Damn Black Sox

By Bruce Buschel GQ June 1988 It is World Series weather in Indianapolis. Thirty-five degrees. Charlie Sheen is dancing around center field, trying to warm up. He is worried about his arm tightening up before the big throw. He worries whenever he can. He worries about...

Steve Dalkowski

By Ron Shelton From Cult Baseball Players 1990 It was a groundskeeper in Stockton who first told me about Steve Dalkowski, the fastest pitcher of all time. Dalko once threw the ball through the wooden boards of the right-field fence, he said. The groundskeeper studied...

Where Have You Gone, Mickey Mantle?

By Bruce Buschel Atlantic City Magazine April, 1984 You smell hot dogs and beer. You feel the anticipation. Men sport bright caps with fancy insignias. Women wear shiny team jackets two sizes too large. Kids struggle with long leather mitts. They hand over their...

Down and Out in the Minor Leagues

By J. Anthony Lukas Harper’s June 1968 “Ladies and gentlemen, we regret there will be no national anthem tonight,” the public address system announced to 159 ladies and gentlemen and about 9,841 empty seats in Knoxville’s Billy Meyer (pronounced Billa Maahr) Stadium...

Controlling Force

By Tom Boswell Playboy August 1996 Greg Maddux, the best pitcher since Sandy Koufax, is warming up in the Atlanta Braves’ bullpen. Danny Bowden, 11, and Matt Korpi, 10, think they’ve gone to someplace better than heaven. They haven’t died. But they do have front-row...

Farewell to a Gamer

By John Schulian The Stacks Reader 2019 Bill Buckner came to the big leagues as a headstrong kid who could outrun everything except self-doubt and hobbled out of the game under the longest shadow a simple ground ball ever cast. But it was between the poles of his...

The Untouchable

By Fred Schruers 7 Days May 31, 1989 Rickey Henderson was staring at second base as if it offended his eye in some way. He was standing in the familiar elbows-back, chin-up pointer stance he assumes anytime his feet are treading base-path dirt, but this was inside the...

Summers of Love

By Glenn Stout SportBoston May 1990 In the end, one of Tony Conigliaro’s longtime friends said it best. “Did the guy ever have any luck at all? Any?” asked Bill Bates, a former trainer for the New England Patriots. “Never. Zero.” From his Fenway Park debut, on April...

Surrogate Family

By J. Anthony Lukas From Birth of a Fan 1993 When I was four years old, my mother took me to my first evening at the theater—The Bumblebee Prince, an operetta by Rimsky-Korsakov, based on a story by Pushkin. By all reports, I was utterly entranced and, when the...

Pearl

By Charles P. Pierce The National Sports Daily February 8, 1990 It is a second-generation nickname. So many of them are these days. Young Glenn Rivers once wore a Julius Erving T-shirt to a basketball camp, for instance, and Rivers has been “Doc” all the way from...

Lips Get Smacked

By Bruce Buschel Philadelphia Magazine January 1993 You don’t often see a contortionist wearing a black leather Red skins cap in the baccarat pit playing around with $20,000 at 1 a.m. on a Tuesday morning. You stop and watch. Though seated, his body is arced like a...

The Doc Will See You Now, Mr. Perez

By Peter Richmond The National Sports Daily April 8, 1990 The day Pascual Perez has finally reached the New York Yankees spring training camp, a clubhouse man entrusted with Perez’s jewelry bag is unable to resist the temptation to put it on the scale on which the New...