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Category Archives: Baseball

Ruth and Gehrig

I like Lou Gehrig. He’s strong as hell and hits hard from the left side of the plate and soon becomes the second most feared hitter in baseball and forces pitchers to either give me good pitches to hit or walk me. What a future we have on the Yankees. “I feel as though I […]

Also posted in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig

Babe and Billy

“Hey, Kid, get out here,” Babe says, inhaling cold air and exhaling hard. “This place is our Yankee Stadium.” A wiry man of medium height appears and says, “How about you quit calling me Kid.” “I’ll be happy to, soon as I learn your name.” “How long you need? I’ve been here thirty years.” “I’ve […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Babe Ruth, Billy Martin, Cancer, Sex, Smoking, Tobacco, Ty Cobb

Candlestick by the Bay

On a wet gray day late in December 2015 I was driving north on 101, telling my wife about great childhood adventures in the sixties when our family journeyed to Candlestick Park to watch the San Francisco Giants. We would come in the other way, from Sacramento through the city by the bay, and I […]

Also posted in Al Capone, Alcatraz, Bay Area, Bay Bridge, Football, Golden Gate Bridge, Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Marin County, Ronnie Lott, San Francisco, San Francisco 49ers

Ty Cobb v. John J. McGraw

I’m damn embarrassed. There stands John J. McGraw, once a star player and now the finest manager in baseball, and here I stand, several inches taller, behind the registration desk at an elegant hotel in Havana, hoping McGraw won’t recognize me. “Hey, didn’t you try out for my team about twenty years ago?” “Don’t recall,” […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Boxing, Cuba, John J. McGraw, Ty Cobb

Objective, Atherton

Don’t misunderstand, I love the plains of Atherton but even more the hills where I can gaze over the Silicon Valley and dream I’ll someday be part of this. I know I’m not now. I live in a Section 8 studio in Modesto and can only drive to the Bay Area once a month for […]

Also posted in Atherton, Bay Area, Computers, Football, Joe Montana, Larry Ellison, Mental Health, Poverty, Ty Cobb, Willie Mays

Yogi Meets Winston

Right, I’m the gatekeeper now. Of course, in my case, that’s with a lower case g. The Big Guy says with the world’s population increasing so fast he’s got to turn the job over to someone else and tend to running this place. My instructions are pretty clear: don’t let in any bad guys, you […]

Also posted in Alcohol, England, Germany, New York Yankees, Winston Churchill, World War II, Yogi Berra

Tiger’s Many Aches

About fifty years ago a wisecracking Brooklyn-born barber clipping in Sacramento took a yellow newspaper article off his wall, handed it to me, and said, “This is for you. And don’t forget, despite all these injuries he’s got more World Series home runs than anyone. How many does your guy Willie Mays have?” Uncharacteristically, I […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Golf, Jack Nicklaus, Jason Day, Johann Sebastian Bach, Jordan Spieth, Ludwig van Beethoven, Mickey Mantle, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Willie Mays, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Maris Prime Rib

In mid-sixties Sacramento a restaurateur, exhibiting either grand generosity or manifest ignorance of human hunger, offered eat all you want prime rib lunch on Sundays. Two fast-growing adolescents and I, salivating after a hot afternoon of schoolyard baseball, scurried into an establishment that, a few years earlier, had presented Roger Maris the baseball he hit […]

Also posted in Adolescents, Babe Ruth, Food, George Thomas Clark, New York Yankees, Roger Maris, Sacramento, Short Pieces - GTC

Little League Blast

Joe was the youngest and skinniest boy on the team and didn’t play much and when he did he always struck out. Late in the season he got to bat against a pitcher he’d wanted who threw lots of changeups, the only pitch slow enough for Joe. Still he swung late but hit a line […]

Also posted in Poetry - GTC

Grave of Great Yankees

Who the hell ordered opening this quite deep grave we didn’t know existed in a cemetery near New York City? Turn off that caterpillar and crane and quit pulling out caskets stacked on each other. Why’re you changing the order? Just put ‘em back the right way: Lou Gehrig first, followed by Babe Ruth then […]

Also posted in Babe Ruth, Cemeteries, Dreams, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, New York City, New York Yankees, Poetry - GTC, Roger Maris

Willie Mays is Eighty

I can recall no adolescent experiences nearly as vivid and pleasurable as going to Candlestick Park, that cold and blustery point on San Francisco Bay, and watching Willie Mays play baseball. I first saw him live the last game of the 1962 season. As I note in another essay, “With but three games to play, […]

Also posted in Babe Ruth, George Thomas Clark, Hank Aaron, Juan Marichal, Lon Simmons, Orlando Cepeda, Russ Hodges, San Francisco, Uncategorized, Warren Spahn, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey

From Tennessee to California

In the summer of 1978 I lived in a small old room at the rear of a dreary house in north Sacramento, one of the worst parts of the Golden State’s capital city. Fortunately, I didn’t know I’d have to stay there several more years until a modest inheritance temporarily rescued me, and was delighted […]

Also posted in Albuquerque, Amarillo, Arizona, Arkansas, Asia, Bakersfield, Barry Switzer, Basketball, Buck Owens, Cars & Driving, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dogs, Doug Atkins, Elvis Presley, Football, George Thomas Clark, Johnny Bench, Memphis, Nashville, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pete Ranzany, Pipino Cuevas, Rivers, Sacramento, Southeast Asia, Tennessee, Texas, Travel, Vietnam

Spring Break in Cuba

In the twilight of their lives the once-intransigent Castro brothers, Fidel and Raul, have begun behaving in at least moderately encouraging ways. Fidel recently summoned writer Jeffery Goldberg of The Atlantic magazine and told him President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran was outrageous for demanding the destruction of Israel and a nincompoop for continuing to insist […]

Also posted in Angola, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Ernest Hemingway, Ethiopia, Fidel Castro, George Thomas Clark, Havana, Health, Holocaust, Iran, John F. Kennedy, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mickey Mantle, Nicaragua, Nikita Khrushchev, Raul Castro, Roger Maris, San Francisco, Travel, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Writers

Cruising in My First Car

I wish I’d been more on the ball and returned to somehow punish the scoundrel who sold me my first car. The deed occurred on an ominous weeknight when my stepfather drove me east of Sacramento to a fine suburban home where a slender dorky old man at least forty-five opened the door and said, […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Babe Ruth, Basketball, Cars & Driving, Civil War - American, Elvis Presley, Football, George Thomas Clark, Grambling University, Grapevine, Highway 99, Jim Cleamons, Kentucky, Lebron James, Los Angeles, Louisiana, Luke Witte, Mississippi, New York City, Niagara Falls, Notre Dame, Ohio, Ohio State University, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Racism, Roberto Clemente, Sacramento, Siege of Vicksburg, Tennessee, Texas, Travel, Ulysses S. Grant, Vanderbilt University, Western Kentucky University, Woody Hayes

Jackie Robinson is Alive in Pasadena

Be careful.  Don’t get online and type in words that could summon photos of a gray and disintegrating Jackie Robinson days before his death at age fifty-three in 1972.  Even if you’ve just seen “National Pastime,” the acclaimed play about his life, resist the urge to research.  Instead, buy a large, home-baked cookie as you […]

Also posted in Jackie Robinson, Pasadena, Theater

Jose Canseco Shall Revolutionize Life

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my coronation,” said Jose Canseco. “I thought this was a press conference,” said a reporter. “It is rather more than that, you insufferable simpleton.  How much do you make a year?” “About fifty grand.” “I made that every three days.” “Not anymore.  That’s why you’re doing this.” “Money will henceforth […]

Also posted in Jose Canseco, Steroids

Babe Ruth on Steroids

“Boys, it’s great to be back.  Too bad it’s off season.  I haven’t been anywhere since 1948, and I’m ready to play.” “Babe, have you had time to read Jose Canseco’s book ‘Juiced’ that says eighty percent of major league baseball players used steroids?” a reporter asked. “Just finished it.” “Do you consider the new […]

Also posted in Babe Ruth, Steroids

A Rose in the Hall of Fame

Quit posturing. Quit pontificating. Quit fornicating around, you self-righteous dunderheads. Put Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame as soon as possible. Put Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame today. Put Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame retroactively and claim you had him there all along. Where else are you turkeys who run […]

Also posted in Gambling, Pete Rose