Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Shav Glick Remembers The Past

After 71 years as a sportswriter, Shav Glick, retiring at 85, remembered the past in an article L.A. Times Sports Editor Bill Dwyre asked him to write Monday, Jan. 16.

And the greatest memory of them all was of the day, when Glick was just 17, and the young Jackie Robinson played in an exhibition game against the Chicago White Sox in Brookside Park near the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, on March 13, 1938.

The White Sox won the game against the Pasadena Sox that day, 3-2, but Robinson got two of Pasadena's six hits, stole a base and played flawlessly at shortstop. After Robinson started a double play on American League batting champion Luke Appling's hard grounder, Jimmy Dykes, the White Sox manager, talking with reporters, said, "If that boy was white, I'd sign him right now. No one in the American League could make plays like that."

Glick was the official scorer for the memorable game. It was to take Robinson nine more years to become the first black player in Major League Baseball.

Great pictures accompanied Glick's retirement story, including one of him standing next to Robinson in the Pasadena Junior College honor society photo of 1938.

But Glick's celebrated comment about his retirement wasn't in the article. "I haven't left the Times," he has said. "The Times has left me."

Glick did write, "You think about all the wonderful things you have seen and been privileged to write about -- 35 Indianapolis 500s, Formula One races, Times Grand Prix sports car races, every Long Beach Grand Prix but one, world championship motorcycle events, midgets, spring cars and yes, even drifting. And that's only the motor sports. How about two Olympic Games, a dozen Masters and U.S. Opens, a British Open at St. Andrews, Wimbledon, the World Series, Santa Anita Handicaps, and as a Pasadena native, more Rose Bowl Games than I can count..."

Now, if the Times had a decent editorial page, there would have been an editorial commemorating Glick's retirement. But of course, after the purge of virtually the entire editorial page writing staff, no one there remembers Glick.

Glick is not the oldest sportswriter in history. The Washington Post's Shirley Povich, if memory serves, wrote the last week of his life before he died at 93.

But still, Glick is a marvel. And the Times sports pages, diminished under the Tribune Company's awful ownewrship, still can muster great articles like his retirement piece. Dwyre, the great sports editor, is still in his place.

"As long as I covered sports, I got the most enjoyment from spotting young talent before it became famous, and interviewing young people before the world claimed them," Glick writes.

"Baseball fans think of Ted Williams as one of the game's greatest pure hitters. I saw that hitting when the Thumper was in high school in San Diego. He hit two prodigious home runs in the Pomona 20-30 tourament."

Thanks for the memories, Shav. "Retirement," he wrote, 'The dirtiest 10-letter word in the English language,' said media critic George Seldes -- begins today."

(Shav Glick died of the complications of melanoma on Oct. 20, 2007, less than two years into his retirement. He was 87).

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