Back in 2018, when the Earth was young and so were we, we wrote a story in the Gloucester Daily Times about Polaris, the 38-foot replica of a 1,000-year-old Viking ship, that had been hauled across country from Anacortes, Washington, to its new home on Cape Ann.
Its first stop was the Essex Shipbuilding Museum, where some final details were addressed. Then it sailed over to Maritime Gloucester, where it was berthed, to begin offering short public rowing trips, charters and corporate team-building outings out of Gloucester Harbor.
With its strikingly elevated and curved bow and stern lines, Polaris is a sight to behold. It has a white oak frame and yellow cedar planing and can accommodate 14-foot long oars. It also has a small, square sail.
We have heard, from folks who have sailed her, that she is a blast on the water. And now you can find out for yourself.
Norsvald, the company that operates the boat, is looking for new, part-time, paid crew members and skippers in both Salem and Gloucester — the two ports its sails from. Crew members must be at least 17 years old and be able to pass a drug test. Prospective skippers must have a US Coast Guard Masters license.
Interested? Well, you should be. Think of the great head gear. You can be like Fran Tarkington on the high seas. More information is available at norsvald.com.
Row Jimmy, row
Speaking of the the Essex Shipbuilding Museum, the institution has some treats on its events calendar that look like they might be worth your consideration.
In September, the museum will kick off a new program — The Great Rowing Adventure.
The overnight program is the first rowing collaboration between the shipbuilding museum and Lowell’s Boat Shop in Amesbury. Participants will row from Plum Island to Essex, beginning on Sept. 12 and culminating the next day, sandwiched around overnight camping at the Pine Grove on the Crane Estate. More info is on the museum’s website, www.essexshipbuilding.org
And if you’re looking for something to celebrate on Friday night, you might want to check out the museum’s Greenheads Gone party, set for 6 to 8 p.m., to “celebrate the departure of the menace from the marsh.” The family-friendly event will include a cookout with burgers and hot dogs, as well as a cash bar. And insect repellent just in case one or two greenhead stragglers remain.
Again, more info on the museum website.
Oh, the shark, babe, has such teeth, dear
Hey, new news. With all the hubbub over sharks infecting our waters, you may be pleased — though we doubt it — to know that there are even more species of sharks than we thought.
According to a story in the Orlando Sentinel, researchers have discovered a new species of pocket shark. And kudos to them on that because, according to NOAA researcher Mark Grace, “In the history of science, only two pocket sharks have ever been captured or reported.”
Wondering if they knew each other? Us too. But probably not, since the two are separate species from different oceans.
“Both are exceedingly rare,” Grace said.
But wait. There’s more. The sharks apparently have pockets on each side of its gills that produce a luminous fluid that allows them to glow in the dark. Nice. A swimming nightlight.
The good news: The most recently caught pocket shark — hauled from the Gulf of Mexico a decade ago and identified more recently as the American Pocket Shark, or Mollisquama Mississippiensis — is a mere 5½ inches long and probably wouldn’t do too much damage if you come across one.
Back in another lifetime, when we toiled in the vineyards of baseball, we covered the Red Sox for the Hartford Courant and our very first manager was the great Joe Morgan. There are too many terrific stories to even begin to recount them. But trust us, he was special.
Joe would never get hired today as a manager because he was the type of instinctual skipper — many writers were convinced he possessed some form of ESP — that makes the analytics crowd break out in boils.
He also was unerringly honest to the writers who covered the club and bluntly so to the players in his clubhouse. The former appreciated it. Many of the latter most certainly did not.
So, last week we needed to look up something about the St. Louis Cardinals that won the 1964 World Series because, well, we just did. Lo and behold, our research uncovered two things we did not know about Joe:
He played in three games with the Cardinals at the end of the ‘64 regular season, all in pinch-hitting roles. And his major league debut in 1959 was as a pinch-hitter for Hall of Fame pitcher Warren Spahn. Who knew?
On Sept. 12, 1964, St. Louis manager Johnny Keane sent Morgan up to hit for infielder Dal Maxvill against Cubs pitcher Bob Buhl. Morgan struck out. On Sept. 20, he pinch hit for pitcher Barney Schultz against Reds pitcher Sammy Ellis and struck out.
His last at-bat as a Cardinal came on Oct. 3 against the Mets in the next-to-last game of the season. He pinch hit for Bob Humphries against the Mets’ Dennis Ribant and hit into a 4-6 force at second base.
Joe didn’t make the Cards’ World Series roster. And though he remained in the Cardinals organization for another two years, and spent his last campaign in the Pirates farm system, that was Joe’s last major league at-bat. He was 33.
And that brings us the second uncovered gem: Joe’s major league debut came on April 14, 1959, when he played for the Milwaukee Braves and pinch hit for Spahn.
In the bottom of the ninth, the score knotted at 3, Milwaukee manager Fred Haney sent Joe up to the plate in place of Spahn against Phillies reliever Turk Farrell. It was a Bay State battle. Joe was from Walpole, Farrell from Brookline. Joe dropped down a sacrifice bunt (hey, remember those!) that moved Mickey Vernon to second base.
Joe will turn 89 in November. He still lives in Walpole and still is listed in the phone book, just as he was the entire time he managed the Sox. You literally could call him up and bitch about the bullpen.
As always, no fish were harmed in the making of this column.
Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanGDT.