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Ask Him Anything about Baseball
Robert H. Boyle
April 13, 1959
The new historian at Cooperstown, Lee Allen, talks long and learnedly about the game and has a positive passion for debunking phony stories
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April 13, 1959

Ask Him Anything About Baseball

The new historian at Cooperstown, Lee Allen, talks long and learnedly about the game and has a positive passion for debunking phony stories

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A high moment in Allen's life came in 1949 when Jimmy Cannon, the sportswriter, got into an argument with Eddie Brannick, the Giants' road secretary. Cannon said Allen could talk longer about baseball than anyone he knew, but Brannick stuck up for Pat Monahan, a scout for the Chicago Cubs who had such a reputation for talking that it was once reported that Phil Wrigley, owner of the Cubs, ruled against his phoning scouting reports on the grounds the club couldn't afford the bill.

To settle the question once and for all, a friend of Allen's invited Monahan to Cincinnati to compete against Allen in a talkathon over a local television station. Allen and Monahan were to take turns answering questions phoned in by viewers, and the viewers would judge who talked longer. The match began at 8 in the evening and ended at 5 the next morning. It was apparent to all that Allen had won handily. Monahan himself sensed defeat coming early in the match. Along about 11 in the evening, he turned on Allen and snarled, "Ah, all you know about baseball is what you read in books."

At present, Allen is looking forward to the peace and quiet of Coopers-town. It doesn't bother him a bit that the nearest major league team is at least a five-hour drive away. "Watching baseball interferes with my study of baseball," he says.

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