For some time now I have been exposed to the unique personality of Mr. J. G. Taylor Spink of St. Louis, 72-year-old publisher of the 75-year-old
, a weekly journal long acknowledged (by itself and almost everybody connected with the game) to be baseball's bible.
I feel it necessary to confess at the outset that, in consequence of my exposure to Mr. Spink, I am not now a well man. I jump when the telephone rings in my apartment, for I know it will be Mr. Spink. I have an unlisted number that the telephone company assured me would be given to no one—with the possible exception of the New York Police Department in the event of an emergency. Mr. Spink got the number, Heaven knows how.
I am at present living on canned soups. My living room is littered with papers and documents sent to me by Mr. Spink. The desk in my office is buried under messages to call long distance operators in St. Louis. I have given up trying to shave because I keep cutting myself.
I brought all this on myself. There is no one else to blame. I had been warned that in volunteering to prepare a monograph on the career of Mr. Spink I was asking for a kind of editorial harassment that is unmatched in the annals of any form of journalism. Scores of Mr. Spink's own correspondents, working newspapermen in major and minor league cities, had told me how they were awakened at all hours of the night by calls from Mr. Spink. They said there was no way to hide from him if he went all out to track you down.
I had a call from Mr. Spink only a few hours ago.
"Hello," he bellowed in the gravel-voiced tones that are instantly recognizable to baseball people everywhere. "How are you, sweetheart?"
"Better, sir," I said.
"Food poisoning, was it?"
"Yes, Mr. Spink, sir," I said, "plus what the doctor called an acute anxiety neurosis. But everything's fine now, sir." (I had invented these ailments in earlier attempts to placate Mr. Spink.)
"O.K., O.K. Did you call Larry MacPhail?"