The Tampa Bay Rays opened their 2008 run to the American League Pennant by selecting Walter Lee “Dirk” Gibbons with their first pick in the draft. Even for an organization with a reputation for smart draft picks, this one proved exceptional, if somewhat belated. “Dirk” Gibbons, after all, had long since seen his fastball velocity decline, and the break in his curve ball dwindle. Then 79, his playing days were long past. He and his Tampa Rockets’ teammates were pioneers however and the Rays, by selecting him first in the Negro Leagues Draft, honored the legacy of the Florida State Negro Leagues in Tampa Bay’s baseball history
In 1947, the United States was still regaining its peacetime balance following the most devastating war in the history of the world. However, there was a nervous sense of optimism that the enormous domestic postwar demand for consumer goods would continue to drive the bullish economy. But what if it didn't, some asked? What if the economy failed? Wasn't it the war that got us out of the great depression? Now that the war is over, what guarantees are there that we will not slip back into the shape we were in? Could there be another depression, more days of 20% unemployment? And what if there is another War? War was a genuine concern as news of an atomic bomb being tested in the Soviet Union was revealed, and China fell to Mao's communist hordes. The Red Scare became rampant, and America's response to such threats, perceived or otherwise, did little to ease its citizen's apprehensions. Harry Truman delivered a doctrine that promised to fight communism wherever it rose, whether in Western Europe, the Middle East, or Asia. This stance proved costly, ultimately hurting the economy and fueling a period historians dubbed the "Age of Anxiety."