Was gonna say ...
Part of the problem is that Peter Gammons is, by all accounts, a kind, decent person who has a long track record of wanting to believe the best about people.
My guess is that killing one of his heroes for defending a pedophile on Twitter is not how @ChadFinn was hoping to start his day.
I never knew his collage band was called “Little Gam and the Athletes”. Heh.On June 10, 1968, just days after RFK’s assassination, senior-to-be Peter started a summer internship at the Boston Globe sports department. On that first day, he and another intern — a garrulous Boston College grad named Bob Ryan — were assigned to chronicle how MLB was planning to honor Kennedy. Peter called each American League team, while Ryan dialed every National League club. Their dual byline ran on 1A of the stocks edition that afternoon, and buddies already, they went to Boston’s Eire Pub to grab a beer and dream about careers as “ink-stained wretches.” Peter was hooked.
The legend of the Sunday Globe Baseball Notes column:By ’75, bench coach Johnny Pesky was hitting him pregame fungos, or Carl Yastrzemski was purposely smacking BP line drives to Peter in the gap. Through it all, he’d pick up nuggets and backstories. He’d then shower, visit the opposing manager and produce original copy full of trade chatter, clubhouse mischief and future stars. “I don’t know anybody who loves anything as much as Peter Gammons loves baseball,” Ryan says.
Classic Lou Gorman:That Sunday notes column was so rich, Globe sports editor Vince Doria says editors from other cities had him airmail it to them every Monday. GMs would pick Peter’s brain as much as he’d pick theirs. One year, he campaigned in print for the Red Sox to hire Orioles manager Earl Weaver. When Weaver got inundated with phone calls, he said, “What did that [bleeping] Gammons write this time?” Someone answered, “That the Red Sox need you and even if it’s $1 million a year, they gotta pay it.’’ Weaver responded, “I’ve always liked that Gammons."
His copy was littered with music, sarcasm and New England nuance, and Doria’s philosophy was he wouldn’t edit Peter if one out of five readers “got it.” To describe a disjointed Red Sox team, Peter wrote: “25 guys, 25 cabs.” When the Red Sox blew a key game on network TV in August of ’74, Peter wrote: “Like Richard Nixon, the Red Sox went on national television to announce their resignations from the race.”
Peter meets Theo:By then, Tigers pitcher Jack Morris had nicknamed him “The Commissioner,” and Peter says three or four MLB teams offered him front office jobs. Legend has it Peter once laid out a three-way trade proposal to Red Sox GM Lou Gorman, who responded, “I haven’t thought of anything like that.” To which Peter said, “Well, by God, you better start thinking of things like that.”
So Ted's drink was bourbon and tonic.During Game 3 of the ’98 Yankees-Padres World Series, Theo was in his usual post behind home plate, using a speed gun to input the velocity and pitch type up on the scoreboard. When suddenly, he says, Peter “appeared out of the ether.”
Every other writer was in the press box, but Peter was behind the batter’s box, picking Theo’s brain. He’d earlier filed Epstein’s name away in his baseball mind, and now they were finally meeting. Throughout the game, Theo was uncannily predicting which pitches Padre pitchers would throw and their locations. He saw Trevor Hoffman warm up for a save opportunity and told Peter, just from watching Hoffman’s arm speed, that Trevor was going to struggle. Sure enough, Hoffman blew the game.
I knew about his 2006 aneurysm, but nothing about his recent health problems. He still has a great attitude:Peter’s star shined so bright that even the Splendid Splitter, chronically annoyed at ink-stained wretches, would wave Peter over to tell stories over a bourbon and tonic. Did you know in 1941 Ted used to get updates on Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak from a Fenway scoreboard operator in left field and shout them over to Dom DiMaggio, Joe’s brother, in center?
This article is a must-read if you like Peter Gammons.For the past three years, Peter’s been stricken with multiple myeloma — a blood and bone disease — and needs a periodic form of chemo. “I tell people I’m like a 1995 Volvo with 160,000 miles,” Peter says. “I have to be maintained the rest of my life.”
Yeah, that's not true. Theo got into baseball by reaching out directly to Calvin Hill, who was working with the Orioles and had gone to Yale, for an internship while Theo was still in college (I believe that was his junior year). He got the internship and got to know the Orioles FO staff and the rest is history.Looking forward to reading it—thanks for linking.
I had thought that Gammons and Theo were neighbors in Brookline and Gammons made some of Theo’s early introductions in baseball. Anyone else recall that?
Reading that Gorman entry, I would have settled for Gammons to be "The General Manager" as opposed to "The Commissioner". What an old boys club back in the day, when there were legitimately sportswriters that could do their job better. The corporate nepotism does still happen nowadays, but it seems to be the exception rather than the rule.Classic Lou Gorman:
If I could be anybody in sports, I would be Peter Gammons.Gammons seems like a dude who’s lived an all time great life. The problem with being an athlete is you spend the second half of life missing what you love. Gammons still doesn’t have that problem.
A friend gave him a friendly hello some Opening Day, Gammons stopped, shook his hand, told him how great it was to see him. They had never met before. Absolutely the happiest guy around on his happiest day of the year.The second (and there was no interaction) but it was G1 of the 04 WS, and I had scored crazy good seats and after the Sox won 11-9, Gammons came bopping down the aisle to get on to the field to do interviews and as he floated by me, and nodded at my "hi Peter" he looked just so fucking happy.
One of my students went to the Winter Meetings a few years ago and came upon Peter eating at the hotel bar and introduced himself. As expected, Peter could not have been more cordial. Better person, indeed!Back in the early 90's, I tended bar at a place in CT that ESPN talent frequented. Peter would come in and eat at the bar a couple nights a week. He would talk baseball with anyone, but I preferred the place to be dead so I could monopolize his time. What a great writer, but a better person.
Alright, that's a nice story now could you spill some dirt on who were the a-holes/ lousy tippers/ do you know who I am ESPN types?Back in the early 90's, I tended bar at a place in CT that ESPN talent frequented. Peter would come in and eat at the bar a couple nights a week. He would talk baseball with anyone, but I preferred the place to be dead so I could monopolize his time. What a great writer, but a better person.
I met him at a Little Feat show at WPI in 1991. He couldn’t have been nicer. I’ll never forget asking him about Matt Young, and him not saying a word, but looking me right in the eye and shaking his head sadly.Very similar encounter for me too. I approached him for an autograph 25 years ago, and he was smiling the whole time I was walking up to him, instead of the typical "oh god, get me out of here" look.
Berman was a loud mouth, huge drinker, but generous. The “cmon leather, you’re with me”story is absolutely true.Alright, that's a nice story now could you spill some dirt on who were the a-holes/ lousy tippers/ do you know who I am ESPN types?
Today, I was taking a bunch of old newspapers out to the curb for recycling and the smell of the newsprint + 90+ degree heat hit me. And that combination is the smell of reading Gammons' Sunday column as a kid at the beach in the 90s. I would pour over his Sunday column, plus the weekly update to the stats page like it was my bible. Shit, it *was* my bible.Nice story, thanks for sharing. I loved his Sunday column when I was a kid, heck, how could there possibly be an entire page of baseball notes in the middle of the winter?
All of the anecdotes also don't square with the curmudgeon side he showed during paid radio interviews a couple of times. Peter was being showered with praise and was acting like he didn't even want to be there. Weird.