“The election of Nixon would be death to the blacks,” Robinson said.
Of course, nothing could rattle Bob Gibson. One comment, though, in particular worked on him: the words in a Boston paper announcing Dick Williams’s plans for the seventh game—“Lonborg and Champagne.” Watching Gibson studying those words, his teammate Joe Hoerner knew how much they would fortify Gibson’s resolve. It wasn’t that he needed any extra motivation to win his fifth consecutive World Series game, but that smug headline, combined with the perceived slight at breakfast, would bolster Gibson’s belief that he needed to prove to the world that he was capable of anything.
“The first time I saw Joe Namath was after a waitress in this dining room of this Tuscaloosa hotel, a red haired waitress who was young in a tight blue uniform and left nothing to the imagination, to my imagination or hers,” the 83-year-old Talese recited, "this waitress who spotted him coming in the door and she said to another, ‘Psst, here he comes.’”
They had to fall like this — each in his own way, but still very much together. One has done so in almost inexplicable fashion, with his inability to put a ball in play reaching astonishing (and nearly humorous) levels. The other has tumbled more traditionally, through a series of injuries and stunted seasons and diminished production.
Hal McCoy expected to cover the Cincinnati Reds for the Dayton Daily News until he was called off to the Big Press Box in the Sky. But a lousy economy and a flagging newspaper industry benched him before his final inning. What can you say about a highly esteemed, exceptionally insightful, legally blind sportswriter? They don’t make ’em like that any more.
I came home on a recent summer evening; not to the small row house in Northwest Washington I’ve lived in since moving from New York, but to a downtown bar called the Bottom Line. It’s here that I’ve spent the majority of my Sunday afternoons, sharing time with friends whose last names I will probably never know, individuals who got me through a broken engagement and the implosion of an industry to which I’d dedicated my adult life
In the last week of September, before the season began--that is, before the losing began--Phil Gary, then the head men's basketball coach at Chicago State University, stood on the black rubber track above the CSU stands and looked down onto the empty court. Seeing victories in his mind, he broke into a wide, toothy smile.