I recently finished reading Sports Illustrated collection Great Baseball Writing, which gathers about 60 articles from over the last 60 years, all on baseball. It was a fantastic book, and I loved every minute of it. Of course, with nearly 60 articles, some stand out more than others. Here are a list of my favorites, along with the header description included with each article.
“Spring Has Sprung” by Frank Deford (April 10, 1978)
It’s Opening Day, so buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack, remember to hold the label up, and please, please tell me Who’s on First.
“The Ballad of Joe Moock” by Steve Rushin (June 29, 1998)
Sailors have the Bermuda Triangle; the Mets have third base. When the author composed this epic tribute, the New Yorkers had, in 36 years, employed 112 different men at the hot corner, none of them all that hot.
“The Transistor Kid” by Robert Creamer (May 4, 1964)
When Vin Scully came to Los Angeles with the transplanted Brooklyn Dodgers, he was a stranger in alien corn. But he soon became as much a part of Southern California as the freeways.
“The Bird Fell to Earth” by Gary Smith (April 7, 1986)
For one fairy-tale year, Mark Fidrych was king of baseball, but the reign ended far too soon.
“The Left Arm of God” by Tom Verducci (July 12, 1999)
He was a consummate artist on the mound, the most dominant player of his time, yet he shunned fame and always put the team above self. On the field or off, Sandy Koufax was pitcher perfect.
“At the End of the Curse, a Blessing” by Tom Verducci (December 6, 2004)
The 2004 Boston Red Sox staged the most improbable comeback in baseball history and liberated their long-suffering nation of fans.
“Benching of a Legend” by Roger Kahn (September 12, 1960)
The prideful struggle of an aging Stan Musial to prolong his career–a painful experience for everyone involved–was poignantly recounted by one of the most astute observers of the game.
“Still a Grand Old Game” by Roger Kahn (August 16-30, 1976)
Touring the baseball world, the author of The Boys of Summer found that the national pastime retained all of its charms, whether played in suburbia, the Ozarks or at Chavez Ravine.
“It’s Gone! Goodbye!” by Tom Verducci (September 22, 2008)
Before a wrecking ball took its cuts at old Yankee Stadium, the walls of this American monument spoke and shared a few final secrets
I really enjoyed all of the long pieces, but these 9 were outstanding. So much so, that I am now a subscriber to Sports Illustrated. In a bit of serendipity, my niece was raising money for her girl scout troop selling magazine subscription. Sports Illustrated was one of them. So: two birds, one stone.