Category Archives: sports history

The modest birth of a sporting spectacle

TweetThis NFL Films clip of Super Bowl I gives you an indication how far ahead of their times the likes of Pete Rozelle and Lamar Hunt truly were. The celebrity sightings and entertainment pizzazz were there from the start. We’ve gone from birds flying overhead in 1967 to fighter jets, pop culture halftime shows and [...]

Sports History Files: Baseball’s hidebound gatekeepers

TweetThis time a year ago I wrote about baseball’s dwindling Romantics — those who have Hall of Fame votes but want to deny any player they suspect of steroids use from a having a plaque in Cooperstown — and thought the matter couldn’t get any more bizarre.
But that was last year. The addition next summer [...]

Backtracking 2013: The best of Sports History Files

TweetOn Monday, I wrote about the marvelous longform sportswriting that continues to proliferate on the Web, despite some crabbiness to the contrary.
Today I’m linking to posts I wrote in the past year about sports history, one of the foundations of this blog and something that will become a stronger focus here in the coming [...]

Sports History Files: Remembering Walt Bellamy

TweetThere have been some marvelous tributes over the weekend to Walt Bellamy, the NBA Hall of Famer who died on Saturday at the age of 74.
He had played for five other NBA teams when he joined the Atlanta Hawks I grew up watching, and featured on a team with Pete Maravich and Lou Hudson that [...]

Midweek Books: Remembrances of Octobers past

TweetIt’s been 36 years — my high school days! — since the legend of “Mr. October” was cemented.
Reggie Jackson was the catalyst of three consecutive World Series championship teams with the Oakland Athletics in the mid-1970s. After he signed with the Yankees as a free agent, guiding title teams in 1977 and 1978, that moniker, [...]

Sports History Files: A century of ‘reforming’ football

TweetFollowing the suicide of former NFL All-Pro linebacker Junior Seau last year, and the media frenzy that surrounded his San Diego-area home, Buzz Bissinger blasted the press for trying to perpetuate a narrative he thought foolhardy as he asserted that the culture of violence in football was essentially unreformable.
(A few months later, Bissinger called for [...]

Sports History Files: A continuing hold on Mayo’s anguish

TweetWhile American football fans were awakening to seemingly endless hours of NFL pregame shows Sunday morning, there were a few souls in their midst gathering mainly in Irish pubs to watch the finals of another football code on other shores.
And to see if a long-lamented club could end more than 60 years of agony.
In the [...]

Sports History Files: Women and long-distance swimming

TweetIt didn’t take long for some eyebrows to be raised over Diana Nyad’s record swim from Cuba to Key West earlier this month. On Sunday, The New York Times took a deeper look, and I’ll leave it to the parties interviewed to shed some light on what probably will always be a murky tale.
Nyad vehemently [...]

Weekend arts and culture: A sports museum’s revival

TweetThe recent odyssey of the Negro Leagues Museum is the subject of this terrific piece in The New York Times last weekend by Nate Taylor, who writes about president Bob Kendrick’s return to the Kansas City institution and its greater state of financial health.
Kendrick left the fold following the 2006 death of the legendary Buck [...]

Sports History Files: The backroads of Jim Crow sports

TweetThe 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, coming up next Wednesday, hasn’t been lost on sports historians and those who recall and preserve the legacy of segregated sports in America.
Jackie Robinson had integrated Major League Baseball only 16 years before Martin Luther King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the Washington [...]