"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Tag: Roy Blount

You Can Say I'm Sorta the Boss So Get Lost

Speaking of the Seventies…how about the Cobra?

Here’s Roy Blount, writing in Sports Illustrated about Parker back in the spring of 1979:

“He’s like the 10th man in Softball out there,” says First Baseman Stargell. “On a ground ball he’s backing up first before I’m there to take the throw. We were both after a foul ball one time with our arms outstretched, and we came together face to face like two big pairs of scissors. It was the only time I ever kissed him. We hit and flew apart by yards and yards.” Parker covers second on infield pop-ups, he gets involved in rundowns between second and third, he is everywhere. Pete Rose may be Charlie Hustle, but Parker hustles just as hard and considerably faster.

On the bases, too, he takes all he can get. Says Parker, “The highlight of the game to me is scoring from first on a double in such a way that people look at me in amazement, as if they’re saying, ‘My, how fast that big man can move.’ ”

Big he is—6’5″, 230 pounds. His legs terminate, after a lengthy run, in an upper body that looks like two Doberman pinschers bound tightly together. In addition to his speed afoot, he has general quickness—hence his nickname, Cobra—and a rifle arm. “He’s one of those rare individuals who come along every 15 or 20 years,” says Stargell. “Rare, and unique, and strong.”

Diggin in the Crates (Rain, Rain Stay Away)

One of the most exciting events of the spring has been the recent launching of the SI Vault. Talk about an embarassment of riches. Dag. To my dismay, the site does not offer anything close to a complete author index, making finding stuff a frustrating experience at best. I can only hope that this is a temporary problem, because it would be a real shame for something as rich and varied as the SI archives to be needlessly difficult to navigate.

Still, here are a couple of gems for you as we wait for today’s game. No telling if the rain will mess with things this afternoon. It’s warm and foggy this morning and the sun is even shinning here and there in the Bronx. I’m gunna throw up this game thread now cause I won’t be around for the start of the game. If they get it in, Andy Pettitte will make his first start of the year. If there is a delay, grab another bowl of soup, and consider the following bag o treats from the SI vault.

Come Down Selector:

A Diamond in the Ashes: Robert Lipsyte’s highly critical take on the rennovated Yankee Stadium (April, 1976).

This Old House: William Nack’s essay on the Stadium (June, 1999), and The Colossus, his piece on the Babe (August, 1998).

The Play that Beat the Bums: Ron Fimrite’s look back at the Mickey Owens game and the 1941 season (October, 1997).

Mickey Mantle: Richard Hoffer’s piece on the legacy of the last great player on the last great team (August, 1995).

A Real Rap Session: Peter Gammons talks hitting with Ted Williams, Don Mattingly and Wade Boggs from the Baseball Preivew issue (April, 1986).

Yogi: Roy Blount’s takeout piece on the Yankee legend (April, 1984).

Once He Was an Angel (March, 1972) and Tom Terrific and His Mystic Talent (July, ’72), two classic portraits (Bo Belinsky and Tom Seaver) by Pat Jordan.

No Place in the Shade: Mark Kram considered this portrait of Cool Papa Bell to be his finest work for SI (August, 1973). And while we’re on Kram, check out A Wink at a Homely Girl, his wonderful piece about his hometown Baltimore that appeared on the eve of the ’66 World Serious (October, 1966).

Laughing on the Outside: John Schulian’s fine appreciation of the great Josh Gibson (June, 2000).

And finally, He Does it By the Numbers: Dan Okrent’s landmark essay, you know, the one that “discovered” Bill James (March, 1981).

There, that should keep you busy for more than a minute.

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