David Bruce: The Funniest People in Sports, Volume 2: 250 Anecdotes — Mishaps, Money


• Truett “Rip” Sewell once played minor-league baseball in Beaumont, Texas. He arrived when it was raining so hard that he couldn’t see the street from his hotel window, and so he didn’t even go to the ballpark. The next day, the manager, Del Baker, asked him, “Where the h*ll were you?” Mr. Sewell says, “I didn’t know it could rain on one side of the street in Texas and not on the other. It never even got cloudy at the ballpark.”

• Baseball manager Casey Stengel’s team was behind when an umpire wanted to call the game on account of darkness. Casey protested vigorously, saying, “Look, I’m sixty years old, and I can still see the ball!” To prove his point, he threw the baseball high into the air and attempted to catch it. The baseball smashed Casey’s nose, and the umpire ruled that it was too dark to play baseball.

• When Amy Grossman and Robert Davenport first started working together in pairs figure skating, it took time for them to get used to working together as a team. For a while, Robert’s chest was black and blue from frequent accidental contact with Amy’s blades. After a particularly bruising practice session, Robert told Amy, “I think I just lost my appendix or maybe it was a kidney.”

• During the Vietnam War, Arthur Ashe played some tennis in Saigon for the American troops. He was plenty nervous about being in a war zone, and when he heard some artillery, he dropped to the ground. However, the soldiers simply laughed and told him, “That’s outgoing artillery. You’ve got to learn to distinguish between the outgoing and the incoming.”

• When a batter popped up down the third-base line, both catcher Yogi Berra and third baseman Clete Boyer of the New York Yankees ran to catch it, but collided together, letting the ball fall safely to the ground. Clete asked Yogi, “What’s the matter, Yogi? Couldn’t you yell for it?” Yogi replied, “Sure, but I thought you could hear me waving at you.”

• In 1952, Notre Dame player Johnny Lattner played badly in a game against Purdue, fumbling five times. His coach, Frank Leahy, was not pleased. As punishment, he ordered that a special football—one with a handle for easy holding on to—be manufactured, and he ordered Mr. Lattner to carry it around campus.

• Yankee Joe Pepitone once hit what should have been a game-winning home run. Unfortunately, a referee called him out for not touching second base. Manager Ralph Houk ran out to protest the call, but the Yankee first-base coach told him, “Don’t argue too long, Ralph—he missed first, too.”

• Max Nicholas, the public relations head of the New York Yankees, once telephoned the great catcher Yogi Berra, waking him. Mr. Nicholas apologized, saying, “Sorry, Yogi. I hope I didn’t wake you.” Yogi replied, “Nah, I had to get up to answer the phone anyway.”


• Before comedian Don Knotts became famous, he and a friend went to New York to try—unsuccessfully—to make it big. While living in the YMCA, they met a guy and hung around with him. The guy said he needed $10 for bus fare to get home to Boston, and despite their very meager financial resources, Mr. Knotts and his friend lent the money to the guy, who promised that he would wire them the money when he got home. The guy did send a wire—it said, “SO LONG, SUCKERS!” Both Mr. Knotts and his friend did a fair amount of cursing, but they found out that the guy was only joking, as shortly afterward a wire with the money he owed them arrived. Years later, Mr. Knotts was playing in a golf tournament when a doctor watching him said, “Hey, Don. Can you lend me another ten dollars? I’ve got to get back to Boston.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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