The Wonderful One-Pitch Mo

By Kevin Baker, Bronx Banter, May 5, 2012 With apologies to “The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table” by Oliver Wendell Holmes. Have you heard of the Mar-i-ano, Who such a wonderful pitch did throw He ran up six hundred saves and then some, And then of a sudden it — ah,...

Comedy is Not Pretty

By Ivan Solotaroff, The Stacks, November 11, 2013 Charlie Barnett was pivotal in getting started as a full-time journalist. I spent close to six months—a late fall, entire winter, and early spring—watching him and getting to know his story—not only his crack...

No Regrets: A Hard-Boiled Life

By John Schulian MSN.com, December 3 2001 The train to glory left without James Crumley, who seems to have been too busy examining life’s gnarly side to bother catching it. There are no best-sellers for him, no money-bloated deals with Hollywood—just hard-boiled...

Opening Day at Fenway

By George Kimball The Boston Phoenix, April 1971 Years ago—only a few years ago, actually, but still years before the miracle year of 1967 and years before it became chic to root for the Red Sox—the centerfield bleachers at Fenway were traditionally the habitat of the...

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...

Mr. Ham’s Overcoat

By Paul Hemphill The Atlanta Journal, 1970s The whole world is running off to Miami for the Christmas holidays. Look around and you will have cause to wonder why all of these cities and towns even bothered to string colored lights above their streets and put lighted...

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...

Eric Nesterenko and the Examined Life

By Bob Greene Chicago Sun-Times, 1972* Sometimes, late in the night, during those hours when you know there is no reason to stay out and yet something keeps you from heading for home and sleep, you will see him at the end of the bar. Always he will be alone, with his...