The Most Hated Winner in Football: Al Davis

By Leonard Shecter Look November 18, 1969 The day in 1966 when AI Davis, who now runs the Oakland Raiders with a small, iron fist, was appointed commissioner of the American Football League, he leaned over the shoulder of the young publicist who was typing the...

The Toughest Man in Pro Football

By Leonard Shecter Esquire January 1968 One of the favorite things of Vince Lombardi, coach, general manager and spiritual leader of the world-champion Green Bay Packers, is the grass drill. He lets an assistant coach lead the bending and stretching exercises, the...

Grateful Dead I Have Known

By Ed McClanahan From My Vita, If You Will 1998 If you’ve got it all together, what’s that all around it? —Inscribed on my bathroom wall by Ken Kesey, who attributed it Brother Dave Gardner A bright Sunday afternoon in August 1971, just one week after Bill Graham...

The Writer as Football Hero

By George Plimpton From Paper Lion 1966 Jack Benny used to say that when he stood on the stage in white tie and tails for his violin concerts and raised his bow to begin his routine—scraping through “Love in Bloom”—he felt like a great violinist. He reasoned that, if...

The Love Ethic on 125th Street

By Joe Flaherty The Village Voice April 11, 1968 In times of national tragedy the barometer of the mood of the people can best be researched in saloons and cathedrals. Being more comfortable in the former, Friday afternoon I stopped into a pub in the Wall Street area....

Something to Do with Heroes

By Larry Merchant From Ringside Seat at the Circus 1976 Paul Simon, the Simon of Simon and Garfunkel, was invited to Yankee Stadium yesterday to throw out the first ball, to see a ballgame, to revisit his childhood fantasy land, to show the youth of America that...

The Mongoose

By Jack Murphy The New Yorker 1961 Archibald Lee Moore, the light-heavyweight boxing champion of the world, is 44 years of age by his own account and 47 by his mother’s. She says that he was born on December 13, 1913, in Benoit, Mississippi, but he insists that the...

Lenny

By Seymour Krim Nugget June 1963 We come, with mixed feelings, to the Case of Lenny Bruce. You probably have an opinion—who doesn’t?—but sit still long enough to hear ours. First, so that no matter how finky you finally think our stand is, let it be triple-clear that...

The Longest Day of Sugar Ray

By Dave Anderson True 1964 The great ones never lose their style. Even today Joe DiMaggio swings the bat majestically in the Old Timers games. Sammy Baugh can show a rookie quarterback how to lead a receiver slanting across the middle. Put Eddie Arcaro up on a...

The Gookie

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader The origins of “The Gookie,” from one of the great showbiz memoirs, Harpo Speaks! The man who first inspired me to become an actor was a guy called Gookie. Gookie had nothing to do with the theatre. He rolled cigars in the window of a...

The Champ and the Chump

By Murray Kempton The New Republic March 7, 1964 Just before the bell for the seventh round, Cassius Clay got up to go about his job. Suddenly, he thrust his arms straight up in the air in the signal with which boxers are accustomed to treat victory and you laughed at...

Once There was Elation

By Vince Lombardi with W.C. Heinz From Run to Daylight! 1964 3:15 A.M. I have been asleep for three hours and, suddenly, I am awake. I am wide awake, and that’s the trouble with this game. Just twelve hours ago I walked off that field, and we had beaten the Bears...