1973 The Designated Batter

January 14

Jack watches the Super Bowl from his home at 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. The Colts had a rough year and were not in the playoffs but nearby Washington DC is represented. The Redskins are NFC champions but lose the Super Bowl to the Miami Dolphins. Miami takes the championship and finishes undefeated on the season. The first and only team to ever do so.

Joe (GI) Kavanagh and cousin Manuel Crew. New Year’s Eve 1972.

January 15

All American offensive maneuvers in Vietnam are suspended by President Nixon indicating that progress is being made in the peace talks.

January 22

Jack and most of Baltimore are a little sad today. He sits in his small corner office reading the paper and  learns that Johnny Unitas has been traded to the San Diego Chargers for future considerations. Unitas’ career is winding down and the end seems near at hand after last season. This closes a door on a part of the Baltimore Colts history. Jack will miss Johnny U who was a great passer and a great leader on the field but most of all, Jack would say he was a winner. Unitas knew how to win. Jack folds the paper up and walks out into the Shop. They have some but not a lot of work to start the year and all of Jack’s crew of eight are busily working on jobs.

Joseph Kavanagh Co. promotional coffee cup. 1970s.

January 27

All American involvement in the war between North and South Vietnam ends. The country rejoices and now waits for the last of its soldiers to come home.

February 6

A mix of flat bars and angles are rolled for Lambert Fabricators today. Bill Schmidt, Jerry Purnell and Eddie Buckingham work on this job. Templates are cut to the desired radius,  then the flat bars are rolled in the R-3 while the angles are rolled in the R-5. The Roundos are working out very well for Jack. They are used nearly every day at the Shop. The rolling and bending work has grown nearly as fast as the brewery and distillery work has diminished. The alcohol industry in the Baltimore area is waning as more companies cut back operations, move west or go out of business. Fortunately, word has spread in the metals industry of the Kavanagh’s capabilities for bending and rolling.

The Shop’s job book entry. Lambert Fabricators job. February 6, 1973.

March 14

The Shop completes an order for the J.C. Pardo Company. Pardo makes equipment for the food service industry and nearly all of their work is in stainless steel. This job has some 1” Pipes that are bent in the Pines Bender by Eddie Buckingham and some flat bars rolled in the R-5 by Jerry Purnell and a young helper named Forest Glenn.

The Shop’s job book entry. J. C. Pardo job. March 14, 1973.

March 18

On a chilly Sunday evening, Jack and Betty are seated in the living room with their sons Jack Jr. and Joe sprawled across the floor preparing to watch MASH, a new comedy that takes place during the Korean War. Before it starts Jack speaks to his boys.

“So this year, the American League has changed the rules. The pitcher doesn’t have to bat, right? That’s the idea of this Designated Hitter?” Jack prods his sons.

Little Jack answers immediately. “Yeah, Dad. Another hitter will take his at-bats. The pitcher can focus on being a pitcher. It makes sense to me.”

Jack rolls his eyes. “Not to me. He’s still a ballplayer isn’t he?”

“But Dad, won’t it be more fun to see a real hitter up there than an automatic out? They might hit a home run or something.” Joe chimes in looking from his brother to his father.

Jack leans forward as the end credits run for the New Dick Van Dyke Show. “It doesn’t make it more fun. It’s just easier on the pitchers. This seems crazy to me. Your grandfather would hate it. I can tell you that. Part of their job is to be a player. They field don’t they? Shouldn’t they bat?”

Betty hushes Jack and the boys as “Suicide is Painless,” the theme to MASH begins playing and Jack Jr. lowers his reply. “It’s one batter, Dad. Most bottom of the lineup innings are scoreless with the pitcher in the middle of it. It should liven up the game.”

“The game don’t need livening up.” Jack’s head spins to his left as Betty shushes them again then continues in a softer tone. “Pitchers are ball players. Part of the job is hitting.”

“Nobody comes to see Jim Palmer hit, Dad.” Joe speaks up and is silenced by a look from his mother.

“Will you three be quiet? I thought we were watching this. Of course the TV is on so everybody has to talk.” She shakes her head at the three of them. “Oh my. Patience is a virtue.” The room falls very silent but for the opening quips of Hawkeye Pierce and Trapper John MacEntyre.

Quickly and quietly and only in the direction of his sons Jack whispers, “Babe Ruth was a pitcher. They came to see him hit.”

1973 Baltimore Orioles Yearbook.
Jack Jr., Joe(GI) and Betty Kavanagh. Mid 1970s.

April 6

Jack, Betty, JoAnn, Ann, Jack and Joe are sitting in the first row on the third base side of Memorial Stadium. It’s opening day in Baltimore and the season starts off with a bang. Brooks hits two home runs and Don Baylor goes four for four and the Birds crush the Milwaukee Brewers 10-0 on a chilly Friday afternoon. Baylor misses hitting for the cycle by a single. He finishes the day with two doubles, a triple and a hone run. Dave McNally is masterful allowing only three hits and Terry Crowley is the Orioles’ first Designated Hitter and contributes two hits of his own. All in all, Jack is very happy he snuck out of the Shop a little early today.

Baltimore Orioles Outfielder Don Baylor. 1973 Baltimore Orioles Yearbook.
Ann, Jack & Joe Lakewood Ave yard
Ann, Jack Jr. and Joe(GI) Kavanagh. Early 1970s. Backyard of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue facing Jefferson Street.

April 18

A set of 1” O.D. tubes are bent for Products Support Inc. PSI makes a variety of machines and they require a tight tolerance on most of their work. Jack rolls these himself with Bill Schimdt on the R-3. The customer furnishes a drawing and a wood layout is made from it by Jack then the tubes are rolled to a 17 7/8” Rad. The fixture is marked with Products Supports’ Part Number and saved for future orders.

The Shop’s job book entry. Products Support, Inc. job. April 18, 1973.

May 14

National Wire Products has ordered a group of pipes to be bent. This job is recurring and the Shop seems to get an order for these pipes three or four times a year. It’s a good job and with the development part completed, it’s just a matter of duplicating what they did before. The pipes are bent in the Pines Bender and a few different fellows get time on it.

The Shop’s job book entry. National Wire Products job. May 14, 1973.

May 17

Senate hearings on the Watergate investigation begin to be televised. Jack works through the day so he doesn’t get much chance to watch but he does follow closely. This scandal seems to be getting bigger and bigger. Jack can’t help but wonder how far up it will go. Will it lead to the White House?

Joe(GI) Kavanagh celebrating his 8th birhtday at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor. Golden Ring Mall. June 1973.

June 11

The summer has been hot and busy to start and the crew are working Saturdays. Today two 6” Extra Heavy Pipes (Sch. 80) are finished. The pipes were filled and rolled and finally are melted out today for sizing. Jack would love to be able to bend these larger pipes without filling them but even the R-5 can not roll them down fast enough to avoid crushing the pipe. He loves both of these Roundo Rollers and he thinks to himself some day he may buy an even bigger version. For now, they will make do but the fill and rolling is tough to make money on. It’s necessary for the job sometimes but he would love to find ways to avoid it.

The Shop’s job book entry. Natkin & Company job. June 11, 1973.

June 14

It’s Flag Day across the Baltimore area and all of America. In Glen Burnie in Baltimore County, a young couple has more than the holiday to celebrate. Anthony and Linda Dalfonzo welcome their second child, a girl, to their family. They have a son, Paul and this new baby is named Kimberly Lynn. They live on Glenn Road in a small one story house and are very happy to bring this new member of the family home. The baby by coincidence is baptized by the same priest who christened Joe Kavanagh, and by more than coincidence, in a little over twenty years, she will become Joe’s wife.

Kim and Paul Dalfonzo. 1973.

July 4

The Kavanagh’s celebrate Independence Day on this Wednesday. They hold their traditional crab feast on the corner of Lakewood and Jefferson. The crabs along with steamed shrimp this year are consumed at the long dining room table around noon. The older girls spend the day with their friends in the neighborhood while Jack Jr. and Joe sit listening to the Orioles game on the radio. They each keep score as they listen with their father still at the table: the last Kavanagh left eating crabs. The Birds are down 5-0 to the Brewers in the bottom of the 6th inning. Designated Hitter Tommy Davis steps to the plate. So far he is 0 for 2 on the day.

“Boys! Boys! Change Davis from DH to DB in the score book. He’s a Designated Batter not Hitter. I can’t remember the last time he got a hit. He ain’t no Designated HITTER.” Jack teases his sons and breaks into loud laughter.

Chuck Thompson’s voice on the radio interrupts him. “Davis sends a frozen rope to right field for a single.” Both Little Jack and Joe grin widely as they write single in their score cards.

“All right. All right. I see you both. You think that’s funny huh? I’m glad he got a hit but it don’t make me wrong.” Jack’s grin matches the boys. “Probably a little too late for us today anyway.” Jack is wrong. The Orioles put up three runs this inning and seven more in the next two frames. They comeback big for a 10-7 win. Designated Batter indeed.

Baltimore Oriole Tommy Davis signed baseball.

July 19

The Shop is full of work in the buildup to their summer shut down. Jack has made it an annual tradition of having a weeklong vacation for the crew in early August. He keeps his customers aware of the impending break so the weeks before are usually busy ones. Today some custom fittings are made for Schaefer Brewery, a set of tubes are bent for Universal Metals and a 4” Pipe is rolled for the Chevron Asphalt company. The pipe is bent to 90 deg on a wide enough radius to allow asphalt to blow out at a high rate. These large sweep elbows as they are called are becoming part of the Shop’s regular work.

The Shop’s job book entry. Chevron Asphalt Co. job. July 19, 1973.

August 12

The Kavanagh’s spend a fun week at the beach in Ocean City, Maryland. They fish, crab, swim and spend each night on the boardwalk visiting the arcades and playing games. A great week is had by all with the only disappointment being Joe’s. The latest James Bond movie is playing at the Surf and Sand theater and JoAnn, Ann and Jack go to see it. Betty deems Joe too young at eight years of age. To his chagrin, he isn’t allowed to go. Jack and Betty make a special trip to Bailey’s Drug Store to buy him several comics to salve the wound of being excluded. Joe loves his comic books. It does the trick but he never forgets that first time he was too little to go with his older siblings. Apart from that, the week flies by for everyone and before they know it, they are driving that slow long drive on Route 50 back to Baltimore.

Dad, JoAnn and Joe. Fishing in OC. 1973.
JoAnn, Jack Sr. and Joe Kavanagh. Fishing in Ocean City. 1973.
Crab Trap OC
Kavanagh Crab Trap. Ocean City. 1973.
JoAnn and Joe Fishing in OC. 1973
Joe and JoAnn Kavanagh. Fishing in Ocean City. 1973.
Jack Kavanagh Jr. Fishing in Ocean City. Early 1970s.

August 17

The crew have been toiling hard since their return from vacation. The work has piled up awaiting their return but it is always worth it for that week’s break in the summer heat. Two orders are completed for Leary Manufacturing. Both are sets of steel “C” Channels that are rolled in the R-5. Jack has had John Benser, his machinist, continue to make new tools for the angle rollers. Even different flat rollers can be used for a variety of setups. The more they have. The more they can do. That’s what Jack wants.

The Shop’s job book entry. Two Leary Manufacturing jobs. August 15 and 17, 1973.

September 7

Jack gets a call from Bill DeFazio at L & S Welding. The Shop is rolling two tubes for them and Mr. DeFazio is looking for an update. Jack tells him they can pick up today at 2 PM. DeFazio retorts they need them before lunch and Jack chuckles and says they should have ordered them a day earlier. Both laugh, Jack knows his customer and DeFazio is one who, if he seems to be pushing,  just needs to be pushed back. He respects it and they often kid each other in this way but they become good work friends. Jack is “work friends” with quite a few of his customers. His nature is one that makes people trust him and he them.

The Shop’s job book entry. L & S Welding job. September 7, 1973.

September 12

Jack is excited to be finishing a rush job today. The head of maintenance at Memorial Stadium has called and they needed a section of curved fence replaced as quickly as possible. Jack is happy for the work but the idea of doing some work for the Orioles and Colts is a thrill for him. He has the pipe rolled the minute it comes through the door and it is picked up in a few hours. After speaking to Jack, the maintenance chief realizes he’s a big Orioles fan and surprises Jack with a gift. A few days after the fence is repaired, he has the team sign a bullpen stool and sends it over to Jack. Lifelong Orioles fan that he is, Jack cannot believe this thing. Brooks, Palmer, Cuellar, McNally, Weaver and the rest of the players are all on there. Jack loves it and he can’t wait to take it home and show it to Betty and the kids.

Memorial Stadium bullpen stool signed by entire 1973 Baltimore Orioles team.

September 23

Jack spends a Sunday at Memorial Stadium watching the Colts open up their season against the New York Jets. It’s strange to see the Colts play without Johnny Unitas on the field. Unitas’ departure is indicative of the changes the Colts are going through. They lose today, 34-10 and will suffer though a long tough 4-10 season.

October 3

Jack’s crew are working busily on their usual mix of bent pipes, rolled steel and parts for the remaining brewery customers. They have cut out Saturday hours as the work is not at the summer level but it’s still quite good and steady. Today a cabinet company has ordered some rings from 3/4” O.D. steel tube. The customer is the JK Cabinet Company and the rings are knocked out very quickly. Jack observes his men as he passes from Shop to office and back. He knows he has a good group of workers and that can make all the difference. It did for his father. He remembers those fellows well though only Charlie Owens is left of that old coppersmith crew.

The Shop’s job book entry. J. K. Cabinet Company job. October 3, 1973.

October 10

Vice-President and former Maryland Governor Spiro Agnew resigns due to charge of tax evasion. He pleads no contest is fined and put on probation. Michigan Representative Gerald Ford will be nominated to take Agnew’s place as Vice President.

October 11

The Orioles face the Oakland A’s in the ALCS. The Kavanagh’s are at Memorial Stadium for games 1 and 2. They cheer and root as hard as they can then watch from home for the rest of the series. The games from Oakland begin at 3:30 pm Eastern Standard Time and the kids rush home to watch. Jack tries to do the same but invariably misses the first inning or two. He shoots from back door to living room at a much faster pace than usual,  plopping down in his chair his eyes taking in the game on the TV as if he was studying it to memorize the situation. For the first time, the Birds lose the American League Championship Series. Pitching wins the day in this series as both teams only manage fifteen runs in five games. In the final game, Oakland ace pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter shuts out the Orioles and they lose 3-0. So the Orioles are sent home packing and it’s an abrupt end to the year but it was a good one for baseball in Baltimore. Jack again tells the kids, the Birds did well and there is always next year.

1973 American League Chanmpionship Series Souvenir Program.

October 21

The Oakland A’s repeat as World Series Champions defeating the New York Met 4 games to 3. The A’s are the first team to win two championships in a row since the 1961-62 New York Yankees. This World Series is the first with all weekday games played at night. This made it easier to increase the coveted television audience. Jack tunes in each night and pulls for the A’s. Jack’s an American League guy and even though the A’s beat the Birds, he wants the AL to win it all. This is also the last World Series where each team produced their own souvenir programs. Henceforth, MLB will design and sell the programs to be used in both parks. They will have the same content inside and the same cover.

Baltimore Orioles 1973 Souvenir baseball.

November 17

Jack like most Americans is following the Watergate Investigation closely. In a nationwide televised press conference from Disney World in Florida, President Nixon declares his innocence boasting, “I am not a crook.”

November 24

It’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving and the Kavanagh’s visit Aunt Anna at the Visitation Convent. Her name in the order is Sister Mary Agnes and she is Jack’s father’s sister. The family visits her throughout the year but always makes a point of it during the holidays. She teaches at the Visitation school and is a talented piano player like so many Kavanagh’s. She tells them about her students and asks about the kids and the Shop. It’s a pleasant visit as always and the family promises to see Aunt Anna again before Christmas.

Sr. Mary Agnes(Aunt Anna Kavanagh) with the Visiatation’s Mother Superior. Visitation Convent. Early 1970s.

November 28

An order for some steel rings for Codd Fabricators is completed today from angles and flat bars. Codd is one of their oldest customers; the Shop having done work for them since the early 1900s. Their building is on Aliceanna Street about five minutes from the Joseph Kavanagh Company. Pete Kolb runs the place and sends any material up to the Kavanagh’s so any work is labor only. Jack likes that as he never has to put money out for material but mostly he likes working for Codd because of Pete Kolb. He is another of Jack’s close “work friends” and the two companies work well together.  Codd seems to have at least one or two jobs for Jack every month, sometimes every week.

The Shop’s job book entry. Codd Fabricators job. Novembrer 28, 1973.

December 25

It’s Christmas Day at the corner of Lakewood and Jefferson. The family attended midnight Mass last night and had Christmas with Betty’s mother and her family the day before yesterday on Sunday. Today is spent enjoying family, food & opening presents. The kids begin playing with their toys immediately and the house is full of the revving of small motorcycle toys. Both Jack and Joe received the Evel Knievel action figure which comes with a motorcycle that when you can rev the engine it takes off across the floor. The boys are thrilled and the house at 447 N. Lakewood Avenue is full of sound and merriment throughout the day. Later as he does each year, Jack sits at the piano and plays. His children gather around and sing to celebrate the holiday and another good year. Betty sits quietly sipping tea on the couch observing the party around her. Betty would join in the songs occasionally but she preferred to watch and listen: to see the family that she and Jack have and to take in every bit of their shared love and happiness. For Jack’s part, he loves this part of the day. He loves the feel of the ivory keys on his hands and the sounds of his children’s voices. He’s content because the Shop continues to do well despite the decrease in brewery and distillery work and despite inflation which is hitting the US hard. The Shop is busy and that’s what matters. Jack is curious how things will shake out for Nixon. Gerald Ford has been confirmed as Vice-President but that is secondary to the concerns for Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate break-in and cover up. More accusations are being made nearly weekly and the targets of these accusations are getting closer and closer to the White House. Jack has never seen anything like this and he wonders where it will end. Nixon is a beleaguered president now with many in the press and many Americans believing he is involved. The question seems to be:  how involved?

Christmas tree on Lakewood Avenue. Mid 1970s.



Richard Nixon is the President of the United States. The Roe vs. Wade ruling on legalizing abortion is handed down.  George Steinbrenner buys the New York Yankees from CBS. Elvis Presley’s concert in Hawaii becomes the first worldwide broadcast of a musical show. The cellphone and Hip Hop music are invented.  The Sears Tower and the World Trade Center are both finished. FedEx opens for business. Skylab is launched. The DEA is founded. Secretariat wins the Triple Crown. Billie Jean King defeats Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes in tennis. The films “The Exorcist,” “The Sting,” “American Graffitti” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” are released. Neil Patrick Harris, Dave Chappele, Seth McFarland, David Blaine and Monica Seles are born. Lyndon Baines Johnson, Bruce Lee, Jim Croce and Bobby Darin die.

There are 50 states in the Union.

Kim Dalfonzo. 1974.

To read prior years, click on the Table of Contents link below:

Table of Contents

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