The Life and Loves of the Real McCoy

By John Lardner True, February, 1956 The hotel manager and the detective stood looking down at the man on the bed, who had killed himself during the night. “Norman Selby, it says on the note, and Selby was how he checked in,” the manager said. “Wasn’t that his right...

Great Men Die Twice

By Mark Kram Esquire, March 1989 There is the feel of a cold offshore mist to the hospital room, a life-is-a-bitch feel, made sharp by the hostile ganglia of medical technology, plasma bags dripping, vile tubing snaking in and out of the body, blinking monitors...

Muhammad Ali in Excelsis

By Peter Richmond GQ, April, 1998 On the table in front of him sit a copy of the holy Koran and a plate holding three frosted raspberry coffee cakes, and when he leans forward on the couch and reaches out it is not for enlightenment. It is for a piece of pastry. With...

The Stacks Chat: W.K. Stratton

By Alex Belth Bronx Banter, August 28, 2012 Sports on Earth debuted yesterday and featured a Q&A I did with W.K. Stratton, author of a fine new biography of Floyd Patterson. Stratton is the author of four other books, including Dreaming Sam Peckinpah. He also...

The Apprenticeship of Randall Cobb

By Pete Dexter Inside Sports, May 1981 The face suggests more than 21 fights, but that’s how many there have been. Counting the two as an amateur. There is a scar over the left eye, a missing tooth. The nose is flat and soft, without cartilage. Apart from that, it’s a...

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...

My Dinner with Ali

By Davis Miller Louisville Courier-Journal Magazine, 1989 I’d been waiting for years. When it finally happened, it wasn’t what I’d expected. But he’s been fooling many of us for most of our lives. For six months, several of his friends had been trying to connect me...

The Impression

By Pete Dexter Inside Sports, December 1980 When I heard Ali had agreed to fight Holmes, the first thought I had was that Ali would be killed. The punch was five years gone, his hand speed had been mediocre over his last half dozen fights, and he’d been getting hit by...

George Kimball: The Professional

By John Schulian Bronx Banter, July 8, 2011 George Kimball was blessed with the kind of voluble charm you find in an Irish bar, and, brother, let me tell you he’d been in a few. No amount of drink, however, could rein in his galloping intelligence. It was as pure a...

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...