- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Griffith managed Charles Comiskey's White Stockings to the pennant in the first year of the new league (personally pitching 24 victories) and was tapped by Johnson two seasons later to lead the Highlanders when it was decided the American League needed a team in New York to compete against John McGraw and his Giants.
He went to Washington to manage in 1912—and mortgaged his ranch and shelled out his life savings to buy a 10% interest in the club for $27,000. It was possible to do that in baseball in those days—but only Griffith, of all the early star players, did it.
So he went down through the years to become one of baseball's most colorful, controversial and beloved figures. He was a friend of more presidents than any man in baseball ("I've known them all since Teddy Roosevelt"); a great supporter of night baseball (after first being opposed); the man who opened up the big leagues to players from Latin America; advocate-in-chief of the game through two world wars.
It was a full life and there wasn't too much he missed. That "one more pennant" he wanted so badly, perhaps.
Or that he failed to live to the age which would match his reputed lifetime batting average—120.
But mostly they remembered something he said last spring while watching a bunch of kids play baseball down at Winter Garden, Florida. It was surely something which told Clark Griffith's story better than the millions of words which the nation's newspapers carried about him last week.
"If you had started playing ball as I did when I was 7 and you still love it at 85," he said, "you'll understand what it has meant to me."
LONG, HARD ROW
When Julius Helfand poked an exploratory finger into the dark doings of the International Boxing Guild and its New York affiliate last spring he set the finger down firmly on a drop of quicksilver. Boxing managers displayed a shifty elusiveness worthy of their finest boxers. In June a succession of them, Guild members all, refused flatly to testify before Helfand's boxing commission. He suspended their licenses. But three of them—Cus D'Amato, Bobby Melnick and Bobby Nelson—relented over the summer and testified recently. Their testimony (SI, Oct. 31) added up to almost total ignorance of Guild affairs.
The commission chairman restored the licenses of the three managers, partly because they had complied with the letter of his requirement that they testify, partly because he did not wish their boxers to suffer. But an additional reason might apply: despite D'Amato's title of acting president, all three are small fry in Guild affairs, which are dominated by Honest Bill Daly, Treasurer of the International Guild and manager of Vince Martinez.