A Hurdler in Inner Space

By Mark Kram Esquire June 1988 Odd, he was thinking, how a streak leans on you, twists you, turns you, can overwhelm the most finely tuned psychology designed to protect you from its vast intrusions. He was stretched out on a bed in a dark Madrid hotel room, listening...

Escape From New York

By Mark Kriegel Esquire December 1995 It is early morning in Miami, still dark, black water lapping at the dock overlooking Biscayne Bay. But here in this cold, cranky bloodshot hour that so injures a sportswriter’s metabolism, Pat Riley is undaunted, optimistic....

Meet Reggie (Dr. Jekyll) Jackson (Mr. Hyde)

By Harry Stein Esquire July 1977 “I’d rather hit than have sex,” Reggie Jackson offered up to the man from Time who was laboring on a cover story. “God, do I love to hit that little round sum-bitch out of the park and make ’em say, ‘Wow!’” Sports Illustrated’s guy...

The House That Thurman Munson Built

By Michael Paterniti Esquire September 1999 I give you Thurman Munson in the eighth inning of a meaningless baseball game, in a half-empty stadium in a bad Yankee year during a fourteen-season Yankee drought, and Thurman Munson is running, arms pumping, busting his...

Mel Brooks Says This Is the Funniest Man in the World

By Harry Stein Esquire June 1976 Harry Ritz will say it himself, but he prefers that others say it for him. “As far as I’m concerned,” says Mel Brooks, “Harry Ritz was the funniest man ever. His craziness and his freedom were unmatched. There was no intellectualizing...

Swee’pea and the Shark

By Ivan Solotaroff Esquire November 1992 Bald, bone-white, wearing baggy sweats and clunky sneakers, Jerry “Tark the Shark” Tarkanian looks like a cross between Mr. Magoo and Yertle the Turtle as he paces the length of the hardwood floor of the Blossom Athletic Center...

The Best-Kept Secret in American Journalism Is Murray Kempton

By David Owen Esquire March 1982 At the Democratic National Convention in 1980, a small brigade of young reporters dogged the footsteps of a man in a dark green suit. The man picked his way through the crush on the floor of the convention hall, pausing now and then to...

Invasion of the Asteroids

By David Owen Esquire February 1981 Men prefer four things to women: fast cars, guns, camping equipment “tested on the slopes of Everest,” and the World Series. This is a thought-provoking list and good as far as it goes. But lately there’s been a fifth contender: a...

Brando

By Mark Kram Esquire November 1989 How civilized the fame game was then, a timid, furtive glimpse for the observer, the observed cordoned off by a dreamlike distance of respect. Worship knew its place; so did greatness. It was caught sharply once by a young American...

The Old Man and the River

By Pete Dexter Esquire June 1981 Early morning, Seeley Lake, Montana. The sun has touched the lake, but the air is dead-still and cooler than the water, and the fog comes off the surface in curtains, hiding some of the Swan Range three miles to the east. And in doing...

L.T. and the Home Team

By John Ed Bradley Esquire December 1985 Out one night last summer in Williamsburg, Virginia—a night that started warm and breezy but quickly turned as hot and rank as old meat—D’Fellas quit talking about local trim for a minute and somebody started on God. Eric...

The Lynching of Leo Frank

By Steve Oney Esquire September 1985 Under the cover of the lengthening shadows of a sleepy August afternoon in 1915, five Model T’s loaded with armed men quietly departed the northwest Atlanta suburb of Marietta. The men had told their wives they were going fishing....