The Genius of Baseball’s Hillbilly Philosopher

By John Schulian Deadspin August 1, 2014 Dizzy Dean was baseball’s one-man free speech movement. There were big names with untamed mouths before him, of course, Babe Ruth being the obvious example, but the Babe was only too happy to take time out for the occasional...

The Great Seduction

By Alex Belth The Classical February 2014 They came to Ted Williams the way those eight ill-fated adventurers came to Everest, thinking they could scale it, conquer it, reduce it to something mortals could comprehend. John Updike almost made it to the top when he...

How One Of America’s Greatest Sportswriters Disappeared

By John Schulian Deadspin March 11, 2013 It was almost endearing how an ink-smudged, deadline-addicted newspaper editor of yore would squint through the smoke from his cigarette and ask a bright young man why the hell he wanted to write sports. An editor like that was...

Louis

By Nat Hentoff From Jazz Is 1976 Louis Armstrong, summoned by King Oliver, came up to Chicago in the summer of 1922, Buster Bailey reports that “Louis upset Chicago. All the musicians came to hear Louis. What made Louis upset Chicago so? His execution, for one thing,...

The Impression

By Pete Dexter Inside Sports December 1980 When I heard Ali had agreed to fight Holmes, the first thought I had was that Ali would be killed. The punch was five years gone, his hand speed had been mediocre over his last half dozen fights, and he’d been getting hit by...

Lenny

By Seymour Krim Nugget June 1963 We come, with mixed feelings, to the Case of Lenny Bruce. You probably have an opinion—who doesn’t?—but sit still long enough to hear ours. First, so that no matter how finky you finally think our stand is, let it be triple-clear that...

Good Old Sidney

By Alex Belth Bronx Banter June 15, 2011 My father was an incorrigible name dropper. He called famous actors and directors by their first names, suggesting an intimacy that didn’t always exist. He had met a lot of celebrities when he worked as a unit production...

George Kimball: The Professional

By John Schulian Bronx Banter July 8, 2011 George Kimball was blessed with the kind of voluble charm you find in an Irish bar, and, brother, let me tell you he’d been in a few. No amount of drink, however, could rein in his galloping intelligence. It was as pure a...

The Tools of his Trade

By David Maraniss From Run to Daylight! Foreword to the 2014 edition For two summers while I was researching the biography When Pride Still Mattered, I lived in New York. Day after day I would venture out to Sheepshead Bay, where Vince Lombardi was born and reared; or...

Why Has the Fun Fled Fun City?

By Joe Flaherty The Village Voice October 27, 1966 They all stood there waiting for the helicopter to come down. You had the feeling some of them wouldn’t have minded if it didn’t make it on its own power. Up in the sky was the mayor of New York, John V. Lindsay. He...

A Sportswriter Goes to War

By Alex Belth Introduction from Southwest Passage 2013 When he went off to cover the war in the Pacific in January 1943, John Lardner was twenty-nine years old and, thanks to his weekly column in Newsweek, already a major figure in sportswriting. Nothing at Madison...

Me and My Old Man

By Paul Hemphill From The Good Old Boys 1974 ICC is a-checkin on down the line, Well, I’m a little overweight And my log book’s way behind; Nothin’ bothers me tonight, I can dodge all the scales all right; Six days on the road And I’m a-gonna make it home...