David Bruce: The Funniest People in Sports: 250 Anecdotes — Language, Managers


• A boxer named Young Griffo hung out at a billiard parlor owned by New York Giants manager John McGraw and jockey Tod Sloan, where he was in the habit of asking everybody for loans. Once, he met an Englishman and asked for the loan of a buck. The Englishman asked, “How much is a buck?” Young Griffo replied, “Twenty dollars.”

• After retiring from pitching, Dizzy Dean became an announcer, despite his lack of knowledge of English grammar. Once he was accused of ruining the syntax of his young listeners. Mr. Dean asked, “Sin tax? What will those fellers in Washington think of next?”


• Casey Stengel used to try to get games called on account of darkness when his team was ahead late in a game. Often, he would light matches in the dugout as a hint to umpires that it was getting dark. In one game, his team was ahead, darkness was coming, but his pitcher was starting to tire. Mr. Stengel made several trips to the mound in an attempt to stall and force the umpires to call the game, but the umpires were wise to him and determined to give the other team a full inning. Finally, Mr. Stengel walked out to the mound — using a flashlight to light his way. The fans laughed, but the umpires threw him out of the game.

• Casey Stengel was managing the Brooklyn Dodgers when he decided to pull pitcher “Boom Boom” Beck. After a lengthy conference on the mound, during which Boom Boom protested against being pulled, Boom Boom angrily turned around and tried to throw the baseball over the right-field fence. The baseball didn’t quite make it and hit the fence. Dodger right fielder Hank Wilson had been daydreaming, and when he heard the baseball hit the fence, he thought play had resumed. Hank fielded the baseball, then threw it to second base to cut off the nonexistent runner.

• During his early days in show business, comedian Joe E. Brown had a chance to play for a baseball club. Because the club was just starting, he saw no reason not to ask for his favorite position, so he told the club manager he wanted to play second base and would not play shortstop or third base. This made the manager laugh because — as he pointed out to Mr. Brown — not only was he was the manager, but he also played second base.

Martial Arts

• Tajima wanted to achieve the highest level of skill in the martial arts. To achieve his goal, he sought a teacher, eventually choosing Kanjin, who reluctantly accepted him as a student, then put him to work doing the menial labor of a servant. For a long time, nothing happened, then as Tajima was gathering firewood, a blow from a stick crashed on his head. Looking behind him, Tajima saw his teacher, Kanjin. From then on, Kanjin made Tajima’s life miserable. Tajima never knew when his teacher would sneak up behind him and hit him with a stick. One day, Tajima saw his teacher bent over a pot, cooking rice. Thinking that this was the perfect opportunity for revenge, Tajima grabbed the teacher’s stick, snuck up behind Kanjin, then tried to hit him with as much force as he could. However, Kanjin whirled around and stopped the blow with the lid of the cooking pot. Tajima bowed to his teacher, then continued his studies. Eventually, Tajima learned to be constantly alert against surprise attacks.

• In the 1960s British tongue-in-cheek TV series The Avengers, Mrs. Cathy Gale, played by Honor Blackman, used judo to subdue her attackers. The use of judo came about through a process of elimination. The producers had already rejected the idea of Mrs. Gale screaming for help. At first, they had her reach into a handbag for a gun, but that grew tiresome. Then they tried having Mrs. Gale wear a gun in a garter holster, but it made her walk bowlegged. Next they tried concealing the gun in an under-arm holster, but tight sweaters are incompatible with concealed guns. Then came concealed daggers and short swords, but they kept cutting her bra straps. Finally, René Burdet, who had been the head of the Resistance in Marseilles during World War II, taught Ms. Blackman how to throw people. Later, both Ms. Blackman and Patrick Macnee, who played John Steed, learned judo from Douglas Robinson, a 9th Dan black belt.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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