ve seen of Hitler. But then some bored kid in the back row turned around, saw me standing there by the door, shook his father’s arm and yelled, “Hey Dad! It’s Hank Greenberg!”

Half the place spun around. Coughlin even stopped his speech for a moment, then pointed in my direction.

“You see? They burrow into our lives, and even our places of worship!” The kid who had spotted me suddenly ran up with his church pamphlet and a pen, wanting an autograph. I quickly signed it, said “Knock some sense into him, buddy!” and ducked back out to my car.

My blood was boiling, alright.

Best,
Hank

6.22.38

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