Sunday, February 08, 2004

The Last Commissioner
I am currently reading Fay Vincent's The Last Commissioner. So far, it is a fascinating book. The book is not so much an autobiography, but more a collection of stories and information about baseball. The sub-title, A Baseball Valentine certainly fits.

I would like to re-read the book with a highlighter and bookmarks handy so I can mark the more interesting tid-bits of the book.

Fay was involved in the Rose controversy and had a hand in imposing the lifetime ban. His version of the story is fascinating, and should be read by every person who bothered to read Rose's recent book.

Vincent grew up as a fan of the Yankees, and had the pleasure of knowing Joe DiMaggio. One of the best stories involves the 3 hour breakfast Fay had with DiMaggio and Ted Williams. A dream come true for any fan of the game.

I just read Fay's retelling of DiMaggio's memory of Lou Gehrig's farewell speech. In early 1939, Gehrig finally took himself out of the lineup (after 2,130 straight games), and was then diagnosed with ALS, a terminal disease. On July 4, the Yankees had a ceremony honoring Gehrig. Lou was not scheduled to speak. Just before he went to the field, he changed his mind and ad-libbed the now famous speech ("Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the planet.") Babe Ruth was standing nearby, having been retired for 4 years. It was rumored that Babe and Gehrig didn't get along, but DiMaggio says it was the two men's wives who had issues. After the speech, Ruth hugged Gehrig, and DiMaggio saw that Ruth had tears streaming down his face and that he was crying like a baby.

I have yet to finish the book, but look forward to reading the story of how the owners eventually pushed Fay out of baseball.

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