Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Schultz: Bisher deserving but falls short of Spink Award

The Simmer Game…

The late, great Furman Bisher fell just short of a similar honor on Tuesday. Bisher, the long-time former Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist, was edged out by essayist Roger Angell for the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, which is voted on by the Basebabll Writers Association of America and awarded at the Hall of Fame ceremonies.

Angell is a long-time contributor to The New Yorker and has written a number of books on baseball. So I’m not going to write anything here that suggests he wasn’t deserving of the honor. I just happen to think Bisher deserved it more.

Granted, it’s difficult for me to be objective because Bisher was a co-worker and a friend. But there were aspects of his work and career that I believe set him apart from the other two candidates who made the final ballot, Angell and former Los Angeles Herald Examiner columnist Mel Durslag. In addition to his interviews with “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, Ty Cobb and Hank Aaron and his work in the AJC, the Saturday Evening Post, The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated, Bisher was instrumental in Atlanta getting a major league baseball franchise. He was a member of the city’s stadium authority, working in an era when it wasn’t uncommon for newspaper editors and writers to serve in such a capacity. He therefore played key roles in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium being built and the Braves moving from Milwaukee.

I’m also going to be partial to Bisher over Angell merely because he had to report and turn out a new product daily, as opposed to the relaxed pace of a magazine essayist and book author.

This was the first year Bisher appeared on the ballot. He can be a candidate again next year.

Repoz Posted: December 10, 2013 at 02:04 PM | 67 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof, media

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Textbook Editor Posted: December 10, 2013 at 02:24 PM (#4615202)
I don't claim to know Bisher's work, but this is funny (as in ha-ha) to me.
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 02:27 PM (#4615211)
I only know him for being a grump and going on a racist tirade about Japan.

Well, not any longer. Money can change any habit. Eight springs ago the Mets and Cubs opened the season, not in Cincinnati. Guess where? Tokyo. That Tokyo, the guys who gave us Pearl Harbor. Some people don’t like you to bring that up, trade with Japan is so hot. But I’ve got a long memory. I saw what a few bombs can do to our property.

Oh, well, ‘scuse me. It’s just tough to get away from it when you turn on your TV in the morning there are the Boston Red Sox playing the Oakland A’s in the Tokyo Dome. Not only that, but the Red Sox pitcher is Daisuke Matsuzaka, who didn’t grow up in Wampole.



He may have well done fine work outside of that, I don't know.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4615220)
Well, not any longer. Money can change any habit. Eight springs ago the Mets and Cubs opened the season, not in Cincinnati. Guess where? Tokyo. That Tokyo, the guys who gave us Pearl Harbor. Some people don’t like you to bring that up, trade with Japan is so hot. But I’ve got a long memory. I saw what a few bombs can do to our property.

Oh, well, ‘scuse me. It’s just tough to get away from it when you turn on your TV in the morning there are the Boston Red Sox playing the Oakland A’s in the Tokyo Dome. Not only that, but the Red Sox pitcher is Daisuke Matsuzaka, who didn’t grow up in Wampole.


I wouldn't call that racist. Nationalist, sure. Jingoistic probably. But he doesn't demean the Japanese, he's just still pissed about the war.
   4. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 10, 2013 at 02:36 PM (#4615229)
He may have well done fine work outside of that, I don't know.

It wasn't his finest moment, but the guy wrote about baseball for, what, a million years? I hate to reduce the man that one piece of writing written LONG after he'd lost his fastball.
   5. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 02:37 PM (#4615231)
I wouldn't call that racist. Nationalist, sure. Jingoistic probably. But he doesn't demean the Japanese, he's just still pissed about the war.


Seems like he's demeaning Daisuke Matsuzaka for not being from Walpole. Don't see how that's not racist.
   6. Gonfalon B. Posted: December 10, 2013 at 02:41 PM (#4615240)
Also, America (and Greece) have real gyros.
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 02:50 PM (#4615247)
Seems like he's demeaning Daisuke Matsuzaka for not being from Walpole. Don't see how that's not racist.

I don't see any explicit demeaning going on. You can dislike a country for past events without being racist.
   8. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 10, 2013 at 02:54 PM (#4615252)
Angell is a long-time contributor to The New Yorker and has written a number of books on baseball. So I’m not going to write anything here that suggests he wasn’t deserving of the honor. I just happen to think Bisher deserved it more.

Roger Angell should have won the Spink years if not decades ago.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 02:57 PM (#4615255)
You can dislike a country for past events without being racist.


What do the past events have to do with Daisuke Matsuzaka? He was born 4 decades after Pearl Harbor was bombed. Bisher doesn't like the fact Matsuzaka is pitching simply because of what race of person he is - the same race of people that bombed Pearl Harbor a long time ago.
   10. villageidiom Posted: December 10, 2013 at 02:58 PM (#4615257)
Roger Angell should have won the Spink years if not decades ago.
This.
   11. Textbook Editor Posted: December 10, 2013 at 02:58 PM (#4615258)
But he doesn't demean the Japanese, he's just still pissed about the war.


I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it...
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 02:58 PM (#4615260)
What do the past events have to do with Daisuke Matsuzaka? He was born 4 decades after Pearl Harbor was bombed.

I'm not saying it's rational, I'm just saying it's not racist.
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 03:03 PM (#4615263)
I'm not saying it's rational, I'm just saying it's not racist.


I think you're splitting hairs here. He doesn't like Matsuzaka pitching because of unrelated events done by his fellow country men four decades ago. If that's not racism, its very much akin to racism.

I don't like Joakim Soria because, remember the Mexican-American War?

Just kidding, Joakim Soria is a delight.
   14. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 10, 2013 at 03:04 PM (#4615267)
I think you're splitting hairs here. He doesn't like Matsuzaka pitching because of unrelated events done by his fellow country men four decades ago. If that's not racism, its very much akin to racism.

Is Japanese a "race"? If it's anything, wouldn't it be "national originism"?
   15. TJ Posted: December 10, 2013 at 03:08 PM (#4615272)
Geez, if Bisher felt this way about Dice-K because Japan dropped bombs on his property, I wonder how he feels about the New York Yankees, considering Bisher hails from Atlanta...?
   16. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 03:11 PM (#4615276)
Bisher served in the South Pacific during the Second World War so why not cut him a little slack? Are Chinese who endured the brutal occupation from 1937-45 racist per se for being uneasy around Japanese today?
   17. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 10, 2013 at 03:12 PM (#4615278)
Jeez, do we have to beat him up again? We did this already and now he's dead. He was an old guy who never got over the war. It's not the worst thing anyone has ever done.
   18. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: December 10, 2013 at 03:23 PM (#4615289)
You can dislike a country for past events without being racist.


As Jason points out, it's not about Dice-K, it's about Bisher. The man island hopped across the Pacific in WWII. You give him a little leeway for being unforgiving when it comes to the Japanese in general. If it were Mark Bowman saying those things, then yeah, tear into him. But the guy spent his youth killing and trying to avoid being killed by the Japanese. It probably left a mark.
   19. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: December 10, 2013 at 03:24 PM (#4615292)
And yes, for his contributions to covering baseball and bringing baseball to the southeast, Bisher deserves the Spink.
   20. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 10, 2013 at 03:24 PM (#4615293)
Roger Angell should have won the Spink years if not decades ago.

I'll go with decades. Bisher was a generic sportswriter whose most notable attribute was his longevity. If he were a ballplayer he'd be Terry Mulholland.

P.S. None of that has anything to do with his sentiments about the Japanese.
   21. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 10, 2013 at 03:28 PM (#4615300)
Bisher served in the South Pacific during the Second World War so why not cut him a little slack?

Support the Troops!! (Unless they don't really like the people that tried to kill them. Then don't.)
   22. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 03:35 PM (#4615310)
Is Japanese a "race"?


Japanese people seem to think that it is.
   23. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: December 10, 2013 at 03:47 PM (#4615324)
Bisher was a generic sportswriter whose most notable attribute was his longevity.


Don Sutton is in the Hall.
   24. Baseballs Most Beloved Figure Posted: December 10, 2013 at 03:48 PM (#4615326)
But the guy spent his youth killing and trying to avoid being killed by the Japanese. It probably left a mark.
But then how could we feel superior to him by calling him a racist based on a single sentence among the millions he wrote in his career?
   25. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: December 10, 2013 at 04:08 PM (#4615341)
It should be noted that Roger Angell has also been around the track a time or two.

I couldn't believe he hadn't received this honor already.
   26. dlf Posted: December 10, 2013 at 04:11 PM (#4615345)
"Late Innings" came out when I as about 14. It is what made me appreciate the beauty and poetry of baseball as well as the simple well-turned sentence. I wouldn't be the fan I am today if it were't for Roger Angell.

I've tried before to think of my personal Mt. Rushmore of baseball writers. Clearly, for me, Angell and Bill James are on the mountain. I have a hard time narrowing down to two more. Usually, I add Tom Boswell, but he makes me quetion my belief that a player can't play his way out of the Hall as his writing over the past two decades is nearly as bad as his writing of the 70s and 80s was amazing. Leonard Koppett, Jim Murray, and Fred Lieb often are often on my lists. Joe Posnanski is rocketing up the list. But regardless of who else squeezes on, Roger Angell is right at the top. Congrats!
   27. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 04:23 PM (#4615365)
What do the past events have to do with Daisuke Matsuzaka? He was born 4 decades after Pearl Harbor was bombed.
Matsuzaka being a notoriously slow worker, his mom went into labor in 1938.
   28. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 10, 2013 at 04:27 PM (#4615371)
Bisher was a generic sportswriter whose most notable attribute was his longevity. If he were a ballplayer he'd be Terry Mulholland.

Don Sutton is in the Hall.


But Terry Mulholland isn't.

-------------------------------------------------------

I've tried before to think of my personal Mt. Rushmore of baseball writers. Clearly, for me, Angell and Bill James are on the mountain. I have a hard time narrowing down to two more. Usually, I add Tom Boswell, but he makes me quetion my belief that a player can't play his way out of the Hall as his writing over the past two decades is nearly as bad as his writing of the 70s and 80s was amazing. Leonard Koppett, Jim Murray, and Fred Lieb often are often on my lists. Joe Posnanski is rocketing up the list. But regardless of who else squeezes on, Roger Angell is right at the top. Congrats!

My Rushmore is (naturally) in Valhalla, New York, with Lieb, Spink, Koppett, Angell and James in the order of their first writing appearance. I know that's one too many but I couldn't possibly decide which one to drop.
   29. Gonfalon B. Posted: December 10, 2013 at 04:28 PM (#4615374)
I've tried before to think of my personal Mt. Rushmore of baseball writers... I have a hard time narrowing down to two more.

Whereas there's always room on the Mt. Ohgodnomore of baseball writers.
   30. Perry Posted: December 10, 2013 at 04:29 PM (#4615375)
Bisher doesn't like the fact Matsuzaka is pitching simply because of what race of person he is - the same race of people that bombed Pearl Harbor a long time ago.


If Germans played baseball someone of that same generation could have written the same about ace pitcher Johann Schmidt. I agree with those who say there's not necessarily anything racist about it. Bisher could well have been racist but you can't tell from the quoted statement. There's a difference between racism and jingoism/nationalism.

My mom grew up during the war years and she was creeped out by the Japanese the rest of her life, yet she had no problem with Germans, even had a good friend who was German. Now SHE was a racist.
   31. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: December 10, 2013 at 05:24 PM (#4615424)
I'm only familiar with Bisher's later work which was largely incoherent.
   32. Moeball Posted: December 10, 2013 at 06:47 PM (#4615505)
He was an old guy who never got over the war.


My guess is there are some Japanese who aren't real happy with Americans today because of events that took place in August of 1945.

There are some southerners in the US today who still want to secede and who are still bitter about events that took place 150 years ago.

You might even find some Brits who want their colonial territory back and are grumpy about events that took place more than 200 years ago when the US of A was born.

Wars are brutal and people are scarred for generations.

Forgiveness really doesn't come easily.

And nice Fawlty Towers reference in #11!
   33. AndrewJ Posted: December 10, 2013 at 07:11 PM (#4615526)
And nice Fawlty Towers reference in #11!

"Oh, you're Furman -- I'm sorry, I thought there was something wrong with you!"
   34. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 08:05 PM (#4615553)
TE forgot to add: "So! It's all forgotten now, and let's hear no more about it. So, that's two egg mayonnaise, a prawn Goebbels, a Hermann Goering, and four Colditz salads."
   35. Howie Menckel Posted: December 10, 2013 at 08:38 PM (#4615566)

I'd much more enjoy a column that went this way:

"Granted, it’s difficult for me to be objective because Bisher was a co-worker and a friend. But there were aspects of his work and career that I believe set him apart from the other two candidates who made the final ballot, Angell and former Los Angeles Herald Examiner columnist Mel Durslag. Frankly, Bisher was a buffoon who isn't fit to shine the other candidates' shoes - hey, I said it was difficult for me to be objective, not impossible!"

   36. Morty Causa Posted: December 10, 2013 at 10:34 PM (#4615632)
Bisher was okay. Being okay for

Baseball writers I like (that is writers who wrote about baseball): Jim Bouton--yeah, it's only one book, but what a book; it's the To Kill A Mockingbird/Huck Finn/Moby Dick of baseball. And, come to think of it, his other books are good, just overshadowed by one work of absolute sublimity.

Then, Bill James. Then Harold Seymour (analysis and knowledge count). Then it's up for grabs. Bisher doesn't make that cut, though.
   37. Textbook Editor Posted: December 10, 2013 at 11:55 PM (#4615679)
Fawlty Towers is the gift that keeps on giving.

You know, if Angell is the first non-newspaper guy to make it in, it seems the door has been cracked--just a tiny bit--for other writers (like James) to get in via the Spink award. I highly doubt it will happen, but it is perhaps at least a tiny % more feasible today than it was yesterday.
   38. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 11, 2013 at 03:21 AM (#4615733)
You might even find some Brits who want their colonial territory back and are grumpy about events that took place more than 200 years ago when the US of A was born.


You might even find one in this thread. :-)
   39. Bug Selig Posted: December 11, 2013 at 08:32 AM (#4615752)
My mom grew up during the war years and she was creeped out by the Japanese the rest of her life, yet she had no problem with Germans, even had a good friend who was German. Now SHE was a racist.


While granting that you know your mom WAY better than I do - that might not even be racist. I don't think there's a rule that we have to be angry with all Axis powers equally. My grandmother never expressed any bitterness toward Germany or Italy (or Germans or Italians) but legitimately hated Japan (I never saw her encounter a Japanese person in rural Minnesota). It probably had something to do with the fact that her brother was killed on Iwo Jima.

I think from a distance we can forget how personal that stuff is.
   40. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 11, 2013 at 08:48 AM (#4615755)
While granting that you know your mom WAY better than I do - that might not even be racist. I don't think there's a rule that we have to be angry with all Axis powers equally. My grandmother never expressed any bitterness toward Germany or Italy (or Germans or Italians) but legitimately hated Japan (I never saw her encounter a Japanese person in rural Minnesota). It probably had something to do with the fact that her brother was killed on Iwo Jima.

I think from a distance we can forget how personal that stuff is.


The other "personal" part is that most eastern and midwestern members of the WWII generation almost certainly would have known a fair number of German-Americans while they were growing up, whereas that would have been very unlikely if they'd known any Japanese Americans in any sort of social setting. Personal contact among social equals is usually a barrier to gross generalizations.

When we went to Norway for my father's funeral in 1969, we visited about half a dozen different branches of my father's side of the family. My father's brother had survived two concentration camps and been killed in a third one, and needless to say there wasn't the slightest degree of forgiveness extended towards any German, living or dead, with the possible exception of Beethoven. At that time you would see American cars all over Norway, and there may have even been the occasional Toyota or Datsun, but I doubt if there was a Mercedes or BMW in the entire country.
   41. Barnaby Jones Posted: December 11, 2013 at 08:56 AM (#4615757)
Bisher was a generic sportswriter whose most notable attribute was his longevity.


Being a reasonably good sportswriter for a long time puts him light years above a number of recent winners.

That said, this is mostly a NY-centric-worldview talking, methinks. You aren't alone on that: this marks the 20-someodd Spink award to go to a New York writer, vs. zero for the entire South. Bisher is easily the most important sportswriter in Atlanta history. He is certainly more important to Atlanta sports history than someone like Bill Madden is to NY. The only real reason to keep him off is that he wasn't a dedicated baseball writer, but instead gave a lot of time to many local sports.
   42. Scott Lange Posted: December 11, 2013 at 11:58 AM (#4615846)
Apparently experts on sportswriting like #20 have read 60 years worth of Furman Bisher's work and proclaimed it unworthy. So, that question having been settled, let me just thank Furman Bisher for giving us what I believe is the only interview Shoeless Joe Jackson ever gave, for his famous "Visit with Ty Cobb" piece, for his decades covering the Crackers and Braves, and for coming to the Ty Cobb Museum in Royston, Georgia to speak to the Atlanta SABR chapter at 90 years old.
   43. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: December 11, 2013 at 12:08 PM (#4615855)
Forgiveness for the Germans and Italians might come easier for some of the WWII generation because, at the end of the day, contra "Animal House," the Germans did not sneak attack Pearl Harbor.

Otherwise, what Scott said @42.
   44. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 11, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4615881)
Apparently experts on sportswriting like #20 have read 60 years worth of Furman Bisher's work and proclaimed it unworthy. So, that question having been settled, let me just thank Furman Bisher for giving us what I believe is the only interview Shoeless Joe Jackson ever gave, for his famous "Visit with Ty Cobb" piece, for his decades covering the Crackers and Braves, and for coming to the Ty Cobb Museum in Royston, Georgia to speak to the Atlanta SABR chapter at 90 years old.

Furman Bisher's column ran in The Sporting News for many years while I was a subscriber, and I'm well acquainted with his work, as well as with that Shoeless Joe interview that I may have posted here myself in previous threads on Shoeless Joe.

The only way you can put a writer like Furman Bisher in the "Spink wing" of the HoF is by appealing to the same sort of argument used to tout marginal players: "If Freddy Lindstrom is in the Hall of Fame, why not Davey Concepcion or Jack Morris?" Substitute "Joe Falls" for "Freddy Lindstrom" and you've made your best case for Furman Bisher.

That's not to say that Bisher didn't score a few scoops or write a few good columns, or that he didn't have anything to do with Atlanta's bribing the Braves from Milwaukee. But over the many years that I was reading his weekly efforts in TSN, for the most part he was little more than a southern version of Joe Falls. If you look at many of the past recipients of the Spink award---Lieb, Koppett, Lardner, Red Smith, Wendell Smith, Lacy, and now Angell---you realize that Bisher isn't even on the same page. If you want to honor a writer whose work really had some influence, a far better choice would be Lester Rodney.
   45. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: December 11, 2013 at 01:03 PM (#4615903)
If you want to honor a writer whose work really had some influence, a far better choice would be Lester Rodney.


Note to self: Dig out my copy of Press Box Red already, dammit.
   46. Barnaby Jones Posted: December 11, 2013 at 01:16 PM (#4615913)
If you look at many of the past recipients of the Spink award---Lieb, Koppett, Lardner, Red Smith, Wendell Smith, Lacy, and now Angell


Conlin, Chass, Madden, Ringolsby... for the most part, the guys you listed are not the typical entrant. Further, I find it hilarious that in response to being called NY-centric, the only guys you list as being as worthy are either (a) racial pioneers or (b) from New York. And then you crap on a perfectly reasonable non-New York candidate like Joe Falls.

a far better choice would be Lester Rodney.


BREAKING NEWS: New York-centric poster recommends yet another New York guy.
   47. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 11, 2013 at 01:21 PM (#4615917)
Note to self: Dig out my copy of Press Box Red already, dammit.

One Lester Rodney article or column was worth a hundred of Furman Bisher's. Along with Wendell Smith and Sam Lacy, he did far more to press the case for baseball's integration than any other sportswriter, including such icons as Shirley Povich. Rodney's exclusion from the "Spink wing" of the HoF is every bit as inexcusable in its own way as Marvin Miller's absence is from the plaque room.
   48. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: December 11, 2013 at 01:28 PM (#4615925)
Apparently writing about and being integral to baseball outside of the New York area makes you less than deserving of national honors, because the only valid baseball writing is treacly nostalgia pieces about the old Brooklyn Dodgers.
   49. dlf Posted: December 11, 2013 at 01:35 PM (#4615933)
#48 -- apparently you have never read Angell if you think his writing is a rose colored homage to by-gone days; unlike Bisher, he has never become the bitter old man wailing against the on-coming tide of youth. I live in Atlanta so I can say this without any NY bias: Bisher is less deserving of this particular honor because he wasn't as good a writer, on his best day, as Angell was on his worst.
   50. tfbg9 Posted: December 11, 2013 at 01:35 PM (#4615934)
Lester Rodney was CPUSA, which is beyond idiotic, but at least he seemed pull his head out of his as$ and be open to the idea that Stalin, among others, committed horrible crimes against humanity, when truth circulated after Uncle Joe's death in the mid 50's. Rodney was praised(re-rehabilitated?) by Arnold Ampersand, who is a half brother of Roger Toussaint, the dooshbag who called the brief but crippling, illegal NYC Subway strike just before Christmas, 2005 that left millions stranded in the city.

Small world. The internet makes it smaller.

   51. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 11, 2013 at 01:40 PM (#4615939)
If you look at many of the past recipients of the Spink award---Lieb, Koppett, Lardner, Red Smith, Wendell Smith, Lacy, and now Angell

Conlin, Chass, Madden, Ringolsby... for the most part, the guys you listed are not the typical entrant.


But neither are the four slugs that you just named.

Further, I find it hilarious that in response to being called NY-centric, the only guys you list as being as worthy are either (a) racial pioneers or (b) from New York.

I could have easily extended my list to include such non-New York writers as Spink (one of the ten most influential men in baseball history), Fullerton, H. G. Salsinger, John Carmichael, Shirley Povich, Jim Murray, Jerome Holtzman, or even Peter Gammons. Of course none of those writers I mentioned were primarily known for their writings on New York teams, but don't let that get in the way of a good conspiracy theory or persecution complex.

And then you crap on a perfectly reasonable non-New York candidate like Joe Falls.

Joe Falls is about as good a candidate for the Spink Award as Furman Bisher, and vice versa, just as Lloyd Waner is as good a candidate for the Hall of Fame as Freddy Lindstrom.
   52. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 11, 2013 at 01:44 PM (#4615945)
Apparently writing about and being integral to baseball outside of the New York area makes you less than deserving of national honors, because the only valid baseball writing is treacly nostalgia pieces about the old Brooklyn Dodgers.

Of the seven writers I originally mentioned, and the seven I just added above, their writings about the Brooklyn Dodgers constitute at most about 1% of their output. How much of their writings have you actually read, anyway?
   53. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 11, 2013 at 01:48 PM (#4615951)
It seems to me that Furman Bisher is a perfectly reasonable recipient of the Spink Award, based on the output of the men who have won the award in the past. Roger Angell is an overdue recipient of the award. Angell is not the standard, and the fact that Bisher and Angell happened to be finalists in the same year is a pretty crappy reason to #### on Bisher's career, as Andy's doing here.

That's my take anyway.
   54. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 11, 2013 at 01:51 PM (#4615952)
Lester Rodney was CPUSA, which is beyond idiotic, but at least he seemed pull his head out of his as$ and be open to the idea that Stalin, among others, committed horrible crimes against humanity, when truth circulated after Uncle Joe's death in the mid 50's. Rodney was praised(re-rehabilitated?) by Arnold Ampersand, who is a half brother of Roger Toussaint, the dooshbag who called the brief but crippling, illegal NYC Subway strike just before Christmas, 2005 that left millions stranded in the city.

I appreciate your political openmindedness about Rodney, but somehow I fail to see the relevance of a 21st century New York subway strike to Lester Rodney's seminal writings about baseball integration in the 1930's and 1940's.
   55. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 11, 2013 at 01:55 PM (#4615957)
It seems to me that Furman Bisher is a perfectly reasonable recipient of the Spink Award, based on the output of the men who have won the award in the past. Roger Angell is an overdue recipient of the award. Angell is not the standard, and the fact that Bisher and Angell happened to be finalists in the same year is a pretty crappy reason to #### on Bisher's career, as Andy's doing here.

If you're a "Big Spink" guy, then yeah, Bisher's no worse than Falls, just as Freddy Lindstrom is no worse than Lloyd Waner for a "Big Hall" guy. But I don't think that Angell is the standard any more than I think that Ruth or Williams are the standards for the Hall of Fame proper. I'm perfectly comfortable with a sizable majority of the Spink Award winners, just not all of them, and not Falls or (if he ever gets in, which I'm sure he will) Bisher.
   56. tfbg9 Posted: December 11, 2013 at 01:57 PM (#4615960)
I appreciate your political openmindedness about Rodney, but somehow I fail to see the relevance of a 21st century New York subway strike to Lester Rodney's seminal writings about baseball integration in the 1930's and 1940's.


None really, except the Commie-Far Left Whackjob "incestuous" angle, and logrolling was sorta interesting to me.

Carry on, Gramps.
   57. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 11, 2013 at 02:01 PM (#4615964)
If you're a "Big Spink" guy, then yeah, Bisher's no worse than Falls, just as Freddy Lindstrom is no worse than Lloyd Waner for a "Big Hall" guy. But I don't think that Angell is the standard any more than I think that Ruth or Williams are the standards for the Hall of Fame proper. I'm perfectly comfortable with a sizable majority of the Spink Award winners, just not all of them, and not Falls or (if he ever gets in, which I'm sure he will) Bisher.


You see, one's an award, and the other's induction into the Hall. I know you have a problem with that concept.

When you start handing out your own Spink, then it can be done more judiciously, not every year as it's done now. And then you can apply the Andy standard, rather than the one that exists for Spink Award winners, a standard that Bisher seems to meet.
   58. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 11, 2013 at 02:06 PM (#4615970)
Apparently writing about and being integral to baseball outside of the New York area makes you less than deserving of national honors, because the only valid baseball writing is treacly nostalgia pieces about the old Brooklyn Dodgers.


I suppose I can understand the Southern sentiment toward a product of the South, but on the merits of the matter, let's call it for what it is -- Roger Angell (*) vs. Furman Bisher is a mismatch of Rolling Stones/Nickelback magnitude.

(*) Roger Angell isn't part of the treacly Brooklyn Dodger nostalgia brigade, though Roger Kahn is.
   59. theboyqueen Posted: December 11, 2013 at 02:08 PM (#4615974)
Lester Rodney was CPUSA, which is beyond idiotic, but at least he seemed pull his head out of his as$ and be open to the idea that Stalin, among others, committed horrible crimes against humanity, when truth circulated after Uncle Joe's death in the mid 50's. Rodney was praised(re-rehabilitated?) by Arnold Ampersand, who is a half brother of Roger Toussaint, the dooshbag who called the brief but crippling, illegal NYC Subway strike just before Christmas, 2005 that left millions stranded in the city.


Huh?
   60. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 11, 2013 at 02:13 PM (#4615981)
I'm perfectly comfortable with a sizable majority of the Spink Award winners, just not all of them, and not Falls or (if he ever gets in, which I'm sure he will) Bisher.

I grew up on Joe Falls and, while under no illusion about his talents, can't quite see how he in particular got plucked out of the mix as the exemplar of Spink Award middlebrow, or the Freddy Lindstrom of baseball writers.
   61. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: December 11, 2013 at 02:16 PM (#4615986)
I suppose I can understand the Southern sentiment toward a product of the South, but on the merits of the matter, let's call it for what it is -- Roger Angell (*) vs. Furman Bisher is a mismatch of Rolling Stones/Nickelback magnitude.


In that you are nostalgically enamored of the one over the other, yes. I take your point on the Angell/Kahn distinction. All New York sportswriters look the same to me.
   62. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: December 11, 2013 at 02:19 PM (#4615990)
Huh?


I believe the correct response here is "Forget it; he's rolling."

Or maybe free-associating &/or speaking -- typing? -- in tongues.

Same thing, pretty much, I guess.
   63. tfbg9 Posted: December 11, 2013 at 02:28 PM (#4616000)
59 & 62:

I screwed-up the phrase that should have read something like, "by Arnold Ampersand, Stanford prof and author of a noteworthy bio of Jackie Robinson, Ampersan is half brother..."

   64. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 11, 2013 at 05:05 PM (#4616177)
I'm perfectly comfortable with a sizable majority of the Spink Award winners, just not all of them, and not Falls or (if he ever gets in, which I'm sure he will) Bisher.

I grew up on Joe Falls and, while under no illusion about his talents, can't quite see how he in particular got plucked out of the mix as the exemplar of Spink Award middlebrow, or the Freddy Lindstrom of baseball writers.


I picked Falls because he was the best non-Conlin example I could find, plus I read his Sporting News column for many years without ever finding anything original or literary, or even anything particularly energetic in them. I'd like to think that a Spink Award winner should show evidence of at least one of those three traits, but in truth his value, like Bisher's, was almost purely in his longevity. His most significant contribution to baseball analysis was his tongue-in-cheek "RNBI" (Runs Not Batted In) stat that he used to knock Rocky Colavito, and the most recurrent theme in his Sporting News columns was a series of rambling thoughts about his various likes and dislikes. The only thing that separates Falls from hundreds of other forgotten beat writers and columnists is the fact that his career was so long.
   65. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: December 11, 2013 at 05:27 PM (#4616202)
IIRC, during most if not all of my years of subbing to TSN, starting circa 1970, Falls' column always appeared first, like on page 2.
   66. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: December 11, 2013 at 05:33 PM (#4616209)
The other "personal" part is that most eastern and midwestern members of the WWII generation almost certainly would have known a fair number of German-Americans while they were growing up,

That's not always a positive, Andy. During my father's formative years, Brooklyn had a sizable German-American population, much of it in the Bushwick section where the family lived. (IIRC, my grandparents had moved there from Williamsburg in the mid-30s.) So while the Navy sent him to the Pacific theater to fight off kamikaze attacks and was later poised to take part in the invasion of the Japanese mainland, he never forgot about the Bundists, young and old, who had spouted Nazi propaganda at him.
   67. Steve Treder Posted: December 11, 2013 at 06:16 PM (#4616238)
Good lord, Joe Falls' column was terrible. Horrible. Inexpressibly bad.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Jim Wisinski
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogJoe Torre: John Farrell Will Be Fined By MLB For His Replay Criticism
(37 - 7:05am, Apr 16)
Last: Publius Publicola

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread March, 2014
(835 - 7:01am, Apr 16)
Last: Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman

NewsblogNY Post: Davidoff: Why the Yankees are using the shift more than ever
(7 - 6:39am, Apr 16)
Last: villageidiom

NewsblogBud Selig calls replay start 'remarkable'
(15 - 3:39am, Apr 16)
Last: Sunday silence

NewsblogDoug Glanville: I Was Racially Profiled in My Own Driveway
(91 - 3:26am, Apr 16)
Last: Robert in Manhattan Beach

NewsblogGothamist: Yankee Stadium Is Selling Nachos In A Helmet For $20
(31 - 3:19am, Apr 16)
Last: PreservedFish

NewsblogOT: NBA Monthly Thread - April 2014
(211 - 3:18am, Apr 16)
Last: Mess with the Meat, you get the Wad!

NewsblogOT: The NHL is finally back thread, part 2
(129 - 3:11am, Apr 16)
Last: Robert in Manhattan Beach

NewsblogOMNICHATTER for April 14, 2014
(140 - 2:35am, Apr 16)
Last: Dan

Jim's Lab NotesWe're Moved! (And Burst.net can bite me!)
(82 - 2:08am, Apr 16)
Last: CrosbyBird

NewsblogRight-hander Joe Blanton retires
(37 - 1:39am, Apr 16)
Last: Zach

NewsblogOTP April 2014: BurstNET Sued for Not Making Equipment Lease Payments
(1271 - 12:06am, Apr 16)
Last: OCF

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-15-2014
(20 - 11:11pm, Apr 15)
Last: greenback likes millwall

NewsblogKimbrel given night off with soreness in shoulder | braves.com: News
(10 - 11:07pm, Apr 15)
Last: greenback likes millwall

NewsblogCalcaterra: "An embarrassing mishmash of fringe ranting and ill-informed, shrill bomb-throwing"
(99 - 8:40pm, Apr 15)
Last: Moeball

Demarini, Easton and TPX Baseball Bats

 

 

 

 

Page rendered in 0.4515 seconds
52 querie(s) executed