Thursday Aug 17
Written by Ben Pogany

Baseball is a game of legends, larger-than-life stars ever ingrained in our public psyche. However, all too often, the off-the-field personalities get lost in the shuffle, dwarfed in the eyes of history by the Babe Ruths and Jackie Robinsons of the world.  Here then is the Mount Rushmore of those other legends, the pioneers and innovators that built baseball into the game it is today.  

1)  Alexander Cartwright, Jr.--
In truth, there is no big bang of baseball, no moment when the inspiration for what would become the American Pastime was beamed down from the heavens. For centuries, men had played cricket, rounders, and other various contests featuring bat and ball. However, if you're going to point to one man who truly set the wheels of baseball in motion, that man is Alexander Cartwright. Cartwright was a bank teller and volunteer firefighter who for many years had played various ball games around the parks of New York City. Though many of these games roughly resembled what we now know as modern baseball, Cartwright showed up one day with some new found inspiration. As his friend Duncan Curry recalls of that Spring afternoon in 1845, "Cartwright came to the field...with his plans drawn up on a paper.... He had laid out a diamond shaped field with canvas bags filled with sand or sawdust for bases at three of the points and an iron plate for home base. He had arranged for a catcher, a pitcher, three basemen, a short fielder and three outfielders. His plan met with much good-natured derision, but he was so persistent in having us try his new game that we finally consented more to humor him than with any thought of it becoming a reality." Cartwright would proceed to codify a set of accepted rules and engineer what is widely accepted today as the first organized baseball game between his Knickerbockers and the New York Club at the Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey, June 19th, 1846. Three years later, lured by the California gold craze, Cartwright began trekking westward, along which he would spread the gospel of baseball. Barely twenty years following that day in Hoboken, there were thought to be over a thousand organized baseball clubs scattered across the country.

Note: Though many think of Abner Doubleday as the creator of baseball, history has all but proven this to be myth. In 1907, The Mills Commission, appointed to determine the origin of baseball, concluded that "the first scheme for playing baseball, according to the best evidence obtainable to date, was devised by Abner Doubleday at Cooperstown, New York, in 1839." However, Doubleday never claimed this distinction in any of his writings, and it was even determined that at the date of the alleged invention, Doubleday was a cadet at West Point, his family having moved away from Cooperstown a year prior. Adding further doubt is the fact that the primary testimony on behalf of Doubleday lay with a man named Abner Graves, who after shooting his wife two years later wound up spending the rest of his life in an insane asylum. So yea, not the most credible of witnesses.  On June 3, 1953, Alexander Cartwright was officially declared by Congress to be the inventor of modern baseball.

2)  Henry Chadwick--
Often the best way of conferring legitimacy upon something is simply by committing it to paper. A British-born journalist in the mid-nineteenth century, Chadwick was one of the first to cover the infant game in print, writing up game summaries for the New York Clipper.  In it, Chadwick originated the box score, giving birth to a national obsession with baseball statistics and records that persists to this day. He also penned the "Base Ball Manual" and "Beadle's Dime Base Ball Player," guide books in which he described rules, techniques, and star players of the game.  The American Pastime was on its way.

3)  Harry Frazee-- History has not been kind to Mr. Frazee. The infamous former owner of the fledgling Boston Red Sox will forever be linked to the disastrous transaction that sent Babe Ruth to the Yankees, damning the Sox to nearly a century of futility.  However, that may not be the only raw deal Frazee got. In truth, and this is coming from a die-hard Red Sox fan, Frazee had his hands tied, making a move that almost any other owner in his position would have made. For starters, Ruth was the ultimate diva of his day, a drunk, a womanizer, a hothead (at one point throwing a punch at an umpire), an egomaniac, and the farthest thing from a team player. During the 1919 season, Ruth refused to continue pitching, continually undermined his manager, and even went 'Manny being Manny' on his teammates by pulling himself out of the last few games of the season. That year, the Sox would finish sixth (in the two years following his departure, they would actually climb a spot to fifth). After that season, Ruth demanded that his salary be doubled, an unheard-of figure that Frazee simply could not pay. Ruth then proclaimed that he wouldn't play until his demands were met, all but forcing Frazee to negotiate a trade. Due to an ongoing dispute with American League president Ban Johnson, Frazee was effectively banned from dealing with any team but the White Sox and Yankees, two teams that also defied Johnson's corrupt reign. (Johnson's hatred of Frazee in part stemmed from his belief that Frazee was Jewish, violating an unwritten rule within the game to keep Jews out of the ranks of ownership. Frazee was in fact Presbyterian.)  It's hard to fathom that the only other offer on the table would actually have been more catastrophic than the one that ultimately transpired, but that's exactly the case. The White Sox offered up superstar "Shoeless" Joe Jackson and cash, an intriguing offer were it not for the fact that just months later, Jackson would be suspended for life for his role in the Black Sox scandal. At the time, the Ruth transaction was actually seen by many as being favorable for the Red Sox. In subsequent years, numerous inaccuracies were perpetuated about the Sox owner, many of which were motivated by the ongoing belief in his Jewishness and the notion that a cash-strapped Frazee selfishly sold Ruth to finance his landmark play No, No, Nanette. (which actually didn't come out until six years later) As we all know, Ruth would go on to transform the Yankees into a dynasty while the Red Sox would go titleless for 86 years. Whatever blame Frazee deserves, the impact of his decision upon the future course of the game is impossible to deny. For more on Frazee's misplaced maligning, check out the illuminating Glenn Stout piece 'A Curse Born of Hate.'

4)  Kennesaw Mountain Landis-- When in 1921, baseball decided that it was finally necessary to bring in a commissioner, the game was reeling from the revelations of a fixed World Series.  That commissioner was Kennesaw Mountain Landis.  Upon the appointment, The Sporting News summarized Kennesaw's stated mission: "to clean out the crookedness and the gambling responsible for it and keep the sport above reproach...he would have no mercy on any man in baseball, be he magnate or player, whose conduct was not strictly honest...The Judge will be the absolute ruler of the game."  During his time in office, Landis did indeed rule with an iron fist, at once banishing the eight guilty players who had conspired to throw the World Series in the infamous Black Sox scandal. The ruling that was ultimately established-- 'Any player, umpire, club or league official or employee who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor had a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible'-- would go on to be the damning assertion used against Pete Rose several decades later.
Under his reign, Landis also helped usher in the live ball era.  From 1903-1921, small ball had been the order of the day, as a series of factors contributed to an unprecedented decline in offense.  Among them was the common practice of leaving baseballs in play for much of the game until they were brown with dirt, making it harder for batters to pick up while in flight.  Balls also became softer with repeated usage, resulting in a greater difficulty to drive with power over the course of the game.  Upon assuming power, Landis immediately legislated that balls be removed from play at the first sign of wear, causing an immediate uptick in offense as batters could not only see pitches better, but when they did, it would travel further on contact.   Landis also outlawed the spitball, further shifting advantage away from the pitcher.  From 1903-1919, the league-wide ERA had been 2.80.  In the decade that followed, it had jumped to 4.00.   Upon his death in 1944, Landis had transformed the game, restoring both its excitement and integrity.

5)
Mel Allen and Red Barber- Baseball on the radio would make its debut in the summer of 1921, as a man named Harold Arlin called the Pirates-Phillies match to an almost non-existent audience. However, it would be over a decade more before baseball received its true airwave ambassadors in Allen and Barber.  Known and beloved primarily as the voices of the Yankees and Dodgers respectively, Melvin Israel and William Barber were the first truly iconic broadcasters in American sports history. Initially concerned that radio would discourage people from actually showing up to the park, owners soon found the medium to be an unparalleled promotional tool for their sport (not to mention a great way to generate additional income).  By the 1940's, Barber's presence was so ubiquitous in Brooklyn, The Daily News mused "A person could cover the length of the beach of Coney Island and never lose his voice."  Perfectly suited to the pace and nature of the game, radio was instrumental in broadening the game's reach and appeal, expanding fan bases and turning local stars into national heroes.

6)  Branch Rickey-- There is perhaps no man more responsible for changing the complexion, both literally and figuratively, of the modern game more than that of Branch Rickey.  When Rickey was named the general manager of the St Louis Cardinals in 1925, minor league teams operated independently of big league clubs, auctioning off their top prospects to the highest bidder.  Rickey decided to buck the system, buying his own minor league clubs through which he could develop talent and directly funnel players to his major league franchise.   It took only a single year as GM before the Cards captured their first World Series, and in time the homegrown talent of Pepper Martin, Stan Musial, and Dizzy Dean would take three more pennants for the Gashouse Gang between 1928-1932. By 1940, Rickey's farm had steadily expanded into an empire, claiming ownership of an astounding 32 teams while maintaining working agreements with 8 others.  Rickey moved on to the Dodgers in 1942, where he would continue his prowess in developing young talent, producing such stars as Duke Snider and Gil Hodges from within the organization.  However, his most important achievement was the signing of Jackie Robinson from the Negro League's Kansas City Monarchs in 1945.  Upon his major league debut two years later, Robinson would bring a pennant to Brooklyn, opening up the doors to full-fledged racial integration in the years to come.  Dickey soon left for Pittsburgh, where he would once again shake the baseball establishment with the drafting and promotion of baseball's first Hispanic player in Roberto Clemente.  When he ultimately retired in 1955, Rickey had introduced the modern farm system, racially integrated the game, popularized the use of the batting helmet and batting cage, and created the first spring training facility.  Moreover, he was perhaps the earliest proponent of what we now call sabermetrics, valuing such indicators as on-base percentage over average to further his advantage over the competition.  A maverick in the truest sense, Branch Rickey remains the most influential figure in the history of baseball, if not the entire sports world.

7) Walter O'Malley--You're in a room with Hitler, Stalin, and Walter O'Malley and have a gun with only two bullets.  What do you do?  Shoot O'Malley twice.  To many 1950's Booklynites, the Dodgers were everything.  In one fell swoop, O'Malley ripped it all away, unapologetically moving the team to Los Angeles following the 1957 season.  The vitriol knew no bounds as the Dodgers' owner become public enemy #1 to a city reeling in grief.  Harsh as it was, O'Malley's infamous decision would mark a pivotal moment in the course of baseball history, as professional baseball was finally introduced to the West Coast.  America's pastime had for half a century been concentrated predominantly in the Northeast, with the westernmost team being St. Louis at the time of O'Malley's ascendancy.  The first domino to fall had been the Boston Braves, who in 1953 relocated to Milwaukee.  However, it was not until the Dodgers split town that the game truly underwent a tidal shift.  O'Malley knew that to make baseball a reality in the West he would have to recruit a partner, and so inserted himself as key player in facilitating the Giants move to San Francisco as well.  The entire complexion of American baseball had changed, as O'Malley's Dodgers helped make baseball a truly national game.

8)  Marvin Miller--Today, the Major League Baseball Players Association is the most powerful union in all of sports, and no man deserves more thanks for that fact than Marvin Miller. Elected head of the MLBPA in 1966, Miller soon made his impact felt, negotiating the first collective bargaining agreement with owners, increasing minimum salaries, introducing the all-important independent arbitration practice, and eventually ushering in the age of free agency with the invalidation of the reserve clause.  Under the reserve clause, players had been effectively married to their initial club, with that club retaining their rights from year to year not so unlike a piece of property. To make matters worse, those players unhappy with their compensation were forced to settle their disputes with the commissioner, who, as having been hired by the owners, was naturally biased in his rulings.  In 1974, after Cardinals' outfielder Curt Flood brought the issue of the reserve clause's inherent unfairness to the forefront, Miller encouraged pitchers Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally to refrain from signing a contract for the following year and instead enter arbitration.  Peter Seitz, the arbiter, ruled that the players had no legal ties to remain with their clubs and were free to pursue other offers.  The reserve clause had effectively been abolished and the era of free agency had begun. During Marvin's tenure, which stretched from 1966-1982, the average player's salary rose from $19,000 to $241,000.  His work signified a colossal shift in the balance of power between athlete and owner, an impact enjoyed every time a player signs on the dotted line to this day.

9)  George Steinbrenner-- Before there was Jerry Jones, before there was Mark Cuban, there was George Steinbrenner. Loud, irreverent, controversial, and hyper-controlling (changing managers 20 times in his first 23 years as Yankees owner), George Steinbrenner was the archetype for the larger-than-life sports owner. Buying the Yankees for a measly $8.7 million in 1973, he turned them into a $1.6 billion franchise, the gold standard for sporting excellence the world over. Today, ballplayers earn more than the GDP of small countries, and perhaps no man is more responsible than the Boss. With it came unprecedented market inequality, as the Yankees payroll grew to such exorbitant levels that it literally sextupled that of the smallest market teams. Contracts are now bloated to the point of absurdity (see: Werth, Jason and Rodriguez, Alex) as owners from around the league struggle to keep up with the Evil Empire. 

10)  Bud Selig-- Sadly, when all is said and done, Bud Selig will go down first and foremost as the man that presided over the Steroid Era, baseball's black eye.  However, to pin him solely as "The Steroid Commissioner" is to overlook the vast amount of good Selig was actually able to accomplish for the sport.  Assuming the role of acting commissioner in 1992, the former Milwaukee Brewers owner's first act was to realign the divisions and institute a wild card, expanding the postseason roster to eight teams.  Achieving permanent status in 1998, Selig would go on to make a series of other important changes, including the introduction of revenue sharing and interleague play, the expansion of instant replay, and the creation of the World Baseball Classic.  He also presided over a 400% explosion in league revenue and brought baseball to both Arizona and Tampa Bay.  Time will tell just how favorably future generations look upon his legacy, but one thing is for certain: Uncle Bud left baseball in a vastly different place from how he found it.

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FILM:

The Devil in the White City (2018)  Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo Dicaprio.  An architect works to build up the 1893 Worlds Fair,while a serial killer uses the fair to attract and kill women.

Dunkirk (2017) Directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, and Mark Rylance. Tells the story of the Dunkirk evacuation, which took place at the beginning of World War II.

Suburbicon (2017)  Directed by George Clooney, written by the Coen Brothers, and starring Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac and Josh Brolin.  A crime mystery set in the 1950's.

Going Places (2017)  Directed by John Turturro.  Starring John Turturro, Susan Sarandon, and Bobby Cannavale.  A spin-off of The Big Lebowski centered on notable bowler Jesus Quintana.

Blade Runner 2049 (2017) Directed by Denis Villenueve and starring Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling and Jared Leto.

The Irishman (2018) Directed by Martin Scorsese.  Screenplay by Steven Zaillian.  Starring Robert Deniro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel and Bobby Cannavale. A mob hit man recalls his possible involvement with the slaying of Jimmy Hoffa.

Phantom Thread (2018)  Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and starring Daniel Day Lewis.  Drama about the New York fashion industry in the 1950's.

Mute (2017)  Directed by Duncan Jones.  Starring Alexander Skarsgard, Paul Rudd, Sam Rockwell and Justin Theroux.  A mute bartender goes up against the city's gangsters in an effort to find out what happened to his missing partner.

Mother! (2017)  Written and directed by Darren Aronofsky.  Starring Jennifer Lawrence Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ed Harris, and Domhall Gleeson.  Centers on a couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.

Widows (2018)  Directed by Steve McQueen.  Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Liam Neeson, Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez.  When a crew of crooks are killed during a robbery, their widowed spouses pick up where they left off.

The Papers (2018)  Directed by Steven Spielberg.  Starring Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Carrie Coon, Alison Brie, Bradley Whitford, Bob Odenkirk, Jessie Plemons, and Michael Stuhlberg.  A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country's first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between journalist and government. Inspired by true events.

First Man (2018)  Directed by Damien Chazelle.  Starring Ryan Gosling.  A look at the life of astronaut Neil Armstrong and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the moon.

Soldado (2017)  Directed by Stefano Sollima.  Starring Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin.  A follow up to the 2015 film Sicario.

Darkest Hour (2017)  Directed by Joe Wright.  Starring Gary Oldman, Ben Mendelssohn, Lily James, and John Hurt.  Winston Churchill leads a charge against Adolf Hitler's army in the early days of World War I.

Strangers (???) Directed by David Fincher, screenplay by Ben Affleck and Gillian Flynn, starring Ben Affleck. (Remake of Hitchcock film Strangers on a Train)  A murder plot hatched by two men who meet on a train is considered to be a joke by one of them, and a dangerously real plan by the other.

Downsizing (2017) Directed by Alexander Payne and starring Matt Damon, Kristin Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Neil Patrick Harris, Alec Baldwin, and Jason Sudeikis.  A social satire in which a guy realizes he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself.

Logan Lucky (2017)  Directed by Steven Soderbergh.  Starring Daniel Craig, Channing Tatum, Seth McFarlane, Hilary Swank, Katie Holmes, and Adam Driver.  Two Brothers attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina.

Untitled Dick Cheney Project (2017)  Directed by Adam McKay.  The story of former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney who avoided military service during the 1960s Vietnam War, but became a stout advocate to invade Iraq in 2003 over false claims that is was developing nuclear weapons.

Isle of Dogs (2018)  Written and directed by Wes Anderson. Voiced by Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Bryan Cranston, and Jeff Goldblum.  A stop-motion film about dogs.

Roma (2018)  Written and directed by Alfonso Cuaron.  A story that chronicles a year in the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s.

The Studio (???)  Directed by Bennett Miller.  Written by Peter Tolan.  Starring George Clooney.  A look at the inner-workings of a Hollywood studio during the 1990s.

Legacy of Secrecy (???) Written and directed by David O. Russell.  Carlos Marcello and his possible involvement in the murder of JFK.

Hostiles (2017) Directed by Scott Cooper.  Starring Christian Bale, Ben Foster, Rosalind Pike, and Jesse Plemons.  In 1892, a legendary Army captain reluctantly agrees to escort a Cheyenne chief and his family through dangerous territory.

The Trap (2017)  Directed by Harmony Korine.  Starring Al Pacino, Benicio del Toro, Robert Pattinson, and Gucci Mane.  An ex-con is out for revenge against a gangster rapper and former friend who let him take the fall for a robbery they committed 14 years earlier.

Cortes (???) Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Benicio de Toro.  Spanish Conquistador Hernán Cortés leads an expedition to bring down the Aztec Empire during the 15th Century.

Border Guards (???)  Directed by Adam McKay.  Starring Will Ferrell and John C Reily.  A pair of Americans try to prevent Mexican immigrants from entering the country, accidentally find the tables have turned on themselves when they try to return to the US without an identification.

The Trade (???) Directed by Jay Roach and written by Ben and Casey Affleck.  A chronicle of the 1970s scandal caused by New York Yankees Fritz Petterson and Mike Kekich, who admitted to swapping wives with one another.

Untitled Mike Tyson Biopic (???)  Written by Terrence Winter and starring Jamie Foxx.  A chronicle of champion boxer Mike Tyson's life.

Cicero (???) Directed by David Yates and starring Tom Hardy.  Focuses on Al Capone's rise to power moving from the slums of Brooklyn to the top of the food chain in prohibition-era Chicago.

Ballad of Richard Jewell (???)  Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill.  American security guard, Richard Jewell, heroically saves thousands of lives from an exploding bomb at the 1996 Olympics, but is unjustly vilified by journalists and the press who falsely report that he was a terrorist.

The True American (2018)  Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and starring Tom Hardy.  A Bangladeshi Air Force officer looking to make his way in the United States is shot by an American terrorist out to kill Muslims in the aftermath of September 11th.

Far Bright Star (2018)  Directed by Casey Affleck and starring Joaquin Phoenix. Set in 1916, an aging cavalryman leads a team of men to hunt down the Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa. However, after an ambush in which most of the men are killed, the cavalryman must struggle to survive in the desert.

Stronger (2017)  Directed by David Gordon Green and starring Jake Gyllenhaal.  A victim of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 helps the police track down the killers while struggling to recover from devastating trauma.

Wind River (2017)  Written and directed by Taylor Sheridan (Hell and High Water, Sicario).  Starring Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, and Martin Sensmeier.  An FBI agent teams with the town's veteran game tracker to investigate a murder that occurred on a Native American reservation.

Holmes and Watson (2018)  Directed by Etan Cohen.  Starring Will Ferrell, John C Reily, Ralph Fiennes, and Kelly Macdonald.  A humorous take on Sherlock Holmes.

War Party (???)  Directed by Andrew Dominic.  Starring Tom Hardy.  An adventure film about Navy SEALS.

Enzo Ferrari (2018)  Directed by Michael Mann. The life story of Italian sports car entrepreneur, Enzo Ferrari.

The Snowman (2017)  Directed by Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One in) and starring Michael Fassbender, Val Kilmer and JK Simmons.  Detective Harry Hole investigates the disappearance of a woman whose pink scarf is found wrapped around an ominous-looking snowman.

The Current War (2017) Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon.  Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, and Nicholas Hoult.  Electricity titans Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse compete to create a sustainable system and market it to the American people.

Mosaic (2017)  Directed by Steven Soderbergh.  Starring Sharon Stone, Garrett Hedlund, and Paul Reubens.  Plot kept under wraps.

Light of My Life (2018)  Written, directed and starring Casey Affleck.  A father and his young daughter find themselves trapped in the woods.

The Man Who Made it Snow (???) Directed by Antoine Fuqua.  The true story of Max Mermelstein, a Jewish hotel engineer, who transforms a small mom and pop drug organization into a billion-dollar enterprise.

Ready Player One (2018)  Directed by Steven Spielberg.  Starring Mark Rylance, Olivia Cooke, TJ Miller, Simon Pegg, and Ben Mendelsohn.  When the creator of an MMO called the Oasis dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all Oasis users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the find his fortune.

The Old Man and the Gun (2017)  Directed by David Lowery.  Starring Casey Affleck, Robert Redford, and Sissy Spacek.  An elderly bank robber, who had managed to escape from prison over a dozen times in his life before moving to a retirement community, looks to spice things up with another heist.

The Son (2018)  Directed by Denis Villeneuve.  Starring Jake Gyllenhaal.  A son questions his father's suicide, and seeks out those who killed him.

A Season in the Congo (???)  Directed by Joe Wright.  A look at the events surrounding the Congo rebellion in 1960.

High Wire Act (2017)  Directed by Brad Anderson.  Written by Tony Gilroy.  Starring Rosamund Pike, Jon Hamm, and Dean Norris.  A former US diplomat returns to service in order to save a former colleague in Beirut.

Wildlife (2017)  Written and directed by Paul Dano.  Starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan.  A boy witnesses his parent's marriage falling apart after his mom finds another man.

Raven (???)  Directed by Michelle MacLaren.  Written by Vince Gilligan, based on the book by Tim Reiterman.  Cult leader Jim Jones lures his followers to a mass murder-suicide in Jonestown Guyana.

Inner City (???)  Written and directed by Dan Gilroy.  Starring Denzel Washington, Colin Farrell, and Ashton Sanders.  An attorney for a big LA law firm discovers some unfavorable things about his late partner and decides to right his wrongs.

The Black Hand (2018)  Starring Leonardo DiCaprio.  Police office Joe Petrofina seeks justice against a ruthless Italian-American gang in New York.  Based on the Stephan Talty book of the same name.

Blonde (2018) Directed by Andrew Dominic (Assassination of Jesse James).  A chronicle of the inner life of Marilyn Monroe.

Untitled Panama Papers Project (???)  Directed by Steven Soderbergh.  Based on the book Secrecy World by Jake Bernstein.  Follows a group of journalists who take part in unearthing 11.5 million files linking the world's most powerful political figures to secret banking accounts to avoid taxes.

Smash and Grab (???)  Directed by Danny Boyle.  Based on the documentary Smash and Grab, which followed the most successful diamond thieves in the world.

Thrilla in Manilla (2108) Directed by Ang Lee.

Hold the Dark (2018)  Directed by Jeremy Saulnier.  Written by Macon Blair.  Starring Alexander Skarsgard, Riley Keough, James Badge Dale, and Jeffrey Wright.  A wolf hunter tracks down a young child in the Alaskan wilderness.

Untitled Josh Hamilton Project (???) Directed by Casey Affleck.  Baseball player Josh Hamilton, who was a top draft pick in 1999, hits rock bottom after suffering from a drug addiction that ruins his family life and career, only to clean-up his act and redeem himself with an unexpected comeback.

The Kidnapping Of Edgardo Mortara (2017)  Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Mark Rylance and Oscar Isaac.  Recounts the story of a young Jewish boy in Bologna, Italy in 1858 who, having been secretly baptized, is forcibly taken from his family to be raised as a Christian. His parents' struggle to free their son becomes part of a larger political battle that pits the Papacy against forces of democracy and Italian unification.


TELEVISION:

Mindhunter (2017)  Partially directed by David Fincher.  An agent in the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit tracks down serial killers and rapists.

Lewis and Clark (2018)  HBO Miniseries.  Starring Casey Affleck and Matthias Schoenaerts.  The story of American explorers Lewis and Clarke as they lead a voyage up the Missouri River to the Rockies and down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean in 1803.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2017) Written and directed by the Coen Brothers.  An anthology western series.

The Deuce (2017)  Written by David Simon and George Pelecanos.  Starring James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal.  A look at life in New York City during the 70s and 80s when porn and prostitution were rampant in Manhattan.

Untitled David O Russell Project (2017) Crime series written and directed by David O Russell.  Starring Robert DeNiro and Juliane Moore.

The Romanoffs (???)  Created and written by Matthew Weiner (Mad Men).

American Lion (2017)  Starring Sean Penn.  The story of Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States.

Godless (2017) Executive Produced and partially created by Steven Sodergergh.  Written and directed by Scott Frank (Logan, Minority Report)  Frank Griffin, an outlaw terrorizing the 1880s American West, hunts down Roy Goode, his partner turned enemy.  Roy hides out at a ranch as Frank's chase leads him to La Belle, New Mexico- a town made up entirely of women.

Napoleon (???)  Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, based on the original screenplay by Stanley Kubrick.  6 part miniseries covering the rise and fall of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Maniac (2017)  Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga and starring Jonah Hill and Emma Stone.  An institutionalized man dreams of a new life in a fantasy world.

Succession (???)  Executive produced by Adam McKay and Will Ferrell.  A drama about a dysfunctional media family dynasty in the 21st century.

Trust (2017)  Directed by Danny Boyle

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1) UCLA- Established: 1920--11 championships (10 in 12 years) and 18 Final Four appearances
Wins: 1,821  
Winning Percentage: .689
Last Championship: 1995
Defining Coach: John Wooden
Illustrious alumni:
  1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  2. Bill Walton
  3. Reggie Miller
  4. Gail Goodrich
  5. Russell Westbrook
  6. Jamaal Wilkes
  7. Kevin Love
  8. Marques Johnson
  9. Baron Davis
  10. Sidney Wicks
2) Kentucky- Established: 1903--8 championships and 17 Final Four appearances
Wins: 2,206  
Winning Percentage: .764  
Last Championship: 2012
Defining Coach: Adolph Rupp 
Illustrious alumni: 
  1. Dan Issel
  2. Cliff Hagan
  3. Frank Ramsey
  4. Anthony Davis
  5. Antoine Walker
  6. John Wall
  7. Rajon Rondo
  8. DeMarcus Cousins
  9. Jamal Mashburn
  10. Karl Anthony-Towns
  11. Louie Dampier
*also Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley
3) UNC- Established: 1911--6 championships and 20 Final Four appearances
Wins: 2,168  
Winning Percentage: .737 
Last Championship: 2009
Defining Coach: Dean Smith 
Illustrious alumni:
  1. Michael Jordan
  2. Bob McAdoo
  3. James Worthy
  4. Larry Brown
  5. Billy Cunningham
  6. Vince Carter
  7. Rasheed Wallace
  8. Walter Davis
  9. Jerry Stackhouse
  10. Sam Perkins/Antawn Jamison/Brad Daugherty
4) Duke- Established: 1906--5 championships and 16 Final Four appearances
Wins: 2,085  
Winning Percentage: .707 
Last Championship: 2015
Defining Coach: Mike Krzyzewski 
Illustrious alumni: 
  1. Grant Hill
  2. Elton Brand
  3. Jeff Mullins
  4. Carlos Boozer
  5. Shane Battier
  6. Kyrie Irving
  7. Corey Maggette
  8. Luol Deng
  9. Mike Gminski
  10. Mike Dunleavy
5)Indiana- Established: 1901--5 championships and 8 Final Four appearances  
Wins: 1,778
Winning Percentage: .639  
Last Championship: 1987 
Defining Coach: Bob Knight  
Illustrious alumni:
  1. Isiah Thomas
  2. Walt Bellamy
  3. George McGinnis
  4. Dick Van Ardsdale
  5. Tom Van Ardsdale
6) Kansas- Established: 1899--3 championships and 14 Final Four appearances. 
Wins: 2,183  
Winning Percentage: .723  
Last Championship: 2008
Defining Coach: Phog Allen 
Illustrious alumni:
  1. Wilt Chamberlain
  2. Clyde Lovellette
  3. Paul Pierce
  4. Danny Manning
  5. Jojo White
  6. Andrew Wiggins
7) Louisville- Established: 1912--3 championships and 10 Final Four appearances
Wins: 1,778 
Winning Percentage: .666
Last Championship: 2013
Defining Coach: Rick Pitino
Illustrious alumni:
  1. Wes Unseld
  2. Junior Bridgeman
  3. Jack Coleman
  4. Rodney McCray
  5. Butch Beard
8) Connecticut- Established: 1901--4 championships and 5 Final Four appearances 
Wins: 1,609

Winning Percentage: .6
40
Last Championship: 2014
Defining Coach: Jim Calhoun 
Illustrious alumni:
  1. Ray Allen
  2. Richard Hamilton
  3. Clifford Robinson
  4. Caron Butler
  5. Rudy Gay
  6. Andre Drummond
  7. Kemba Walker
9) Michigan St- Established: 1899--2 championships and 9 Final Four appearances 
Wins: 1,635  
Winning Percentage: .606
Last Championship: 2000
Defining Coach: Tom Izzo 
Illustrious alumni:
  1. Magic Johnson
  2. Kevin Willis
  3. Zach Randolph
  4. Jason Richardson
  5. Draymond Green
  6. Steve Smith
10) Florida- Established: 1921--2 championships and 5 Final Four appearances
Wins: 1,363  
Winning Percentage: .559 
Last Championship: 2007
Defining Coach: Billy Donovan 
Illustrious alumni:
  1. Mike Miller
  2. Al Horford
  3. Joakim Noah
  4. Bradley Beal
  5. Chandler Parsons
  6. Jason Williams
  7. David Lee
  8. Vernon Maxwell

*The tournament to determine a national champion began with 8 teams in 1939, expanded to 16 in 1951, 32 in 1975, and 64 in 1985.
* Alumni are ranked according to eventual success on the professional level.
Written by Ben Pogany

The following artists were not selected because they are the best musicians of their respective genres, though many are.  They were not selected because they were the very first to do what they did, though many were.  Rather, these twenty artists populate this list because they significantly and irrevocably reshaped the musical landscapes of which they were a part.  They brought their respective crafts from the fringe to the mainstream, virtually compelling the public to pay attention or be left behind.   

1) The Beatles- What is there to say?  There's everything before the Beatles, and then there's everything after.  They forever changed popular music and defined a generation.

2) Elvis
- Say what you will about the King, but the impact he had on popular music cannot be understated.  He brought black music to the white masses and gave birth to rock and rock in mainstream America.

3) Robert Johnson-The OG of the blues, the man who sold his soul to the devil so that the world could eventually come to know rock music.

4) James Brown- The hardest working man in show business is rightfully referred to as The Godfather of Soul.  While Elvis and the Stones may have been responsible for bringing black music to white people, James Brown brought white people to black music.

5) Bob Dylan- One of the first to inject poetry into his music, Dylan popularized folk music while poignantly speaking to the heart of the 60's generation struggling with an unpopular war and alienation from their parents.  Before Dylan, song lyrics largely consisted of simplistic, poppy love ballads.

6) Run DMC- Though not the first guys to ever rhyme into a microphone, Run DMC cemented hip hop as a legitimate art form and brought it to the masses with the help of Aerosmith, Mtv, and a generation of music listeners ready for the next big thing in music.

7) Little Richard- One of the seminal architects of Rock and Rock, Richard Wayne Penniman drew on gospel, rhythm & blues, funk, and boogie-woogie and combined it with an off-the-wall persona to create a show like no one had ever seen.

8) Chuck Berry- John Lennon once said "If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry."  From "Maybelline" to "Johnny B. Goode", Berry, perhaps more than any other artist, put all the pieces together to truly give birth to rock and roll music.

9) The Velvet Underground- Drawing their name from a book about the secret sexual subculture of the early 1960's, Lou Reed and John Cale would go on to create the most seminal experimental/art rock band the country had yet seen.  Buried within their verses were the seeds of punk, alternative, and grunge rock.

10) Led Zeppelin- Though predicted to go down like the Hindenburg, Zep created and perfected the hard rock sound.  There are few today who didn't draw some influence from the dream team lineup of Page, Plant, Bonham and Paul Jones.

11) Nirvana- Almost overnight, hair metal was out, flannel shirts were in, and "commercial" rock would never be the same again.

12) Bob Marley- When you think reggae, you think Bob Marley, plain and simple.

13) Hank Williams- Though only gracing this earth for a brief twenty-nine years, Hank unquestionably cemented his status as the king of country music.  He even found time to bequeath to the world five famous offspring.  Are you ready for some football???

14) Charlie Parker- A living personification of the beatnik era, "Bird" was one of the most influential jazz musicians of all time.  He pioneered the fast tempos and harmonically structured improvisations of the Bebop sound.

15) Black Sabbath- The Godfathers of Heavy Metal, Ozzy and friends made dark music popular.

16) George Clinton & The Parliament Funkadelic- P-Funk doesn't play funk music, they are funk music.  George and the gang continue to dominate the airwaves, lending samples to everyone from Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre to Missy Eliot and Outkast.

17) Louis Armstrong
- Satchmo might not be the greatest jazz musician to ever pick up a trumpet, but he's arguably the most important, as the lovable pioneer legitimized the art form for mainstream (read: white) audiences.

18) The Sex Pistols- They crammed punk down mainstream England's throats by injecting a crude, rude, completely irreverent and downright shocking style into popular music.

19) NWA- NWA gave birth to gangsta rap with their raw, unyielding lyrics and all-star lineup that individually would go on to dominate West Coast rap for the next decade.

20) Kraftwerk- One of the most sampled groups of all time, Kraftwerk originated the electronic sound.  Coming out of Dusseldorf, Germany, founding members Florian Schneider and Ralf Hutter pioneered several groundbreaking musical technologies and techniques, including the Minimoog, Synthanorma Sequencer, and the vocoder. Their use of looping and sampling would eventually be central to the rise of hip hop and techno.

1) Brazil
Current FIFA Ranking: 5
Hardware: 5 World Cups (11 semifinal appearances), 4 Confederations Cups, 8 Copa Americas
Top Club League: Brasileirão
2) Germany
Current FIFA Ranking: 1
Hardware: 4 World Cups (13 semifinal appearances), 3 Euro Cups, 1 Olympic gold medal (East Germany)
Top Club League: Bundesliga
3)  Italy
Current FIFA Ranking: 13
Hardware: 4 World Cups (8 semifinal appearances), 1 Euro Cup, 1 Olympic gold medal
Top Club League: Serie A
4)  Argentina
Current FIFA Ranking: 3
Hardware: 2 World Cups (5 semifinal appearances), 1 Confederations Cup, 14 Copa Americas, 2 Olympic gold medals
Top Club League: Argentine Primera División
5)  Spain
Current FIFA Ranking: 10
Hardware: 1 World Cup (2 semifinal appearances), 3 Euro Cups, 1 Olympic gold medal
Top Club League: La Liga
Greatest Players: Xavi, Andres IniestaEmilio ButraguenoTelmo ZarraLuis SuárezAmancioLászló KubalaFrancisco Gento, Iker Casillas, Ricardo ZamoraDavid Villa, Carlos Puyol
6)  France
Current FIFA Ranking: 9
Hardware: 1 World Cup (5 semifinal appearances), 2 Confederations Cups, 2 Euro Cups, 1 Olympic gold medal
Top Club League: Ligue 1
7) England
Current FIFA Ranking: 15
Hardware: 1 World Cup (2 semifinal appearances), 3 Olympic gold medals
Top Club League: Premier League
8)  Uruguay
Current FIFA Ranking: 8
Hardware: 2 World Cups (5 semifinal appearances), 15 Copa Americas, 2 Olympic gold medals
Top Club League: Primera División Uruguaya
9)  Netherlands
Current FIFA Ranking: 6
Hardware: 1 Euro Cup, 5 World Cup semifinal appearances
Top Club League: Eredivisie
Greatest Players: Johan Cruyff, Marco van BastenRuud Gullit, Ronald Koeman, Dennis Bergkamp, Johan Neeskens, Ruud Krol, Arie Haan, Frank Rijkaard, Johnny Rep, Arjen Robben, Robin Van Persie, Frank de Boer, Wesley Sneijder
10)  Portugal
Current FIFA Ranking: 7
Hardware: 2 World Cup semifinal appearances, 2004 Euro Cup runner-up
Top Club League: Primiera Liga
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1) Biff Tannen
Back to the Future
---"Hey butthead!  Say hello to your mom for me."

2) Shooter McGavin
Happy Gilmore
---"Damn you people. Go back to your shanties."

3) Sensei John Kreese
The Karate Kid
---"Sweep the Leg"

4) Walter Peck
Ghostbusters
---"Frankly there have been a lot of wild stories in the media and we want to assess any possible environmental impact from your operation like the presence of noxious, possibly hazardous waste chemicals in your basement. Now either you show me what is down there or I come back with a court order."

5) Fred O'Bannion
Dazed and Confused
---"Y'all ready to bust some ass?"

6) Clark
Good Will Hunting
---"I was just hoping you might give me some insight into the evolution of the market economy in the southern colonies. My contention is that prior to the Revolutionary War, the economic modalities, especially in the southern colonies, could most aptly be characterized as agrarian precapitalism..."

7) Bill Lumbergh
Office Space 
---"Oh, oh, and I almost forgot. Ahh, I'm also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too..."

8) Percy
The Green Mile
---"I didn't know the sponge was supposed to be wet."

9) Ernie McCracken
Kingpin
---"Do me a favor, will you? Would you mind washing off that perfume before you come back to our table?"

10) Eric Gordon
Billy Madison
---"Well, 'sorry' doesn't put the Triscuit crackers in my stomach now, does it Carl?"

11) Caledon Hockley
Titanic
---"Where are you going? To him? To be a whore to a gutter rat?"

12) Charlie Dillon
School Ties
---"You know something? I'm still gonna get into Harvard. And in 10 years no one will remember any of this. But you'll still be a goddamn Jew."

13) Harry Ellis
Die Hard
---"Hey babe, I negotiate million dollar deals for breakfast. I think I can handle this Eurotrash. "

14) Derek
Step Brothers
---"I am the VP of the biggest executive helicopter leasing company on the western seaboard. I haven't had a carb since 2004. Check these out."

15) Prince Humperdinck
The Princess Bride
---"Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work, but I've got my country's 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I'm swamped."

16) Sack Lodge 
Wedding Crashers 
"I hunt quail, Jeremy. They're overpopulated in this region and they're decimating the grubworm population. You got a fucking problem with that?"

17) Principal Ed Rooney
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
---"I did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave my cheese out in the wind."

18) Judge Smails
Caddyshack
---"Well, the world needs ditch diggers, too."

19) Dean Gordon 'Cheese' Pritchard 
Old School 
---"This is me leaving."

20) White Goodman
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
---"Nobody makes me bleed my own blood - nobody!"


Honorable Mentions: 
Carter Burke- Aliens, Douglas C. Neidermeyer- Animal House, Buzz McCallister- Home Alone, Mike Damone- Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Richard- Van Wilder, Stifler- American Pie, Ace Merrill- Stand By Me, Pat Healy- There's Something About Mary, Tony Perkis- Heavyweights, Stan Gable- Revenge of the Nerds, Col. William Tavington- The Patriot, Dave Harken- Horrible Bosses.
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Written by Ben Pogany

Here are the 100 most memorable, well-crafted, mesmerizing, hilarious, or just plain bad-ass characters of the past 50 years.

  1. Vito Corleone-The Godfather
  2. Hannibal Lector- Silence of the Lambs
  3. James Bond- Goldfinger
  4. The Joker- The Dark Knight
  5. Jules Winnfield- Pulp Fiction
  6. Gollum- Lord of the Rings
  7. Daniel Plainview- There Will Be Blood
  8. The Dude- The Big Lebowski
  9. John Doe- Se7en
  10. Luke- Cool Hand Luke
  11. Darth Vader- Star Wars
  12. Rocky- Rocky
  13. The Man With No Name- The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
  14. Michael Corleone- The Godfather
  15. Forrest Gump- Forest Gump
  16. Indiana Jones- Raiders of the Lost Ark
  17. Tony Montana- Scarface
  18. Marty McFly- Back to the Future
  19. Keyser Soze/Verbal Kint- The Usual Suspects
  20. Anton Chigurh- No Country For Old Men
  21. Travis Bickle- Taxi Driver
  22. Han Solo- Star Wars
  23. Wooderson- Dazed and Confused
  24. Hal 9000- 2001: A Space Odyssey
  25. Ron Burgundy- Anchorman
  26. Frank Booth- Blue Velvet
  27. Beatlejuice- Beatlejuice
  28. Dr. Strangelove- Dr. Strangelove
  29. Frank Costello- The Departed
  30. Jake LaMotta- Raging Bull
  31. Tyler Durden- Fight Club
  32. Hans Landa- Inglourious Bastards
  33. The Terminator- The Terminator
  34. Harry Callahan- Dirty Harry
  35. Ellen Ripley-Alien
  36. Edward Scissorhands- Edward Scissorhands
  37. RP McMurphy- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
  38. Detective Alonzo Harris- Training Day
  39. Butch Cassidy- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  40. Jack Torrence- The Shining
  41. Carl Spackler- Caddyshack
  42. Mr. Miyagi- The Karate Kid
  43. Mr. Blonde- Reservoir Dogs
  44. Walter E. Kurtz- Apocalypse Now
  45. Ferris Bueller- Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  46. Derek Zoolander- Zoolander
  47. Bluto- Animal House
  48. Tommy DeVito- Goodfellas
  49. Vinny Gambini- My Cousin Vinny
  50. Max Cady- Cape Fear
  51. Lee Grossman-Tropic Thunder
  52. Shaft- Shaft
  53. Kevin McCallister- Home Alone
  54. William Wallace- Braveheart
  55. Spicoli- Fast Times at Ridgemont High
  56. John McClain- Die Hard
  57. Oskar Schindler-Schindler's List
  58. Marge Gunderson- Fargo
  59. Alex Forrest- Fatal Attraction
  60. E.T.- E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial
  61. Red Redding- The Shawshank Redemption
  62. Howard Beale- Network
  63. Amelie- Amelie
  64. Bill 'The Butcher' Cutting- Gangs of New York
  65. Axel Foley- Beverly Hills Cop
  66. Michael- The Deer Hunter
  67. Alan- The Hangover
  68. Patrick Bateman- American Psycho
  69. Harmonica- Once Upon a Time in the West
  70. Frank Serpico- Serpico
  71. Ace Ventura- Ace Venture: Pet Detective
  72. Raymond Babbitt- Rain Man
  73. Wall-E- Wall-E
  74. Phil Conners- Grounydhog Day
  75. Freddy Krueger- A Nightmare on Elm Street
  76. Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade- Scent of a Woman
  77. Rooster Cogburn- True Grit
  78. Ratso Rizzo- Midnight Cowboy
  79. Stifler- American Pie
  80. Austin Powers- Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
  81. William 'Bill' Munny- Unforgiven
  82. General George S. Patton- Patton
  83. The Bride- Kill Bill
  84. Quint- Jaws
  85. Alex Delarge- A Clockwork Orange
  86. Ben Braddock- The Graduate
  87. Napoleon Dynamite- Napoleon Dynamite
  88. Leonard Shelby- Memento
  89. Sgt. Elias Grodin- Platoon
  90. Raoul Duke- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
  91. FBI Special Agent Paul Smecker- The Boondock Saints
  92. Jake Gittes- Chinatown
  93. Mad Max- Mad Max
  94. V- V for Vendetta
  95. George Hanson- Easy Rider
  96. Peter Venkman- Ghostbusters
  97. Max Fischer- Rushmore
  98. Derek Vinyard- American History X
  99. Popeye Doyle- The French Connection
  100. Annie Wilkes- Misery

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