Here’s Gary Cartwright, one of the great Texas sports writers, rising to the occasion after Don Meredith failed to do so for the Dallas Cowboys:
Outlined against a blue-gray November sky, the Four Horsemenn rode again: Pestilence, Death, Famine, and Meredith.
The great Jim Murray on the Indy 500:
Gentlemen, start your coffins.
Vic Ziegel, on the facts of life:
The game is never over until the last man is out, the New York Post learned late last night.
John Updike on Ted Williams’ final game:
Fenway Park, in Boston, is a lyric little bandbox of a ballpark.
How about another John Lardner classic:
When Ezzard Charles won the heavyweight championship by licking J.J. Walcott, two years ago, Ezzard’s manager, Jake (Madman) Mintz, passed out in the ring. Last July when Walcott won the title, it was Charles who fell, while Jake remained on his feet throughout That is my idea of a perfect partnership — always one man conscious, to count the house.
Dig Murray Kempton on Willie Mays:
There was this moment when Willie Mays caught the last ball hit in the National League in 1962 and turned and laughed and threw it at the right-field foul pole. It was his ball and he could do what he pleased with it.
All of a sudden, you remembered all the promises the rich have made to the poor for the last 13 years and the only one that was kept was the promise about Willie Mays. They told us then that he would be the greatest baseball player we would ever see, and he was.
Here’s how Jimmy Cannon said goodbye to Doc Kearns, who managed Jack Dempsey and broke four banks in Shelby, Montana, with a single fight:
It took him 80 years, but Doc Kearns, who died yesterday, finally proved he was right. Daytime’s for sleeping. Nights are for laughs. The working day is nine to five. Doc never played a hand in that game.
And here’s one of my absolute favorites, from WC Heinz’s classic story, The Brownsville Bum
It’s a funny thing about people. People will hate a guy all his life for what he is, but the minute he dies for it they make him out a hero and they go around saying that maybe he wasn’t such a bad guy after all because he sure was willing to go the distance for whatever he believed or whatever he was.
That’s the way it was with Bummy Davis. The night Bummy fought Fritzie Zivic in the Garden and Zivic started giving him the business and Bummy hit Zivic low maybe 30 times and kicked the referee, they wanted to hang him for it. The night those four guys came into Dudy’s bar and tried the same thing, only with rods, Bummy went nuts again. He flattened the first one and then they shot him, and when everybody read about it, and how Bummy fought guns with only his left hook and died lying in the rain in front of the place, they all said he was really something and you sure had to give him credit at that.
“So you’re Al Davis?” one of the hoods said. “Why you punch-drunk bum.”
And you can’t beat that with a stickball bat.