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Letters: Remote Control Inventor And Baseballs


It's time now for your letters. Yesterday, we remembered Eugene Polley, the inventor of the first wireless remote control. He died last weekend at the age of 96. Polley earned 18 U.S. patents in his long career at what was then the Zenith Radio Corporation in Chicago.

JOHN TAYLOR: But he will always be best known as the father of the couch potato.

SIEGEL: That's John Taylor, a spokesman for what is now Zenith Electronics and its parent company, LG Electronics.


Peter Guess(ph) of Little Rock appreciated our remembrance of Polley, but respectfully disagrees that Polley invented the remote control. Guess writes, that honor belongs to my dad and perhaps thousands of fathers everywhere. Son, get up and change the channel. Son, turn up the volume. Looking back, that was excellent training for graduate school. When I suggested to my thesis research advisor that we invest in an auto sampler for the gas chromatograph, he simply looked at me and replied, then why would we need graduate students?

SIEGEL: Also yesterday, we learned a new meaning to the phrase, caught red-handed.

CALEB LLOYD: I finally just reached out my hand and I caught it bare-handed and it hurt really bad and I was just in shock the entire time.

SIEGEL: That's Caleb Lloyd, a 20-year-old Cincinnati Reds fan, talking about catching the first of two consecutive home run balls at Monday night's game against the Atlanta Braves.

Well, Richard Di Clementi(ph) of Boca Raton, Florida sees Mr. Lloyd's two baseballs and raises him two more. He writes this: Monday night in Marlin Stadium in Miami, my 10-year-old son was lucky enough to get four baseballs thrown to him by the Colorado Rockies in the course of the game. He walked away with a big smile on his face.

CORNISH: Chicago Cubs fan Mark Rosenbaum(ph) of Evanston, Illinois also caught two foul balls at Wrigley Field and gave both away to kids, but he writes, no one interviewed me and I got bupkiss from NPR. So what makes that guy special? Are you prejudiced against the Cubs? We should note, he follows that last line with a smiling emoticon.

SIEGEL: Finally, our story reminded Mathew Perry(ph) in Syracuse, New York of someone who could have used a bit of Caleb Lloyd's good fortune back in the day and whose story gives new meaning to the phrase, adding insult to injury. In 1957, Philadelphia Phillies center fielder, Richie Ashburn, hit Phillies fan Alice Roth twice when he was at bat.

Perry writes this: The first broke her nose and the second hit her again as she was being carted off in a stretcher. Though not as lucky as Caleb Lloyd, she will forever have a part in Phillies lore. Thanks for your reporting. Keep the hits coming.

CORNISH: We'll try, Mr. Perry, and hopefully not at anyone's face. Please, keep your letters coming. Just go to NPR.org and click on Contact Us.

SIEGEL: And Mark Rosenbaum, smiling emoticon right back at you.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: One, two, three. (Singing) Take me out to the ballgame. Take me out to the park. Buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks. I don't care if I never get back, but we'll root, root, root for the Cubbies. It's one, two, three strikes, you're out at the old ballgame. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.