Last Friday Sandy Koufax was chatting with fans at the Dodgers' spring base in Glendale, Ariz.
This photo was taken by Abe Schear, the Atlanta attorney who has been interviewing baseball people for years.
Later, Koufax was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Andre Ethier. He was conscious, with some blood on the side of his head, as he sat on a cart while being taken for treatment in the clubhouse. Koufax, who serves as an adviser and occasional tutor to young Dodger pitchers, assured reporters and players that he was fine. The story:
In another Brooklyn angle, MLB has come up with a video from spring training of 1945. Because of wartime travel restrictions, the Brooklyn Dodgers were training at Bear Mountain, above the Hudson River, north of New York City.
The video was sent to me by the former Mets pitcher, Bill Wakefield:
Leo (The Lip) Durocher, the manager, candidly says in that brassy voice of his that the Dodgers can’t get much worse, since they finished seventh the year before. Leo always did have opinions. He fusses at his wartime players, perhaps knowing that the Dodgers have stockpiled players named Hodges and Snider when the players come back from war.
Spotted briefly on the scruffy looking diamond are Dixie Walker (wearing No. 14 instead of No. 11) and Tommy Brown, (No. 9), all of 17 years old.
Also on the roster is Ben Chapman, the old Yankee outfielder, who was hanging on – as a pitcher. Chapman would pitch 10 games for the Dodgers that year. In 1947, he would become infamous as the Phillies’ manager, for racial heckling of Jackie Robinson. I never knew, until now, that Chapman had passed through the Dodgers toward the end of the war.
In 1947, when Chapman was not directing vile words from the dugout, Chapman and Robinson posed for a photo. My friend the photographer, John McDermott, wonders if we should even look at a photo of Chapman. I mainly stuck it on here because I was intrigued upon learning Chapman pitched for the Dodgers in 1945. John has a point.,
More and More, I Talk to the Dead--Margaret Renkl
NASHVILLE — After my mother died so suddenly — laughing at a rerun of “JAG” at 10 p.m., dying of a hemorrhagic stroke by dawn — I dreamed about her night after night. In every dream she was willfully, outrageously alive, unaware of the grief her death had caused. In every dream relief poured through me like a flash flood. Oh, thank God!
Then I would wake into keening grief all over again.
Years earlier, when my father learned he had advanced esophageal cancer, his doctor told him he had perhaps six months to live. He lived far longer than that, though I never thought of it as “living” once I learned how little time he really had. For six months my father was dying, and then he kept dying for two years more. I was still working and raising a family, but running beneath the thin soil of my own life was a river of death. My father’s dying governed my days.
After he died, I wept and kept weeping, but I rarely dreamed about my father the way I would dream about my mother nearly a decade later. Even in the midst of calamitous grief, I understood the difference: My father’s long illness had given me time to work death into the daily patterns of my life. My mother’s sudden death had obliterated any illusion that daily patterns are trustworthy.
Years have passed now, and it’s the ordinariness of grief itself that governs my days. The very air around me thrums with absence. I grieve the beloved high-school teacher I lost the summer after graduation and the beloved college professor who was my friend for more than two decades. I grieve the father I lost nearly 20 years ago and the father-in-law I lost during the pandemic. I grieve the great-grandmother who died my junior year of college and the grandmother who lived until I was deep into my 40s.
Some of those I grieve are people I didn’t even know. How can John Prine be gone? I hear his haunting last song, “I Remember Everything,” and I still can’t quite believe that John Prine is gone.
Jan. 30, 2023