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Thomas Hauser on Sports

Remembering the Journey

Thomas Hauser

Publication Year: 2013

Thomas Hauser is best known as Muhammad Ali’s biographer and for his recording of the contemporary boxing scene. Booklist called Hauser “the most respected boxing journalist working today and perhaps the best ever.” Robert Lipsyte said Hauser is “the best boxing writer of our time.” Still, Hauser’s love of sports began not with boxing but with baseball. Long before he turned to the sweet science, America’s national pastime had captured his heart. His childhood allegiance was to the New York Yankees. Growing up in the suburbs of New York, he cheered for the Giants in football and Knicks in basketball. In college, the often-hapless Columbia Lions became his cause. Thomas Hauser on Sports brings together Hauser’s articles on sports other than boxing. It combines personal memories with issue-oriented commentary and an intimate look at some of the most remarkable athletes of modern times. Hauser has dealt one-on-one with Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Arnold Palmer, Pete Rose, Arthur Ashe, Wilt Chamberlain, and other giants of sports. He has crossed swords with the likes of Marvin Miller and Howard Cosell. Thomas Hauser on Sports is a remarkable journey that begins in the days of Hauser’s youth and follows the games we play into the era of steroids and multi-billion-dollar television contracts.

Published by: University of Arkansas Press

Title Page, Other Works by the Author, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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A Word of Introduction

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pp. ix-x

... My first love was baseball. Over the years, I?ve achieved recognitionas a boxing writer. But long before I turned to the sweet science,?America?s national pastime? captured my heart. I followed boxing, but My childhood allegiance was to the New York Yankees. Growing upin the suburbs of New York, I also cheered for the Giants (in football),...

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When the World Was Young

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pp. 1-5

As I noted in this article for Sports Illustrated, there was a time whennostalgia was a feeling that reflected the innocent side of sports; not a In January 1962, Milwaukee Braves pitcher Warren Spahn changedmy life. I was fifteen years old, an avid sports fan who read everything I could about baseball. A magazine had just published an article about...

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A Yankee Fan Grows Older

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pp. 6-8

Revisiting the touchstones of one?s youth can bring mixed emotions Once upon a time, believe it or not, doubleheaders were regularlyscheduled by the lords of baseball. In 1961 (the year Roger Maris hitsixty-one home runs), the New York Yankees played twelve Sunday double -headers at home. A box seat cost $3.50. General admission was $1.30. The...

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“Hello, Kid”: A Conversation with Babe Ruth

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pp. 9-12

For many baseball fans, Babe Ruth is still the overriding mythic person-Q: Well, sir; I?m writing an article, and I wondered if I could ask you a fewQ: Thank you, sir. The first question I have is, do you play baseball up inBabe Ruth: Do we play baseball? Kid, this is heaven. Of course we playBabe Ruth: It is a league. In fact, there?s two leagues with eight teams...

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When Time Stopped for Baseball

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pp. 13-15

Children growing up today will have their own World Series memories. During childhood, when baseball most mattered to me, I was a It was a glorious era. I was born in 1946; and during a sixteen-yearperiod from 1949 through 1964, the Yankees were in the World Series The Yankees I grew up with were epitomized by Mickey Mantle, Yogi...

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The Greatest Baseball Game Ever Played

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pp. 16-19

My love of sports began as a child, and escalated when my uncle took me A panel of sportswriters met recently to select ?The Greatest BaseballGame Ever Played.? The results were predictable. Bobby Thomson?s mir-aclehome run; Don Larson?s perfect game; Boston 7, Cincinnati 6 in thesixth game of the 1975 World Series. It?s too bad no one asked for my...

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Hero

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pp. 20-22

Two outs; bases loaded; a hated rival . . . It was every boy?s dream. Sleep-away camp wasn?t bad. It?s just that I spent most of the summerhoping the place would burn down so I could go home. I was thirteenyears old, fat, homesick, and mercilessly picked on. In retrospect, I probablywould have picked on me too. The only thing of consequence I could ...

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Jerry Izenberg: An Appreciation

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pp. 23-30

Jerry Izenberg is a joy. It was a pleasure to write this article for and about The definitive history of contemporary sports in America has alreadybeen written. It starts in 1962 and continues to the present day. It encom-passes the rise of the black athlete, westward expansion, the explosion ofbig money, and the dominance of television. There are vivid portraits of...

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Bill Bradley Remembered

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pp. 31-33

Bill Bradley is my idea of what a public servant should be. But like mil- The first time I saw Bill Bradley, I was a freshman at Columbia andhe was a junior at Princeton. It was Saturday night, January 18, 1964, atColumbia?s antiquated University Gymnasium. The Lions had an ordinary Despite being only twenty years old, Bradley had captivated the...

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Wilt Chamberlain (1936–1999)

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pp. 34-37

I got to know Wilt Chamberlain through my association with Muhammad As Jerry West recently observed, ?Wilt Chamberlain was one of those Chamberlain entered the NBA in 1959, and changed the way thegame was played with his unique combination of size, agility, and strength.He was the league?s dominant player for fourteen years; first with the...

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Ted Williams (1918–2002)

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pp. 38-41

A boxing website headquartered in England was an unusual place towrite about an American baseball player. But that was my forum when The fraternity of great athletes transcends any one particular sport.The death of one is felt by all. Death is a reminder that, no matter howyoung and strong an athlete might be, the body that serves as a vehicle to...

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Howard Cosell (1918–1995)

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pp. 42-44

Writing Howard Cosell?s obituary presented the problem of how to rec-oncile the man?s enormous contribution to sports journalism with hisdeparted. So let it be said first that Howard Cosell changed the face ofsports commentary in America. There were talented broadcasters beforehim, but Cosell brought something new to the game?a willingness to...

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Arthur Ashe (1943–1993)

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pp. 45-48

Arthur Ashe was a graceful man in both his professional and personal life.Garden last night (February 6, 1993). Years from now, what I?ll remembermost about the evening is a moment of shared grief. Shortly before the There was a moan of collective sorrow from the crowd. A good manhas been taken from us long before what should have been his time....

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Are Baseball Ballplayers Happy?: A Personal Memory of Marvin Miller

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pp. 49-59

Marvin Miller deserves to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.But like the people who have conspired to deny him his due, I have less Marvin Miller is a towering figure in sports history. In 1966, when hewas elected executive director the Major League Baseball PlayersAssociation, players were bound to their club by a ?reserve clause? that...

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Arnold Palmer at Seventy-Five

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pp. 60-66

This article was written for the Sunday Times (of London) in 2004. Great athletes come and go in sports, but only a few change the waytheir sport is perceived. Muhammad Ali did it with boxing. Pele did itwith soccer. And Arnold Palmer did it with golf. Now a milestone is at Palmer has aged well. There are a few chronic aches in his hip and...

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The Political Side of Arnold Palmer

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pp. 67-69

Following my celebration of Arnold Palmer?s seventy-fifth birthday, I As the United States readies for the 2004 presidential election, polit-ical memories come to mind. I?ve spent a lot of time with MuhammadAli, who embodied one set of values in the turbulent 1960s. But I?m alsofamiliar with sportsmen who championed the opposite side of the polit-...

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Invite Everyone to the Dance

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pp. 70-72

As decades pass, college basketball moves ever more distant from its roots. You see it on television every year on the day that has becomeknown as ?Selection Sunday.? Young men who play basketball for teams?on the bubble? anxiously sit and wait. Then the NCAA men?s champi-onship basketball tournament brackets are announced, bringing joy to...

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The Ten Greatest Moments in American Sports

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pp. 73-77

In 2005, the Observer Sports Monthly asked me to compile a list of theten greatest moments in American sports, ranking them from #1 through#10. When the article was published, I was mortified to see that the rank-ings had been reordered. The explanation given to me was, ?This way,they fit better with the photographs.? My original list follows....

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The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

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pp. 78-83

... Dogs have been part of western culture for as long as . . . Well, for aslong as there has been western culture. When Odysseus returned homedisguised as a beggar after years of wandering, only his faithful huntingdog recognized him. In Greek mythology, the three-headed Cerberus Millions of Americans grew up watching Lassie and Rin Tin Tin on...

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Extreme-Ultimate-No-Holds-Barred Fighting

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pp. 84-88

I don?t like mixed martial arts. But it?s a phenomenon the boxing worldcan?t ignore. The following article was written in 1997, just as the sport Mixed martial arts competitions aren?t very popular in the boxing Chris Thorne(president of the Boxing Writers Association of America):?I despise them. They?re brutal; they?re senseless. It?s not a sport; just a...

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Sport Magazine and Those Total Encyclopedias

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pp. 89-91

The easy availability of sports data online has diminished the need forprint encyclopedias. Still, a tip of the hat to Sports Media Enterprises was Statistics are the lifeblood of sports. Few people remember more thanone or two home runs that Hank Aaron hit, but they know he hit 755 ofthem. Wayne Gretzky rewrote hockey?s record book. Wilt Chamberlain...

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Upset ! ! !

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pp. 92-106

An invincible champion; an overmatched foe. In 1997, I selected and Americans love upsets. Ever since George Washington coached the Continental Army to victory over England?s top-ranked Big RedMachine, the nation has carried a soft spot in its heart for underdogs.Nowhere is that fondness more dearly held or more exuberantly expressed...

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Larry Merchant: Play 42

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pp. 107-111

When Larry Merchant turned seventy-five, I commemorated the occasionby writing about a little-known facet of his life: his exploits on the gridiron. This Saturday is a time of celebration. Larry Merchant, the heart andsoul of HBO Boxing, will turn seventy-five. Merchant was born in NewYork on February 11, 1931. He?s best known to sports fans for his associ-...

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Black and White and Sports Illustrated’s “Sportsman of the Year”

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pp. 112-115

Sports Illustrated?s choice for ?Sportsman of the Year? is always analyzed Each year since 1954, Sports Illustrated has honored a ?Sportsman ofthe Year.? As defined by the magazine, the award is bestowed upon ?theathlete or team whose performance that year most embodies the spirit of This year?s honoree is Michael Phelps. I don?t question his creden-...

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Hypocrisy at West Point

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pp. 116-118

There are a lot of ?feel-good? stories in college sports. This one was Caleb Campbell (United States Military Academy, class of 2008) istwenty-three years old and was captain of the 2007 Army football team.Less admirably, he is a prime example of the hypocrisy that attends thewar currently being waged at the behest of his commander in chief....

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West Point Revisited

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pp. 119-126

The outpouring of mail I received in response to ?Hypocrisy at West Earlier this month, I wrote an article entitled ?Hypocrisy at WestPoint? that called into question a policy known as the ?AlternativeService Option.? In relevant part, that policy states, ?Army cadet-athletesnow have options to pursue professional athletic opportunities thanks to...

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Tim McCarver

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pp. 127-135

Tim McCarver is one of the most articulate, knowledgeable, likeable menin sports. It was a pleasure to talk with him at the start of the 1999 base- Tim McCarver, the son of a policeman, was born and raised inMemphis. He was a multi-sport athlete in high school, and received foot-ball scholarship offers from dozens of colleges, including Notre Dame,...

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If Disaster Strikes

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pp. 136-141

Air travel is essential to modern sports. But with professional athletes log-ging millions of miles in the air each year, one has to wonder what wouldhappen if disaster struck. In the early 1990s, The National (a daily sports As a young man, Muhammad Ali was terrified of flying. He talked ofwithdrawing from the 1960 Olympics because the United States Olympic...

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The NFL Overtime Rule

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pp. 142-144

The NFL has changed its overtime rule since this article was written in2003. The rule is still a work in progress, but it?s getting better. The first overtime game in National Football League history was a1955 preseason contest between the New York Giants and Los AngelesRams. The game was played in Portland, Oregon. Its promoter, Harry...

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Roar, Lion, Roar: Columbia Football

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pp. 145-148

I?ve followed Columbia football as a long-suffering fan for decades. The first two college football games ever played were betweenPrince ton and Rutgers in 1869. The third college gridiron match-up wasbetween Columbia and Rutgers a year later. Columbia lost that game and * Entering the 2003 season, Columbia had lost 559 games. Only four...

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Columbia Basketball

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pp. 149-152

This was a companion piece to my article about Columbia football. Last Sunday, the National Football League playoffs were building indrama. The Indianapolis Colts were challenging the Kansas City Chiefs, So naturally, I was at home watching football on television. Right? Wrong! Actually, I was at Levien Gym on the Columbia University...

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Columbia Baseball

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pp. 153-156

... Moments of athletic glory for Columbia have been few and farbetween. The university is known for struggling in major sports. Its soleIvy League titles in football (1961) and basketball (1968) are distant mem-ories. College baseball might not be ?major,? but the Lions have struggled It wasn?t always so. All one has to do is go back 102 years to September...

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I’ve Been to the Mountaintop: A Sports Fan Is Painted by LeRoy Neiman

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pp. 157-162

LeRoy Neiman has had a front-row seat on the sports scene for almost And with a simple act of kindness, LeRoy Neiman added to the good Neiman was born in Minnesota on June 8, 1921. His father (CharlesRunquist) was an unskilled laborer, who abandoned the family whenLeRoy was young. His mother remarried twice, and LeRoy took the sur-...

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Mickey Mantle:A Personal Remembrance

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pp. 163-165

On the third anniversary of Mickey Mantle?s death, I reminisced about In 1964, when I was eighteen years old, I met Mickey Mantle?sort of. Mantle was in the fourteenth year of a glorious career that would seehim hit 536 home runs, win three Most Valuable Player Awards, and play I was a sophomore at Columbia University and hosted a weekly radio...

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Marv Albert:“Yesss!”

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pp. 166-168

Just after Marv Albert?s comeback began, I spent some time with him for At 10:25 on a brisk November night, a middle-aged man with afamiliar face stepped onto the set of a small television studio on the fourthfloor of Madison Square Garden. The man seemed a bit nervous. ?I stillget butterflies before a show,? he acknowledged. ?But I think that?s good....

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Pete Rose: A Meeting Remembered

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pp. 169-175

This is a story that I began writing in 1985 and finished writing almost After fourteen years of denying that he bet on baseball, Pete Rosenow admits, not only that he bet on baseball but also that he bet on gamesinvolving teams that he managed. The admission comes in a book entitledMy Prison Without Bars. Bud Selig, the commissioner of Major League...

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Baseball’s Steroid Problem

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pp. 176-181

As the 2005 season began, Major League Baseball faced a scandal of a Recent reports of steroid use by Major League Baseball players areshadowing the start of the 2005 season. A federal grand jury has heard tes-timony regarding alleged steroid use by Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield, andJason Giambi. Jose Conseco claims in a new book to have shot up with...

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In the Press Box

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pp. 182-185

... Let?s get the bad stuff out of the way first. Entering the 2009 season,the Columbia football team had lost 605 games. Only two teams in col-lege football history?Northwestern (614 losses) and VMI (612)?havelost more. The last Columbia coach to compile a winning record was The first Columbia football game I saw was the home opener against...

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Courtside with David Diamante

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pp. 186-189

This was an exercise in watching a basketball game through different eyes. Boxing fans know David Diamante as a guy with dreadlocks thatreach below his waist and as one of the best ring announcers in the busi-ness. The sweet science is his first love. But recently, it has been his sec- Since the start of the 2011?12 NBA season, Diamante has been the...

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I Could Always Hit a Baseball

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pp. 190-193

... Baseball might no longer be America?s national pastime, but it?s still Robert Frost wrote, ?Some baseball is the fate of us all. For my part, Jacques Barzun added, ?Whoever would understand the heart and Baseball is also deeply ingrained in memories of childhood. Unlike afootball or basketball, a baseball is manageable in a child?s hand....

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Destroying the High Temple

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pp. 194-197

... For thousands of years, the most physically imposing buildings onearth were temples, churches, and mosques. In the twentieth century, new Yankee Stadium is the most storied of these contemporary shrines.When it opened in 1923, baseball was in the shadow of the 1919 BlackSox Scandal, and the wounds from the long war between the American...

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Long Ago at Madison Square Garden

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pp. 198-201

As William Wordsworth wrote many years ago, ?The child is father of the On October 26, 1961, I went to a Knicks game at Madison SquareGarden. I know the date because I still have the program. It was part of anNBA doubleheader. That should give you an idea of how the National In autumn 1961, the NBA consisted of nine teams. Its brightest stars...

Back Cover

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p. 213-213


E-ISBN-13: 9781610755245
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557286352

Page Count: 185
Publication Year: 2013