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 World’s Richest Problem Child

By John Lardner Newsweek 1949 The St. Louis Browns have hired a professional psychologist for the spring training season to currycomb their inferiority complex. The Boston Red Sox, on the other hand, have chosen a simpler way of treating their own psychological...

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...

Gracious Man With Dealer’s Hands

By Murray Kempton The New York Post October 9, 1956 There was the customary talk about the shadows of the years and the ravages of the law of averages when Sal Maglie went out to meet the Yankees yesterday afternoon. It was the first time, after all the years, that he...

Mr. Ham’s Overcoat

By Paul Hemphill The Atlanta Journal Constitution Magazine 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...

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...

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...

The Called Shot Heard Round the World

By Westbrook Pegler Chicago Tribune October 2, 1932 There, in the third ball game of the World Series, at the Cubs’ ball yard on the north side yesterday, the people who had the luck to be present saw the supreme performance of the greatest artist the profession of...

Summer’s End Recalls Memory of a Faded Dream

By John Schulian Chicago Sun-Times September 24, 1983 Up ahead, you could see a full moon sandwiched by thick, wet clouds. Beneath them glowed the lights of Chicago, turning the soggy heavens red-orange and proving that this ribbon of highway actually led somewhere....

The Homecoming of Willie Mays

By Murray Kempton Esquire October 1973 He was twenty when he began these voyagings, and he is supposed to have said then that this first trip around the league was like riding through a beautiful park and getting paid for it. Out of all those playgrounds, only Wrigley...

Can the Mets Survive Respectability?

By Joe Flaherty The Village Voice May 27, 1968 If in a moment of campy whimsy Susan Sontag and Salvador Dali decided to have a love affair and conceive a child without sin, he would be destined to grow up and become a New York Met. In a dastardly age when we are...