Cover image for George Plimpton on sports.
George Plimpton on sports.
Plimpton, George.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Guilford, Ct. : Lyons Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xvi, 322 pages ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV707 .P575 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
GV707 .P575 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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"There are people who would perhaps call me a dilettante, because it looks as though I'm having too much fun. I have never been convinced there's anything inherently wrong in having fun." -- George Plimpton

George Plimpton on Sports collects the best writing -- the most observant, the most acerbic, the most humane, and the most fun -- from George Plimpton's long career as the consummate and prototypical participatory sports journalist. Included are excerpts from his book-length work, as well as articles that have appeared in Sports Illustrated and other magazines and sporting journals, that range from golf and bowling to his experiences trying out for quarterback with the Detroit Lions and pitching to the Major League All-Stars, to sparring a couple of rounds with one of the toughest boxers in the sport.

Author Notes

George Ames Plimpton was born March 18, 1927. He was educated first at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, and then spent four years at Harvard majoring in English and editing the Harvard Lampoon, followed by two at King's College, Cambridge. Before he left for Cambridge, he served as a tank driver in Italy for the U.S. Army from 1945 through 1948.

After graduation, at about 27 years of age, Plimpton went with his friends to Paris. There they founded the Paris Review in 1953 and published poetry and short story writers and did interviews. In the '50s, Plimpton and staff came to New York, where they kept the Review going for half a century. The Review has published over 150 issues. Plimpton also served as a volunteer for Robert Kennedy's 1968 presidential run and was walking in front of him as the candidate was assassinated in the kitchen of a Los Angeles hotel.

Plimpton was known as a "participatory journalist". In order to research his books and articles, he quarterbacked in a pre-season NFL game, pitched to several all-stars (retiring Willie Mays and Richie Ashburn) in an exhibition prior to Baseball's 1959 All-Star game, performed as a trapeze artist for the Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus, and fought boxers Archie Moore and Sugar Ray Robinson. Plimpton was alson known by the nickname the Prince of Cameos for the amount of work he did in films, playing small parts and screenwriting.

He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2002. Within a month of the academy induction, the French made him a Chevalier, the Legion of Honor's highest rank. The Guild, an arts organization based on Long Island, gave him a lifetime achievement award. Plimpton was also a member of PEN; the Pyrotechnics Guild International; the National Football League Alumni Association; and the Mayflower Descendants Society.

In 2003, Plimpton decided to write his memoirs, signing a $750,000 deal with Little, Brown and Co. Before he could finish, George Plimpton died, on September 26, 2003 of natural causes at the age of 76.

(Bowker Author Biography)



Ali arrived with an hour to go before the fight. Even before he got out of his streetclothes he was moving around the room, snapping out the jabs and staring at himself in the mirrors. "This room's too crowded," he said. "I want room to rest." The room was cleared except for the entourage he would take to the ring, along with two interns assigned to the fight, and the Reverend Jesse Jackson. I was allowed to stay. I crouched in a corner with a notebook open. Ali stripped quickly. He pulled on a pair of white boxing trunks and turned slowly in front of the mirror. "I am the champ," he said softly. "He must fall." He tried out the Ali shuffle, his white gym shoes snapping against the floor. -- from Shadow Box Excerpted from George Plimpton on Sports by George Plimpton All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xiii
Chateau Baseball (from Out of My League)p. 3
Right Field (from Cigar Aficionado)p. 7
Canyon of Heroes (from The New York Times)p. 13
A Love of Fungo (from Birth of a Fan)p. 17
Marianne Moore in Yankee Stadium (from Harper's Magazine)p. 23
The Curious Case of Sidd Finch (from Sports Illustrated)p. 41
The Boston Celtics (from Boston Celtics 50)p. 61
Two-Wheeling (from Avenue)p. 77
Muhammad Ali, the Mongoose, and Me (from Esquire)p. 83
Hooking Bull with My Father-in-Law (from Esquire Sportsman)p. 93
Vince Lombardi: A Portrait (from One More July)p. 101
Medora Goes to the Game (from Sports Illustrated)p. 119
Fear and Trembling at the Masters (from Golf Digest)p. 137
The Small Ball Theory (from US Air)p. 155
It's Not in the Hole (from Golf Journal)p. 161
Golf Lessons (from Callaway Journal)p. 171
Paul Tavilla (from Smart)p. 185
Eddie Shore: A Portrait (from Open Net)p. 193
Yanks at Cambridge (from Esquire)p. 205
Gods (from Saints, Saviors & Sinners, ESPN)p. 213
Squash (introduction to Squash)p. 237
Did Willie Hit It for Five Sewers? (from Daily News)p. 243
Come On In--The Water's Fine (Once You're In) (introduction to Splash)p. 257
On the Firing Line (from Sports Illustrated)p. 265
John McEnroe Keeps the Peace (from Esquire)p. 283
Ten Ways to Shake an Opponent's Hand at the Net After Being Defeated 6-0, 6-2 (from Tennis Week)p. 289
Wimbledon (from Tennis Week)p. 293
Sidd Finch for Sydney? (by "Mark Hofmann" from Sports Illustrated)p. 305
Managing to Wrestle (from Smart)p. 317