"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Bo Knows Booty

Over at Deadspin, here’s my guy Pat Jordan on Bo Belinsky:

No character in sports was more authentic than Robert “Bo” Belinsky, a left-handed pitcher in the ’60s. Bo personified “cool,” real cool that was intrinsic to his nature, not his public persona. As a rookie, Bo pitched the first no-hitter in California major league history for the Angels. It made him a star and an instant celebrity whose name became synonymous with a lifestyle that was cool and slick and dazzling. But that no-hitter was the high point of Bo’s career, which, after eight years, saw him leave baseball with a 28-51 record.

After his no-hitter in 1962, Bo said, “If music be the food of love, by all means let the band play on.” Bo instantly became the first original playboy-athlete. He f**ked Ann-Margret, Mamie Van Doren, Tina Louise, Connie Stevens, and he partied with Eddie Fisher, Dean Martin, and Henry Fonda. But in those days f**king Hollywood starlets and showing up at his team’s hotel at 5 a.m., “reeking of bitch and booze,” was not exactly what team owners, managers, sportswriters, and fans expected from their idols. Bo was suspended, arrested, banished to the minor leagues, traded, and traded again and again, which confused him. Bo never understood an essential fact of celebrity in those days. He never had that knack of later, more beloved playboy athletes like Joe Namath of cultivating his persona precisely up to, but not beyond, that point at which his public would become annoyed, bored, and eventually furious with him. By the time Bo left baseball his name had become synonymous with dissipated talent.


1 Capital Yank   ~  Mar 24, 2011 3:21 pm

Wow. What a f**king story. Jordan is a thrill to read.

2 Raf   ~  Mar 24, 2011 4:23 pm

I can only imagine how a player like Belinsky could be handled now, in this day and age.

3 RagingTartabull   ~  Mar 24, 2011 5:47 pm

that was great.

In one of his podcasts a few weeks ago Bill Simmons had a line about Shaq where he compared him to "the kid in college who if he really applied himself could've graduated with a 4.0 and first in his class, but instead he decided to just have an awesome time and graduate with the 3.25"

I think that was a great line and could apply to so many players in every sport (Dennis Rodman and Jason Giambi jump immediately to mind), some fans feel cheated by that. I don't, I like guys who look like they're actually enjoying themselves.

4 Alex Belth   ~  Mar 24, 2011 9:38 pm

I remember Joe Morgan writing about that in his autobiography. Said that Jimmy Winn, who was a great talent, simply didn't care about being a great player enough. Or, he wasn't willing to sacrifice the nightlife, drinking, women, in order to just focus on baseball. Joe would go from the park to the hotel room, Winn would go out and party. Morgan was the greater player, Winn had a better time.

5 RagingTartabull   ~  Mar 25, 2011 9:11 am

I didn't even think of it yesterday, but isn't David Wells kinda the ultimate example of what we're talking about here?

I'd say Doc and Darryl are the extreme other end of the spectrum

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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