Omam-Biyik in 1990. Why not be the jumper rather than the jumpee?
Taking their cue from Jürgen Klinsmann’s evaluation of “the worst of the worst”
for the American schedule, fans are assuming the U.S. will get ushered out of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil without winning or drawing or maybe even scoring.
Having covered the past eight World Cups, I would like to note that the matches have yet to be played – and that group play is always full of revelations.
Why not be one of those teams that upset the favorite? Why not make your own luck? Why not catch players before they are acclimated? Why not be better than anybody expected? It has happened. Every four years it has happened.
The first thing to remember about the World Cup is that the best teams come into the tournament with the most players chewed up by the insatiable club schedules, including the Champions League. Outsiders can have fresh legs and fresh attitudes – very often worth a victory in the first round.
Without even discussing the American team here, let’s look at a few weird and wonderful things that have happened in the first match of group play:
In Spain in 1982, Algeria stunned West Germany, 2-1 – still one of the great upsets in World Cup history. The West Germans used a disgraceful 1-0 waltz victory over their friends from Austria in the third match, so both teams could advance past Algeria. FIFA later tightened the rules against manipulation like that, but Algeria will always have the pride of that upset.
In Mexico in 1986, in the opening match in Azteca, Bulgaria tied the defending champions of Italy, 1-1, in the 85th minute. Then again, Italy almost always has a wretched first round – part of its charm.
In the very first match in Italy in 1990, Francois Omam-Biyik of Cameroon outjumped Roberto Sensini of Argentina for a header goal in the 67th minute for a 1-0 victory. (The Argentina coach yanked Sensini two minutes later.) Was this a huge upset? Not really. Ancient Roger Milla helped Cameroon become the first African team to reach the quarterfinals, and Argentina reached the finals.
In 1994, Ireland beat Italy, 1-0, in Giants Stadium in the first match. Once again, Italy had to stagger into the knockout round, eventually losing the final when two injured stars missed in the shootout.
In 1998, in France, talented Spain sauntered into a first match against Nigeria, and was out-run, 3-2, by Bora Milutinovic’s team. Spain did not reach the knockout round, its glory still a generation away.
In 2002 in South Korea, Zinedine Zidane pulled a thigh muscle in an exhibition against the aggressive Reds, and the lethargic defending champion, France, was stunned by its former colony, Senegal, 1-0, in the opening match, and did not survive the first round.
In 2006, Trinidad & Tobago, in its long-delayed World Cup debut, held Sweden to a 0-0 draw in the first round in Germany. When bonuses did not materialize, the Soca Warriors did not score in two straight losses.
In 2010, France, England and Italy all staggered to draws in their first matches in South Africa, and only England made it into the knockout round. All three were exposed as weary, disinterested or, in France’s case, mutinous.
From my eight World Cups, I have learned that national teams are all-star aggregations, thrown together a few weeks before the opening match. Very often, African teams have talent but struggle with financial and logistical issues. The U.S. cannot think about the losses to Ghana in 2006 and 2010 and must get 3 points from the first match. Then it will have to hold Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal to a draw, somehow. After that comes Germany, always talented and never nonchalant.
The U.S. will have to hope the other teams chew each other up in the first round. In the most recent World Cup, four teams advanced with 4 points.
The great thing about having a former champion like Klinsmann as coach is that he can, without boring his players, remind them of disasters and upsets he has seen in the World Cup. The first match is vital. The schedule: http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/matches/index.html
Now if the U.S. can arrange a transplant of its back line.
Diop outruns Petit in the opener in Seoul, 2002.
Is The Boss Running the Nets and Knicks From Afar?
The way I see it, the same thing is wrong with both the Knicks and Nets – location.
They are competing with each other and everything else in the New York market, and that is a dangerous thing for a sports franchise.
The operative mentality for a New York team is that fans in Big Town will tolerate only a winner. (See: Steinbrenner, George, in Tyler Kepner’s excellent analysis
of the Jacoby Ellsbury signing in Wednesday’s NY Times.)
While the Gene Michael vein of home-grown superstars has worn down, the Yankees keep trying to dominate with players who made their mark elsewhere. It’s a tricky formula for a baseball team, but much more problematical for a basketball team with a smaller roster, less margin for error, that decides it needs a quick fix to win a championship.
Yes, money can create a championship team, as Pat Riley did in Miami, but that involves brains and vision, all lacking in Madison Square Garden, and maybe in Brooklyn, too. But a team can also be built for the long haul, as the Spurs did.
The Knicks have been doomed since ownership blew up a nice team that was working in unison and brought in the empty calories of Carmelo Anthony. Anybody could see Anthony cannot be the core of a championship team because he lacks the leadership and teamwork skills. But James Dolan went for the points. His puppet regime then let Jeremy Lin get away because Anthony iced him out.
Now the Knicks are stuck with old players falling apart, Anthony gunning it up from anywhere, and a rebellious fan base paying insane money for the privilege to boo.
Dolan deserves it for his arrogance and his distance. He always seems to have a rehearsal for his rock band. What a dilettante. The Boss always backed up his moves, right or wrong, in person.
The Nets are also suffering from the quick fix syndrome. Owned by the Russian, Mikhail D. Prokhorov,
they tried for a transplant of the Boston Celtics’ success, in a trade for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry. What they missed was the Celtics’ coach, Doc Rivers, who was heading west. Instead, they got a Steinbrenner version
of Kevin Brown and Randy Johnson – too expensive, and too late.
Now the Nets players are falling apart, and the coach, Jason Kidd is pulling a bush trick like spilling a soda on the court to force a timeout and pushing out his hand-picked assistant Lawrence Frank. Nothing worse than not being ready for prime time in New York.
There is good basketball news in New York, however. One of the New York teams will win a game Thursday night – inasmuch as they are playing each other.
Your take on why the two New York teams both stink?
Photo by 3/5
Nobody likes getting a call at three in the morning. Too many bad options.
I heard my cell phone rattling on the nightstand, the night before Thanksgiving. My wife was next to me, but the question remained: What?
It’s one of those old clamshell phones. (I cannot figure out Mr. Jobs’ gizmos.)
I clawed it open.
The message was a photograph of a flower in the frost.
It was from Grandchild 3/5. Given the size of this great land of ours, I don’t see 3/5 that often. A message is welcome.
I pecked out a response: Where?
She has a much faster keyboard than I do. Discovery Park
, she replied. You have a good eye
, I typed. Thanks, Pop
By now I was actually awake. She had outlasted everybody in her household, residents and visitors, and besides, she is something of a night owl. I thought I would toss out a subtle reminder of the situation. You know it’s 3 AM here.
This did not seem to faze her. Yeah
, she replied. It’s 12 o’clock here.
I liked her style. It reminded me of six years ago when I received a call around 4:30 in the morning from Sebastian Newbold Coe, Baron Coe, CH KBE
, the great runner who was head of the London Olympic Committee for 2012. Lord Coe had come into the office bright and early and asked his assistant to get me on the phone, which she did. He had a lot on his mind. He was abashed, but we conducted business, no problem, and when we finally met in Beijing in 2008, he apologized again. I thought it was very cool to be able to joke with a lord about an early wake-up call.
Grandchild 3/5 did not apologize. Time zones or not, she can text me any time.
Plus, she has a good eye.
Drawing by 3/5
Black Friday Can Be Dangerous
My father worked on Thanksgiving and Christmas and other holidays. I felt sad at seeing him head to the subway in mid-afternoon, but we knew the call of the newspaper business.
He had to leave home and head for the office – breaking news, banter, coffee and snacks from somewhere, familiar faces, stories to edit.
Over the years I covered a lot of Sunday ball games and Christmas afternoon basketball games at the Garden, although I don’t remember working on Thanksgiving since a few 10 AM high-school football games many years ago.
At least twice, I checked into hotels close to midnight on New Year’s Eve, in order to cover a bowl game in Pasadena or Phoenix the next day. But New Year’s Eve is a good holiday to duck. In the immortal words of Marv Albert, I’d like to, but I have a game.
Police work on holidays. So do doctors and nurses and orderlies. In New York, the subways run on Christmas, although not in London.
Life goes on. Chinese restaurants flourish on Dec. 25, for the annual ritual of Jewish customers. What do Muslim people do on Dec. 25 in the city sometimes referred to as Londonstan?
In recent days, I’ve been watching the lists of Good Companies and Evil Companies that differ about working on Thanksgiving. Wal-Mart, which corrupted people to take over a historic valley
in Mexico, is making its workers show up. If Wal-Mart is doing it, it must be bad.
I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no good reason for forcing – forcing – workers to show up Thanksgiving evening to herd shoppers, who presumably are there on their own volition.
I suggest there is something healthy in a day of rest, even on somebody else’s Sabbath. And Thanksgiving in the United States should be a day of indulging and shouting at the tube and appreciating the people who cook and the people who scrub turkey grease off the pots. Then, at least there could be fitful sleep, working off the calories, before joining the lines on Black Friday.
Why do they call it Black Friday? I did it once. Bought a huge television set. It was still bleak and nasty when I emerged from the Best Buy. The experience felt like a frolic, but once was enough. A few miles away, a worker got trampled.
This year I read that Best Buy is opening on Thanksgiving Evening to fulfill the stockholders’ dream of a third vacation home. They need it, bless their hearts. I’m proposing some kind of law -- state national, unofficial -- to insure just a few hours of shutdown here and there. Otherwise, we’re all just hamsters on the wheel.
I would make this exception – some occupations are essential; others contain a mystique. I’ve come to think my father liked going to work in the late afternoon.
Here’s one list of Good Companies and Evil Companies: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/11/22/1255378/-Which-stores-are-open-and-which-are-closed-on-Thanksgiving
The grand tradition of Chinese food on Dec. 25: http://www.thejewishweek.com/special-sections/literary-guides/we-eat-chinese-christmas
Apparently, some pubs open in London, but not the Underground: http://www.londontown.com/London/Christmas-Day-and-Boxing-Day
Here’s a list of Black Friday stampedes: http://www.ranker.com/pics/L304743/13-most-brutal-black-friday-injuries-and-deaths
(Thirty years ago I wrote this sports column in The New York Times.) November 21, 1983. Monday The Game Stopped George Vecsey
We were playing touch football when the President was shot. The fiancee of one of the players came running through the park, calling: ''The President's been shot in Dallas. They've closed the Stock Exchange.''
We knew enough to pick up our extra sweatshirts that had served as yard markers and quietly to go our separate ways to whatever security our homes would offer us. The news on our car radios told us what we did not want to hear.
We were mostly in our 20's, a collection of young journalists and baseball players whose vagabond hours allowd us to play touch football at midday all through the fall. We had short haircuts and nicknames like Killer, Joe D, Big Ben, Rapid Robert, Jake, Little Alvin and Richie Swordfish.
As I look at our old photographs, I am struck by the optimism in our faces. It seemed like a very good time to be in our 20's, and starting our adult lives. I think John F. Kennedy had something to do with that.
Since the day we picked up our sweatshirts and trudged off the field, I have often thought of the double irony of playing touch football in Kennedy Park, named after early settlers of Hempstead, L.I., not for those Kennedys. Today the name Kennedy is on New York's major airport and public schools all over the country. Eight days ago in Frankfurt, my wife told me that the broad boulevard on which we were driving was named Kennedystrasse.
Just playing touch football at the moment the shots rang out was irony enough. Looking at the old publicity pictures of him now, in the 20th-anniversary glut of memories, I am struck by how awkward and poorly conditioned John F. Kennedy looks holding a football. Of course, for years there have been suggestions that he suffered from Addison's disease, and he was in no shape to play football with his more robust relatives and friends.
History has come to round out the picture of John F. Kennedy, but on that morning, we would have agreed that we were playing the same game the President played in his family compound at Hyannisport, Mass. We were young and so was the President of the United States. That meant a lot to me.
Many people today will consider Franklin Delano Roosevelt or Harry S. Truman or Dwight D. Eisenhower as their
President. Others may have the same feeling about one of those who came later. For me, John F. Kennedy will always be my
In 1960 five very important things happened in my life: I was hired by a newspaper, I was graduated from college, I turned 21, I was married, and John F. Kennedy was elected President. For me at least, the narrow victory of the Senator from Massachusetts was a comet blazing across the sky, signaling that the 60's were going to be good years, different years.
The words now seem full of dust from the history books, but in those days people talked excitedly about ''vigor'' and ''charisma.'' John F. Kennedy was an attractive young President before the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, before ballplayers used hair dryers and appeared in underwear ads. In 1960 he was all the glamour we had, he and his wife who spoke French and looked terrific in an evening gown.
The touch-football pictures were partly hyped; the photographs with John-John playing under his desk must have been staged. But after the musty 50's, after Ike, after a President who could not articulate outrage about segregation or Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, after a President who played a marginal athletic activity like golf, some of us were good and ready for a new decade.
Then the Kennedys hit the stage like a tumbling act in the circus, full of blaring horns and rolling drums, and with lots of photographs of John F. Kennedy about to throw a sideline pattern to Bobby or Ted.
Once in the summer of 1959, at a beach in Southampton, L.I., I found myself waist deep in the surf a few yards from John F. Kennedy. Politically, it was no thrill; we were Stevenson Democrats in my family. But a Presidential hopeful who had young- looking friends, who went to the beach on a Sunday, seemed pretty good to me.
The Kennedys became associated in my mind with sports and crowds and youth and good times. One afternoon in 1961, in an amusement park in upstate New York, my wife was almost knocked down by Robert F. Kennedy, who was making a fast visit with his wife, Ethel, and some of their children. He stopped and excused himself before rushing on. In October 1963, covering a football game in Annapolis, Md., I was almost mowed down by Robert Kennedy, who was leaving early through the press box. The Kennedys moved fast.
Starting adult life the same year the youngest President was elected set up a visceral sense of identification: the Kennedys lost a child; my wife went through a difficult but successful first delivery. I could only wonder why the dice had been rolled that way.
In this anniversary month, many historians now criticize John F. Kennedy's actions toward Cuba and Vietnam; I will never be convinced he would not have been smart enough to find sensible options toward both countries. But his time, Malcolm X's time, Robert Kennedy's time, Martin Luther King Jr.'s time, and Allard Lowenstein's time all ended too soon.
In the days after the shooting in Dallas, football twice added to my sense of loss and revulsion. The National Football League went ahead with its games two days later, while the President was lying in state, a gesture of disrespect I have never been able to forget. And a week later, on a train heading for the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia, I heard some whisky-slick officers and their wives talking too loudly about how they had never been able to stand the Kennedys in the first place.
In the years since Nov. 22, 1963, many of us who came of age in the early 60's found no elected public figures to admire. Some of us admired the feminists and Bob Dylan's songs and Lech Walesa and Bishop Romero of El Salvador, and we could not help but notice that a Black Muslim boxer named Muhammad Ali did more to get us out of Vietnam than any President did.
I mourn the loss of a President who seemed so intelligent and courageous and witty and youthful at the time. I admit that I keep up with bits of news about John F. Kennedy's children, and I root for Jacqueline Onassis in her battle for privacy. And I cannot watch young people throwing a football in a park without thinking of that day when the fiancee of one of the players came running across the grass to tell us something that would end our game.
* * *
(I still pretty much feel the same way. I remember the feelings of intense hatred emanating from Texas in the days before the Kennedy trip. I’ve come to have more mixed feelings about the Kennedy myths. He was more sick than we understood; also more personally reckless. I’m not sure he would have advanced civil rights and anti-poverty programs as much as LBJ did; then again, I think JFK would not have led us much deeper into Vietnam, but we will never know, and that is part of the sadness. My thanks to the Times for letting me express myself, then and now.)
Americans Off the Coast of the Philippines
The pose looked familiar – Americans unloading water from an aircraft carrier to the stricken islands of the Philippines.
It brought me back to the United States of my early childhood, toward the end of World War Two: not so much the fighting, but the recovery. When I was five, this was one face of America – G.I. Joe passing out chewing gum to the children of Normandy. Later we saw photos of Americans liberating concentration camps.
Perhaps it was a simplistic image, maybe even manipulated, but it was what we thought of the country, of ourselves.
The Marshall Plan, the GI Bill, the post-war hopefulness, only reinforced that image. We took care of others; we took care of our own.
The news that the United States was dispatching the carrier
George Washington to the east coast of the Philippines struck a familiar chord. Better than chewing gum – tons of water and medical supplies, delivered by helicopter to Leyte and Samar.
It reminded me that when the nihilists struck on 9/11, I got emails from friends in Japan and Mexico and France, asking, “Are you all right?” We were all in it together.
I am reminded of that when I hear an American president remind us what soldiers know. You take care of your own. The current president comes from that American heritage when he talks about the need for a more national health care.
Even with the technical glitches – SNAFU, they called it during the war – the goal is to keep all of us away from the emergency room, to address hunger and illness in the early stages, while there is still time.
The American president reminds me of G.I. Joe.
The people who sabotage him do not.
Normandy, 1944. Courtesy of: www.wwiiarchivesfoundation.net. Please support.
The year is full of fiftieth anniversaries, including the March on Washington and the terrible event coming up on Nov. 22.
Two other milestones are worth noting: the publication of a landmark book about Appalachia and the death of a landmark publisher.
I got to meet Harry Caudill and Alicia Patterson, two strong-minded patricians.
As a young sports reporter at Newsday on Long Island, I was aware of the publisher, with the tone of the country club and the vocabulary of a press room. She was descended from the newspaper family of McCormicks and Medills and Pattersons, and in 1939 she had been given a newspaper by her wealthy husband, Captain Harry F. Guggenheim. It was her toy, and she turned it into a great newspaper.
You could hear her down the hall, conducting business with her editors, a presence -- jewelry glittering, glasses perched on her forehead. The boss. Miss P.
I don’t claim to know what she did and said. I only know that all of us took energy from her. At Christmas parties, Stan Brooks – the same whirlwind reporting from the street for WINS radio today – used to don dress, glasses, stockings and high heels for a fantastic takeoff of Miss P, who loved it.
You can read all about Alicia Patterson via her foundation: http://aliciapatterson.org/alicia-patterson
The final praise for her is from Jack Mann, the irascible sports editor who gave me a career. Jack got himself fired in the summer of 1962 after a dispute with a managing editor while Miss P was out grouse-hunting or something. When she came back, she told Jack she could not countermand her editor. I never heard him badmouth her for that.
A year later Miss P died during surgery for ulcers, at 56. The paper had glory years after her time, including the great run of New York Newsday, but it is now run by the Dolans. Some of us think it would never have slipped this way if Miss P had lived a few more decades.
Harry Caudill’s voice reached the big cities, all the way from Whitesburg, Ky., where he was a lawyer. In 1963, he wrote a lament called Night Comes to the Cumberlands, about the colonization of Appalachia, where coal lay under the surface. His book made me care for Appalachia; seven years later I went to cover it for the New York Times. Things were about as bad as he said, but I was captivated by it.
I got to meet Caudill, who goaded me to spend more time in the mountains. When A.M. Rosenthal, the great editor of the Times, was making a tour of the region in 1971, we had a nice lunch with the Caudills, who had the ear of the paper. The next summer Caudill called the home office to say an entire mountain had shed its coal slag, known as red dog, into a community. I was dispatched from vacation at Jones Beach to a bare-bones motel in Whitesburg, by which time a few families had raked the stuff out of their yards.
Caudill saw disasters large and small, standing up to politicians who served the coal industry. He suffered from a war injury, and came down with Parkinson’s Disease, and committed suicide in 1990 at the age of 68, in his yard, facing Pine Mountain. http://www.kentucky.com/2012/12/23/2452306/chapter-5-harry-caudill-inspired.html
By that time, I had written a book about a radical miner in southwest Virginia called, “One Sunset a Week.” Caudill’s book is still the most important book about Appalachia. Fifty years later.
(Alicia Patterson, reading her paper; Harry Caudill tutoring a visitor, Robert F. Kennedy, who paid attention, who cared.)
Sox Banner on Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley. Courtesy: Antonio Rossman.
(This very site seemed to have vanished on Nov. 6; at moments like that, one realizes how fragile all this geekiness is in the hands of innocents. Maybe it will re-appear on its own.)
Baseball has vanished to the other side of the moon, not to reappear til March. My greatest memory from the 2013 World Series goes beyond the joy of watching Ortiz and Lester and Pedroia and Uehara -- exuberant phenomena that even a non-Red Sox fan could love.
The best baseball note of October came from David Waldstein of The New York Times as he tried to outrun the ubiquitous KMOX on Tuesday night. He got south of Memphis, into Mississippi, and that landmark AM station was still going strong, outlasting the game itself. Here’s the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/30/sports/baseball/trying-to-outrun-the-long-reach-of-cardinals-baseball.html?_r=0
The part I loved about Waldstein's article was that it celebrated the holy union between baseball and radio, as good as ever, late in its first century. What fan has not learned to love the sport from an hour or two in the car, listening to great chunks of a ball game, epic or mundane?
It’s one of the great relationships in American life – the ball fan with the gabby play-by-play broadcaster and color commentator. I have great patience with John Sterling of the Yankees because he fills that job description – a character, living memory, part of the act.
I can recall some epic games in the car:
- In 1946 my dad took a temporary job as a special-delivery mailman, driving around quiet corners of Queens. I’d feign illness in school, to go around with him, listening to the Brooklyn Dodgers, heading to the playoff loss to the Cardinals.
- Driving alone from New York to Chicago, circa 1965, listening to KMOX clear as a bell, as Lou Brock manufactured a run for a 1-0 victory over the Phillies.
- In 1991, my wife and I were driving to Florida during the seventh game of the World Series. As we hurtled south, we heard Jack Morris of the Twins pitching against John Smoltz. When the game went into the 10th inning, I would have been happy if it had gone 20 – we were pulling an all-nighter. When Gene Larkin won the game, 1-0, with a bases-loaded single, I felt desolate, just as I felt Wednesday night. The season was over.The link to that game:
The car radio delivers amazing events. I remember driving before dawn from Nashville to eastern Kentucky, in 1971, listening to a New Orleans clear-channel station, I believe WWL, 870 on the dial, describing the final hours of Mardi Gras. I remember driving from the Detroit airport to Pontiac for a World Cup soccer match in 1994, listening to WFAN, 660 AM, for the madness in Madison Square Garden as fans watched the eerie O.J. Simpson drive along the freeway as it unfolded on TV. On drives on Long Island on Saturday night, I used to catch the Grand Ole Opry on WSM at 650 AM.
But nothing suits radio better than baseball. It is now officially Off Season. If you pick up any ball games from now until spring training, courtesy of sun spots or time warps or dark holes, please let me know.
Any great baseball car drives you can recall?
Hornsby and the ball were waiting for the Babe
This was always going to be a terrific World Series, what with the two ancient franchises, the Cardinals and the Red Sox, and their history of three previous Series.
The Series kept getting more interesting, necessarily in technical brilliance but in the misplays that have determined the last three games – a wild throw, an obstruction, a pickoff.
Before we go any further, let’s put Kolten Wong’s pickoff in perspective. The pinch-runner for the Cardinals was caught off first base to end the fourth game very late Sunday evening.
An entire World Series once ended with a runner caught trying to steal second base. That was George Herman Ruth, who took it upon himself to try to steal with two outs and nobody on in the seventh game, with the Yankees trailing the Cardinals, 3-2.
The batter was merely Bob Meusel, who was hitting only .238 for the Series but was the cleanup hitter. Lou Gehrig was on deck. The Babe was easily thrown out, tagged by the Cards’ player-manager Rogers Hornsby. The pitcher was Grover Cleveland Alexander, working in relief.
Over the years, the legend has persisted that Alexander was hung over after pitching the day before, but he later denied it.
If the Babe can end a Series with a gaffe, Kelton Wong can surely end a game by straying too far off first with the superb Koji Uehara pitching.
I was looking forward to this Series if only because of the epic Series of 1946, the first I remember, with its returning service veterans, plus the matchup between Stan Musial and Ted Williams, and Enos’ Slaughter romp home in the seventh game.
What makes that memory so strong is that the World Series stood by itself in those days, with no post-season tournament beforehand. (The Cardinals had survived a league playoff after tying Brooklyn, but that’s a different category.)
These moments – the Babe’s blunder, Slaughter’s romp, Bob Gibson’s pitching in 1967, Manny Ramirez’ hitting in 2004 – stand out because they happened in the World Series, not in that growing amorphous blob that MLB and the networks call the post season. Kolten Wong’s pickoff and Will Middlebrooks’ inadvertent obstruction in the third game will stand up precisely because they happened in the World Series.
Ruth’s final out: http://baberuthmuseum.org/press/didyouknow/?article_id=122
Box scores from 1926: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYA/NYA192610100.shtml
Alexander’s side of it, recently posted by the historian John Thorn: http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2012/12/18/grover-cleveland-alexander-remembers-1926-world-series-game-7/
Bill Mazer was a giant of sports broadcasting – and then his career kept going. Long after he was a sports maven in Buffalo and Milwaukee and New York, Mazer, as an octo-genarian, launched into a second career as radio general talk-show host.
We knew each other from the days when he described Cookie Gilchrist’s rushes and Henry Aaron’s home runs. Now, instead of recalling the great sports details (some would call them trivia), Mazer worked first for WEVD in New York and then for WVOX in suburban Westchester.
Mazer, who died Wednesday at 92, was thoroughly admirable in his new life as he chatted about politics and medicine and education and anything else. I remember one time he had me waiting on the next line to babble about some sports theme while he finished up with somebody – as I recall, a brain surgeon. I was extremely impressed.
Bill’s intelligence and curiosity had kicked in. He was able to guide the doctor into explaining the profession, and new developments in medicine. Bill did not need to assert his own memories of who pitched what game of what World Series. He asked wise questions and – believe me, not all interviewers are even adequate at this – he listened to the answers, and he responded to the twists and turns of conversation.
He had his opinions. Once I launched sideways into a tirade about a political theme (no point going over it here) and I could tell he was quite unhappy with me. Still, he politely let me talk, and he politely offered his version, and we finished the chat civilly. (I don’t think he called me for a while, and that was fine, too.)
It was not easy for Bill in his later years. He missed his wife, Dora, known as Dutch, who passed in 1996. She was a beautiful and serene lady who accompanied him to a lot of events, was a force in his life. Yet he continued to grow, with his actor son Arnie Mazer booking guests and running interference for him.
Bill Mazer – like Bob Wolff
, Roger Angell
and Ray Robinson
, ongoing nonagenarian giants and friends of mine – was a marvel. He became a role model for any of us who might want to re-invent ourselves. In the very long run, Bill Mazer was amazing.
* * *
For an appreciation of Bill Mazer’s career, please see the obituary by Richard Goldstein: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/24/sports/bill-mazer-a-sports-fixture-of-new-york-radio-and-tv-dies-at-92.html?_r=0