The Shop has started busy this year. The winter is usually a slow time at the corner of Pratt and Central. The level of “slow” is often a barometer for how the year will go. This January a significant bit of repairs are needed by F & M Schaefer Brewing Co. Three beer vats or kettles need a few fixes, some replacement fittings and a general cleaning. It’s a job that keeps the whole crew busy for several days which is a welcome event in the winter. Jack is quoting and taking calls with the assistance of his secretary Julie. He still spends part of most days on jobs in the Shop, moving back and forth from Shop to office all day, expediting and checking on orders. His wife Betty is even busier as she nurtures a household of nine children ages seventeen years to seven months. She also takes care of Jack’s father Eddie who is retired and is now seventy-one. Eddie lives across the street and Betty brings her three youngest along when she cleans and makes lunch for him. Every night he crosses Lakewood Avenue and comes to dinner, then later in the evening, Jack or one of the older girls spends a couple of hours keeping him company in his home. It’s a busy life but with such a large family and a business it is inevitable. Jack and Betty make it work and everyone seems content and everyone chips in. The older girls help not only with Eddie but also with the younger children too.
According to an article in the News American, history is being made this year at Catholic High School. For the first time in its history, a girl is in each grade at the school from the same family. Betty Ann, Nancy, Mary and Jane Kavanagh are Senior, Junior, Sophomore and Freshman respectively. The family is listed and mentioned in the article and though the girls are non-plussed at it, their mother Betty is thrilled. She clips it from the paper and saves it. Jack notices the misspelled Kavanagh in the headline. He likes the article but can’t help but focus on the added “u,” a very common error that he sees every day from customers.
More beer work keeps the Joseph Kavanagh Company busy. Today a job is finished at National Brewery. Several stainless steel beer lines had to be moved and the Shop got the call. Though the Kavanagh’s started as coppersmiths, they have been working other metals for years, brass, steel, stainless steel and others. Their familiarity with the brewing system at National gets them the job and it is handled quickly by the crew.
Another order is completed for F & M Schaefer. They required a custom 6” connector and it was made in the Shop. Ed Kavanagh and Joe Flaxcomb did the bulk of the fabrication with John Benser handling the final machining. Jack is busy with several phone calls to Majestic Distillery. He is quoting some repairs to the mash cooler and to an old beer line. The brewers have given the Kavanagh’s a good start to 1966 so far.
Today is the 100th anniversary of the Shop. What started as a partnership between Joseph Michael Kavanagh and George Smith has changed, grown and contracted over the years and it has been an all Kavanagh operation since 1877 when Old Uncle Joe bought out his partner. The Shop has made it to 100 years old but this date is lost to history and the family do not know it. They know 1866 and they know there was a bookkeeper/partner and his name was George Smith. The dates of the Beginning and when Old Uncle Joe bought him out are long forgotten. The passage of time buries certain facts and information. Only through digging and researching will these things be re-discovered and only after another fifty years of work.
It’s tax day in America and Opening Day in Baltimore. The Birds won the first two on the road against Boston but are bested at home in this one by the Yankees, 3-2. New Oriole Frank Robinson homers in a losing effort. Jack listens on the radio at work and knows it’s just one game but hates losing to New York. He is still confident in this team. He is sticking to what he said when the Orioles traded for Frank Robinson. The Birds will win the pennant. Jack is sure of it. After this loss, the Orioles get hot and win the next two against the Yanks and eight more after that.
The McArdle and Walsh Co. have ordered some fittings from the Shop. The fittings are taken from our stock and adjusted a bit and some custom work is done to finish them up. McArdle and Walsh are working on a repair at Gunther’s Brewery and though they have the work, they need the Kavanagh’s for the fittings. This is a standard practice. Occasionally, outside contractors will be working inside a brewery or distillery on structural parts of the building when the changes require some work on the brewing system. Fittings, connectors and parts are then purchased from Kavanagh and then the contractor gets back to work.
Betty graduates from Catholic High School and Jack and Betty are as proud as they can be. Betty Ann plans to attend Catholic University and live on campus. Her parents are a little cautious but have confidence in her and they agree. Jack and Betty watch their firstborn receive her diploma and they can’t believe where the time has gone. They also know they will be doing this eight more times.
The Orioles make a trade today, parting ways with Jerry Adair who is the Kavanagh girls’ favorite player. He is dealt to the Chicago White Sox for relief pitcher Eddie Fisher. The members of the Jerry Adair Fan Club are upset and disappointed. He was always very kind to the girls and seemed genuinely surprised by their admiration. The girls will get over it and as they drive to the game tonight, their father tells them it might be best for the team. Fisher is a good bullpen guy and in a pennant race you want all the help you can get.
It’s a Friday night and it is Joe’s or GI’s, as Little Jack likes to call him, first birthday and a small party is thrown for the baby. He toddles around after his brother Jack and sister Ann most of the day. Whatever they are playing he tries to get into it too. He loves the party and enjoys the cake particularly. It is chocolate and Joe begins a lifelong love affair with chocolate cake. Jack Sr. has the ballgame on the radio. The Birds are on the road in Boston and Jack spends a few minutes instructing his youngest child on the particulars of the game. He promises to teach him how to bunt as he has done for all his offspring. There are few things more important in Jack’s eyes than the ability to drop down a good bunt when necessary. The Orioles win and in typical Fenway fashion, all runs are scored on home runs. Both are hit by the Robinson’s, a two-run shot by Frank in the third and a three-run shot by Brooks in the fifth.
It’s a sweltering summer Saturday with the temperature reaching 99 degrees and the Kavanagh’s are at the ballpark for a doubleheader. A rain out and a quirk in the schedule have forced back to back doubleheaders against the Minnesota Twins. The Birds took both games Friday night and do the same today. The team is in first place and playing great. The girls cheer for their hometown Orioles and between the two games they are recognized from their Jerry Adair Fan Club days by Boog Powell. Powell broke a bat during batting practice between the two games and retrieves the broken one and hands it to Betty Ann Kavanagh. She is thrilled and Jack quickly takes a look. He’s just as happy when he sees it’s a real Louisville Slugger Boog Powell model bat with a very obvious crack in it.
The Summer is hot and busy on Central Avenue. Some parts are being made for Seagrams Distilling and Carling’s Brewery and a small job is finished for a cleaning service, Classic Cleaning. They need a brass basket to lift the clothes in and out of the hot washer. It must be made from perforated sheet so holes are drilled first then the brass is annealed and bent into a basket shape. It is brass work but also the sort of thing they have done for generations.
The talk of the Shop is baseball as the Orioles roll along in first place and have extended their lead in the standings to a robust thirteen games. The crew led by Jack discuss yesterday’s game which the Birds won 4-0 in Minnesota during today’s afternoon break. The team seems like it can do no wrong. It’s been a hot August day and the men are glad it’s nearly over. A railing was rolled today while some rings are being made for Universal Metal Products and a stainless strainer was finished today for Majestic Distillery.
Betty Ann begins college at Catholic University in DC. She moves on campus with the help of her father and there is one less person living at 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. Nancy, Mary and Jane will continue at Catholic High and Jackie and JoAnn will be joined by Ann at St. Elizabeth’s Elementary School. This will leave Betty alone with just her two boys during the day. The three of them make several trips over to Eddie’s house through the day to take care of him and his house.
The Kavanagh girls are gathered around the television in anticipation of a new show premiering tonight. A science fiction program called Star Trek. The living room is silent as the words, “Space. The final frontier” are spoken and the show starts. It is about a group of people on a ship traveling through space and having weekly adventures. The kids love it, one and all, from Nancy to Baby Joe. Jack is not as interested but he watches too and it reminds him a little of the serial programs he watched on Saturday mornings at the movies when he was a boy, cowboy movies.
The brewers continue to bring work into 201 S. Central Avenue. Today it is National Brewery who needs a beer line repaired. It is made from 3” Copper tube so some patching and soldering will be required. It’s a little tricky so Jack and Charlie Owens attend to this one. They drive over to National and take care of it in a half of a day.
The Orioles game is on the radio in the Shop’s small corner office. As Jack works on a quote for Seagrams he is listening intently. If the Birds win, they clinch the American League Pennant. The Orioles are in Kansas City playing the A’s in an afternoon game. The Orioles are leading 2-1 in the fifth inning when three straight doubles by Russ Snyder, Frank and Brooks Robinson stretch that advantage to 4-1. Jack is on pins and needles as he closes the Shop and rushes to his car to flip on the radio. By the time he is home and listening on the kitchen radio, the Orioles are up 6-1 and the rest is about the young right-handed pitcher, Jim Palmer who goes the distance for the win. The Baltimore Orioles have won the league championship and are going to the World Series for the first time. The Kavanagh’s are ecstatic and Baltimore goes crazy. The biggest difference for the club this year was Frank Robinson. Expectations were high when he joined an already competitive team but Robinson was better than advertised. He will win the Triple Crown in the American League, leading all hitters in batting average, home runs and runs batted in and is awarded the MVP of the AL after the season.
This Sunday is the Colts’ first home game having split two on the road to start the season. They face the San Francisco Forty-Niners and win 36-14. Jack is there with his brother-in-law & his wife, Bumpsy & Shirley Crew. It has become their tradition to go to the first game of the year and maybe one more together. Baltimore sports fans are very loyal and very vocal in their support of their teams. Both the Colts and Orioles play at Memorial Stadium on Thirty-third Street and the only difference is the volume of noise at the games which goes up exponentially for football.
The World Series begins today in Los Angeles as the heavily favored Dodgers host the Orioles. The Shop closes at 4 pm which is game time today. Jack usually leaves around 4:30 after he catches up on some paperwork and makes a phone call or two. Today he lets the boys go a few minutes early and is trying to get out of there to watch the game on television. He finally is shutting the door at 4 pm and he heads down Pratt Street, putting the game on the radio. It’s the top of the first inning. There’s one out and Russ Snyder draws a walk as Jack reaches Patterson Park Avenue. Frank Robinson steps to the plate and drives one out of the park as Jack turns left. He’s driving and whooping and pumping his fist as he reaches the light at the corner of Patterson Park Avenue and Baltimore Street. Before the light can change from red to green, Brooks Robinson has followed up Frank and hit one out as well. Jack is screaming in his car and sees a gentleman opposite him doing the same in his vehicle. They nod and grin as Jack turns right and this fellow moves forward. A few minutes later, Jack is seated in front of the TV watching with his girls and the Birds take game 1 in LA, 5-2. It is a loud living room as the final out is recorded.
Jack is home watching game two. Today he didn’t miss much on the ride home as the game starts off as a serious pitchers’ duel. Dodgers’ ace Sandy Koufax is facing young Jim Palmer of the Orioles and into the fifth inning they are matching each other pitch for pitch. In the fifth, defense becomes a problem for Los Angeles, Inexplicably, Center Fielder Willie Davis commits three errors in the inning which is a World Series record and the Birds put up three runs. Palmer slips into cruise control and dominates the rest of the game. Baltimore wins 6-0 and Palmer becomes the youngest player at nine days shy of 21 years old to ever throw a complete game shut out in the World Series. Suddenly, the Orioles are in the driver’s seat and heading home. The baseball world is set on its ear because very few gave Baltimore much of a chance against the Dodgers. Now up two games to none and with the next three games at home, the Orioles have more than a chance.
It’s a Saturday and the Kavanagh’s are at the ballpark along with 50,000 other Baltimoreans welcoming the Birds home. The family are squeezed into the first row of Memorial Stadium along the third base line as the game begins. Today’s pitchers are Wally Bunker for the Orioles and Claude Osteen for the Dodgers. This one is another nail biter as both hurlers put up zeroes in the first half of the game. In the bottom of the fifth inning, young Center Fielder Paul Blair gets hold of one and belts it out of the park. The fans go insane because the Birds have the lead. Bunker who had not thrown a shut out all year in the regular season does just that today and Baltimore wins it, 1-0. Jack drives the kids home and they are a raucous crowd. He is as excited as they are and there is much cheering and chanting in the car in hopes of one more win.
On this Sunday, Baltimore packs the Memorial Stadium in quest of their first ever World Series title. It is another battle of good pitching with Dave McNally and Don Drysdale facing off. A scoreless game goes into the bottom of the fourth when Frank Robinson, triple crown and MVP winner, steps to the plate. He blasts a mighty shot into the left field bleachers and the crowd goes wild. The Orioles are leading 1-0. The game progresses with no one else scoring. The game remains 1-0 going into the top of the ninth. Jack and his family sit anxiously in a stadium that is quiet as a church. The Dodgers get two men on with one out and are threatening but McNally retires the next two hitters on fly balls. When the final out is caught by Paul Blair in center field, the Orioles have won the World Series. Pandemonium breaks out in the ball park. The crowd goes insane and pours onto the field. Jack gathers his kids and they cheer, hug and cry together in celebration. Jack smiles to see his girls and even Little Jack and Joe hollering for the Birds. Suddenly, he thinks of his father and his father’s father. This would have meant everything to Joe who was a mad fan of baseball and Baltimore. He was a fan of the old NL Orioles but they played before the Series existed. The mass of fans continue to chant and cry for the Birds when Jack begins ushering the kids out of their seats and they head to the parking lot. The kids are singing, cheering and whooping it up on the way home but Jack is strangely quiet. He’s running through all the years of talking baseball he did with his grandfather and the many semi-pro and Negro League games he attended with is father. When they reach Lakewood Avenue, he gets the kids inside and the celebration continues for the family but Jack slips back outside and crosses the street. He opens his father’s door and sees him seated in front of the television.
He approaches him, “They did it, Pop! We won the World Series!”
“I saw it all, Jack. Wow! They sure did. What pitching! I can hardly believe it.” He holds a cigar in one hand and in the other a photograph. He shows it to Jack. It is a picture of Eddie’s father, Joe.
Jack takes it from him, “I was thinking of him, Pop. He would have been crazy thrilled about this. He’d be dancing!”
Eddie’s pale face forms a small grin, “Yeah, he might be, Jack. He would think it’s reason enough for a dance.” Eddie chuckled then puffed on his cigar as Jack examined the photo.
“He would be happy. I know it. A World Series for Baltimore and the Orioles. He would be really happy, Pop.” Jack replied, his gaze fixed on the image of his grandfather.
“Happy huh? I guess he would have been. I always wondered what that would have been like.” Eddie finishes as Jack hands him the picture. Eddie slides it into a drawer of the table next to him.
“I know the feeling.” Jack says, then encourages Eddie to get ready so they can walk over to dinner together.
Baltimore awakens from a World Series victory hangover. A wild party in the streets was held last night with fans toasting the team and drinking cocktails in the street while chanting and singing, “Birds! Birds! Birds!” Despite the wild party the night before, it’s a blissful morning because the Baltimore Orioles are champions. Jack himself stayed up a little late and had a few beers and a couple of glasses of rye with his father Eddie. Still, Jack wakes up on time and drives to work with a very big grin on his face. He knows no matter what, today will be a good day.
While the City and the Kavanagh’s are still in celebration of the Orioles World Series victory, there is a big announcement in the world of football today. The rival leagues, the AFL and NFL will merge and they will hold a championship bowl game between the two winners of each league. The game will be played in January and will be called the Super Bowl. Jack is not too surprised. The AFL has made great strides in matching with the older NFL and now he looks forward to this Super Bowl. The two best of the two leagues? It should be a good game and he’s hopeful the Colts might represent the NFL but they fall a little short this year. They will finish with a 9-5 record, three games behind the Green Bay Packers in the NFL Western Conference. The Packers will go on to win the NFL Championship and go to that first Super Bowl in January.
A replacement coil is made and installed at Joseph Seagrams Distilling by the Joseph Kavanagh Company today. It is a complicated fix with many trips to and from the distillery. Jack makes a point of recording the trips and details as closely as possible, in case there is a problem and also to document this job as well as possible. He knows they have been receiving regular repairs for Seagrams and this information could simplify another repair order or even solve a future problem for another customer. He has Julie record his notes in great detail this time including some hours on Thanksgiving for Jack’s brother Ed.
An old copper jacketed kettle is brought into the Shop for repairs. This could have been something they made 25-30 years ago but it looks even older. The customer, Chemical Service of Baltimore uses it to distill alcohol but only for industrial chemical purposes The kettle has worked fine and in lieu of buying a new one, they ask the Shop to fix it up. Funke handles this one in less than two days with the majority of the work being re-soldering of seams.
The annual Joseph Kavanagh Company Christmas Eve Party is held today. Jack and Betty have decided to not bring the children to the Shop today. It has become more of a party for the crew and Jack is fine with that. It simplifies things for him, and Betty and the kids stay home preparing for Santa. He gets a platter from Weiss Deli on corn beef row and two cases of National beer and one bottle of rye. The gents eat and toast the year and the Orioles of course. Jack is quick to make the first toast to the Birds. The Kavanagh’s have rooted for the Orioles for four generations, all the way back to Jack’s grandfather Joe who was a big fan of the original National League Orioles and up to Jack’s kids who are a fans of the present team. The old NL Orioles went to the league’s championship series, called the Temple Cup, each of the four years it was held, winning two. This was in the mid 1890s and pre-dated the World Series. Even after the MLB Orioles were folded, the City and the family were fans of the International League Orioles, a minor league team. When the St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore in 1954, the family were very excited and became fans on day one. All those years of loyalty and support of the black and orange are well worth it. Jack can’t help thinking of his grandfather and his grandfather’s brothers and how they would feel about this team and this season. Jack’s very glad he could share it with his father and more importantly with his kids. The Christmas party breaks up after about two hours of revelry. Each man is given his pay and a turkey to take home. Jack drives two fellows over to West Baltimore. One he takes home, the other he drops on a bus stop as his ride is a little longer. He makes the ride back along Pratt Street through downtown and toward Patterson Park. His mind is on the holiday and his kids. He and Betty get just as excited as the children at the prospect of Christmas Day. When ht gets home they must get ready for mass at St. Elizabeth’s then the kids will be off to bed and Jack will do his impression of jolly old St. Nick.
Lyndon Johnson is the President of the United States. The number of American soldiers in Vietnam increases to 385,000 by the end of the year. 6,000 Americans die in the conflict this year with an additional 30,000 wounded. Protests against the Vietnam War spread through out the country particularly on college campuses. The National Organization for Women is founded. Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas opens. Ken Kesey holds the first “Acid Test” at the Fillmore in San Francisco. Jacqueline Susann’s “Valley of the Dolls” is published. The films “Thunderball” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” are released. Batman premiers on ABC-TV and the Grinch Steals Christmas. Janet Jackson, Mike Tyson, Halle Berry, Greg Maddux and John Cusack are born. Buster Keaton, Lenny Bruce and Walt Disney die.
There are 50 states in the Union.
To read earlier years, click on the Table of Contents link below: