July 31, 2005

Gammons

Peter Gammons will be awarded the J.G. Taylor Spink Award at the Hall of Fame today for "meritorious contributions to baseball writing".

Dan Shaughnessy:
Gammons has done more to influence the way major league baseball is covered than any columnist or beat guy of the last half-century. ... [He] changed everything about baseball coverage and his innovations and style spawned a legion of like-minded writers who bring you the game stories and notes today.
ESPN has put up Gammons's game story that ran in the Globe the day after Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, which Shaughnessy claims that Gammons banged out in 15 minutes. It begins:
And all of a sudden the ball was there, like the Mystic River Bridge, suspended out in the black of morning.
That sentence will give me chills every time I read it for the rest of my life.

A few days after the Sox lost Game 7 to the Reds, Gammons wrote:
We have postponed autumn long enough now. There are storm windows to put in, wood to chop for the whistling months ahead. The floorboards are getting awfully cold in the morning, the cider sweet. Where Lynn dove and El Tiante stood will be frozen soon, and while it is now 43 years for Thomas A. Yawkey and 57 for New England, the fugue that was the 1975 baseball season will play in our heads until next we meet at the Fens again.
An old SoSH thread discusses his impact and continued relevance.

Considering his influence and body of work over the decades, and his move from print to TV and the internet, you could make a case for Gammons as one the most important (and influential) writers in the history of the sport.

His Sunday Notes could be his biggest legacy. When he was doing the Notes -- an entire page of the Globe, information, stats, rumors, quotes, oddball stuff from all over the major leagues, in small print -- there was absolutely nothing like it anywhere. The information he provided simply would be unavailable otherwise.

As a kid, I remember having to wait until Wednesday morning to see a west coast box score from Monday night. The Sox game would be too late for Tuesday's east coast papers. Now we can visit newspapers all over the country (and world) every morning and read hundreds of baseball writers and columnists (and bloggers). We can watch any one of up to 15 games a day on EI and highlights of all the games on ESPN.

That was a fantasy for most of Gammons's career. Actually, it probably wasn't even a fantasy. Who could have dreamed that was possible back in 1978? It's really hard to overstate the impact he, and his Notes, had. ... Congratulations to Old Hickory!

3 comments:

L-girl said...

A lovely and deserved tribute - to a man you usually call Gasbag.

redsock said...

Jerry Remy has a good piece on Gammons at ESPN.

redsock said...

Billy Beane, Jayson Stark, Theo Epstein, Jim Bowden, Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian, Mark Shapiro, Jerry Crasnick, Gordon Edes, Ken Rosenthal, Jim Salisbury, Bob Nightengale, Dave Littlefield, Bob Elliott, Josh Byrnes, Jeff Horrigan, and Bill Janovitz on Gammons.