Friday, September 08, 2006

Sports and Society

Former U.S.Chief Justice Earl Warren read the sports pages of the newspaper first thing in the morning. For this he was either scorned or put down.

I too read the sports pages first.

We are taping a Think Tank program today with WashPostie David Maraniss about Roberto Clemente entitled Clemente, with a sub-title. It's a wonderful book.

Clemente was a Hall-of-Famer, regarded as the player with the best throwing arm from right field in baseball history. He had exactly three thousand base hits, which puts him up there with the likes of Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby and Tris Speaker.

He was killed in the course of trying to bring in supplies to a hurricane-ravaged Central American country.

Clemente was an angry man, criticized for being both black and Latino. He uses words that are very, very un-PC today.

But in Pittsburgh, not a town not known for racial/ethnic amity (although probably no worse than other Northern cities) he became a big hero. He pirated their affections. He changed the culture.

It's a big time, world-class pheonomena. There have been "soccer wars" and "Ping-Pong diplomacy."

The story of Jackie Robinson of my much be-loved Brooklyn Dodgers has been well-chronicled.

This may be the first book that explains the Latino impact on sports and society. Latinos now dominate MLB.

I like to plan ahead. I am working now on Tales of a Neo-Con --- which tries to set the record straight about a much-maligned political persuasion. Also on this blog, which I find very fascinating and very frustrating, more the former than the latter.

I am thinking of doing my Next Book (G-d Willing) on a legendary NIT (then bigger than the NCAA) game that matched CCNY (now part of CUNY) against basketball power-house University of Kentucky. It's tentative title is Jews, Blacks and Adolph Rupp. (Rupp was the gruff rough legendary coach of U.KY.)

City College was the under-dog, and we love underdogs (sacro-cannophiliac was a coinage of my favorite English Professor, Otto Eugene August Richard Schoen-Rene')

CCNY blew out Kentucky --- I believe the score was 90-45 (!)

Our center (6'3" tall "Leopard Ed" Warner took the opening tip from 7' 00" Kaintuck center Bill Spivey.) Warner had preceded me at DeWitt Clinton High School. I saw him play many times. He was razzed when he dunked, then regarded as show-boating)

The rest of Coach Nat Holman's team was composed almost entirely of the previous years NYNY High School All-Star Team. They played at CCNY as Freshmen. All were either blacks or Jews.

That, too, changed the way we live. It certainly did so for me,



Anonymous Jon said...

I couldn't find an email address on this site, so I did some searching and sent an email to your address at AEI about CCNY and Kentucky.

I'd appreciate if you could reply back.



September 09, 2006  

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