The Almighty Bob Baffert

By William Nack GQ, May 2003 By the late morning of last year’s Kentucky Derby, after watching War Emblem go through his final stretching exercises at Churchill Downs—his black coat looking sleek as mink as he jogged off the racetrack in the silver light—Robert...

Dubai’s Dream Team

By William Nack GQ, October 2002 It was a moment that joined two worlds, one in which the very old really began to understand the very new. It was 5:40 P.M. on Saturday, May 1, 1999, ten minutes after a horse named Charismatic—yet another male-line descendant of the...

The Old Man and the Mule

Here is a good story from Second Wind: Memoirs of an Opinonated Man by Bill Russell with the historian Taylor Branch (1979, Random House; currently out-of-print). It’s about Russell’s grandfather and his mule, Kate. Russell’s family was from Monroe, La., and he lived...

Big Shot

By Peter Richmond GQ, August 2002 He steers the van over the rolling folds of county Route 579, a two-lane road flanked by fields once neatly tilled and sown, now increasingly given over to development. But the landscape still carries the flavor of open country in the...

No Tresspassing

By Pete Dexter Inside Sports, September 1981 “The old lion is still a bad mother,” he said. “He just wants to roam. Leave him alone. He’s fading, but he’s still a lion.” St. Simons Island lies four miles off the coast of southern Georgia, connected to the mainland by...

Manchild in the Promised Land

By Pete Dexter Inside Sports, April 1980 Early February. Frank Dawkins is sitting in a second-floor office made of cement and insulated against the noise downstairs in the plant. Exactly what is manufactured in the plant is hard to say, but it has something to do with...

Top of the Heap

By William Nack From Lasting Yankee Stadium Memories, 2000 On a balmy afternoon in February, 1999, as old Yankee Stadium was getting her face lifted and nails polished for the spring opener, I visited the grand old yard to peer into the nooks and corners of her...

The Stacks Chat: Bill Nack

By Alex Belth Bronx Banter, December 15, 2008 Looking for that ideal last-minute holiday gift for the sports fan in your life? Look no further than The Best American Sportswriting of 2008, edited by Bill Nack, who is one of the finest sportswriters we have. Nack is a...

August of 1959

By William Nack From Bloodlines, 2006 In the summer of 1959, not far from that old wooden bandbox known as Arlington Park, I awoke early one morning in my bunk in Barn 4A, descended the rickety staircase from my room, and there at once found myself living out the...