Willie Mays

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Willie Mays

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Mar 28, 2008, 9:09pm

How fascinating that one of our most commonly shared books is the autobiography of Willie Mays. I think Johnson, Pope, and others from the 18th century would approve, as they were big on biography, and I think, given a chanced, Johnson would have been a baseball fan, appreciated the orderliness, decorum, and Ciceronian balance of the game. :-)

Apr 1, 2008, 3:57pm

Defoe's Friday made good?

Apr 1, 2008, 8:43pm

And then some!

Apr 2, 2008, 4:30am

If you look at the Joshua Reynolds' portrait of Johnson, and imagine it without the fuzzy white hair, you'll see a remarkable resemblence to Mays' first manager, Leo Durocher.

Is this a sign of Intelligent Design?

Apr 2, 2008, 8:00am

I'm one of the ones who has the Mays autobiography. I picked it up at a recent library sale, along with Hank Aaron's autobiography. I bet ball players probably would have been good at cricket as well.

Although Boswell doubts that Johnson ever played the game, Johnson once took Hannah More on a tour of Pembroke College, saying, "Here we walked, there we played cricket."

In a letter to his daughter in 1896, the Johnsonian, George Birkbeck Hill, provides a description of a baseball game between Harvard and Yale that he attended during his second visit to America.

From The Letters of George Birkbeck Hill:

"...I saw the latter part of the great match of baseball between Harvard and Yale. Though the admission to the field was half a dollar and to the seats on stands a dollar extra, there were many thousands present, perhaps seven or eight. I only got glimpses of the game over men's shoulders. It was the old game, at which I played as a boy, refined. To the spectators it is full of surprises, sudden triumphs and defeats, and it is easily understood, but it is as inferior to cricket as skittles is to billiards. The cheering was to me tiresome, as it was so mechanical, being led by conductors, and kept up for many minutes without interruption-in fact, I might almost say for half an hour-very different from the sudden clapping of hands which runs round the cricket field at a great hit, and subsides into perfect silence as the bowler takes up the ball and begins to bowl. It was a curious sight at the end, when Harvard just won the game, to see thousands of spectators stream towards the conquering heroes, seize them up, and bear them at a run on their shoulders."

Apr 2, 2008, 1:55pm

Thanks for the splendid posts, including the Durocher reference and the excerpt from Hill's letter. . . . An executive from the Los Angeles Dodgers organization once said, "Willie Mays's glove: where triples go to die." This quotation seems Johnsonian to me.