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• Clifford Irving, who went from being famous to being infamous when his early 1970s “:authorized biography” of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes was proven to be an elaborate hoax that ended with him going to jail, has passed away of pancreatic cancer. He was 87.

• The New York Times has an obituary about a noteworthy person I’d never heard of…

“Mamie Johnson, one of a handful of women to play in baseball’s Negro leagues in the early 1950s — and the only one known to pitch — died on Monday in a Washington hospital. She was 82.”

The Times obit notes that “Johnson, who stood about 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighed about 120 pounds during her playing days — hence the nickname Peanut — was initially signed largely as a novelty.”

But she was really good during her career with the Indianapolis Clowns. The Times writes:

“A deceptively hard-throwing right-hander, she threw a fastball, slider, circle change, screwball and curveball, for which she received pointers from the Negro leagues great Satchel Paige, she told The New York Times in 2010.

“Statistics from the Negro leagues in those years are spotty at best, but her record with the Clowns was said to be an impressive 33-8 during her three years on the team.”

And here’s a bit of trivia. In the late 1940s, Johnson wanted to try out for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which was portrayed in the film, A League of Their Own. But she wasn’t allowed to, because she wasn’t white.
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