Archive for January, 2010

Carrie’s Painting of the Week, 1/18/10

Monday, January 18th, 2010



By Carrie Jacobson

Niobe was a good cat. No, she was a great cat.

I was about to start college at Northeastern University in Boston, and I was living in a city for the first time, and living alone for the first time. I was lonely and I was scared, and I went to the local animal shelter to get a cat, but came away with a dog.

Her name was October, and she was a beautiful cross of a German shepherd and maybe an Australian shepherd. That first day, we walked around the city for the whole day. Eight or nine hours, we walked, and at the end of it, she wanted to walk more. We walked the entire day the next day, and still, I hadn’t dented her energy level.

What had started as a well-founded doubt now became a clear and unavoidable problem: I would not be able to take my day-school courses, and my night-school courses (I was going to cooking school at night), and have this dog.

So in tears, I brought her back to the shelter.

I left, and walked home. I made it as far as the lawn of the Museum of Fine Arts, which was next to my apartment building, and I sat down and I wept. I wept for October, I wept for myself, I wept for all the dogs in shelters, and all the dogs abandoned and unloved, and then I heard someone say my name.

It was one of my neighbors in the apartment building. He wanted to know where the dog was. I told him my story, crying the whole time.

“You brought her back to the shelter?” he asked.

“Yes,” I wailed, feeling like the worst person on the face of the earth.

“Angell Memorial?” he asked.

I nodded.

“I’m going to get her,” he said. “Right now. I’m moving to the country tomorrow, to a farm, with, like, 20 acres. I love that dog. I’m going to go get her.”

And off he went.

The next day, he and October moved, and I went back to the shelter. There was another wrinkle in this story, for another time, but in the end, I came home with Niobe, a pure white cat, who was probably a year old.

She was an amazing cat, and a funny one, too. Her fur was so thick, and her body so round, she always looked a little like a stuffed cat. Throughout her life, she spent good amounts of time staring at nothing. Staring into corners, staring into space, just watching the air. Also, she was a klutz. She misjudged distances,  and would fall off things she was clearly hoping to jump onto.

She was a food hound, and for years, I fought with her over my food. If I had muffins, she would find them and eat them, including jumping up onto the refrigerator, one day, and tearing open a bag and eating nearly an entire corn muffin.

I’d end up using cereal boxes to make walls around my breakfast, because I couldn’t keep her off the table or away from my bowl. When I moved in with Peter, he set out to keep Niobe on the floor. He’d find her on the dining room table, and she’d stick her head under a newspaper or magazine, figuring that if she couldn’t see him, he couldn’t see her.

If I went away for any length of time, I’d leave Niobe with Mom. Always, when I retrieved her, she’d be mad, and sit with her back to me for days.

But she slept on top of the covers, between my knees, nearly every night for all those years. She greeted me at the dog, dog-like, every day. She put up with other cats, other dogs, boyfriends and eventually a husband, though the first time she met Peter, she bit him.

I had her for 21 years, longer than half my life. She died while we were living in Maryland, and I buried her beneath a forsythia bush on a sunny hillside in our backyard.

This painting is from a picture of Niobe, staring off into nothingness at my mother’s house. It is oil on canvas, 36×42. For price and delivery options, email me at

Shawn’s Painting of the Week, 1/19/10

Monday, January 18th, 2010


Pastel painting of Crabtree’s Mill in Montgomery.

Rich’s Photo, 1/19/10

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Photography by Rich Gigli

The Red Mill


The Red Mill

The ca. 1810 Red Mill, Clinton, N.J., was originally built as a woolen mill. Over the next 100 years, the Mill was used at different times to process grains, plaster, talc and graphite, and pump water for the town.
The historic Red Mill is known across the country as a photogenic symbol of early America’s rural industry. It is the most photographed spot in New Jersey and one of the top ten most photographed buildings in the U.S.

From Claude Pepper to Pepper Schwartz

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

By Michael Kaufman

When Claude Pepper died in 1989, Horace B. Deets, executive director of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), said it would be hard to find an advocate for the rights of older Americans who could replace the feisty Florida Congressman. ”There really isn’t anyone on the American political landscape who could step into Claude Pepper’s shoes,” said Deets.

The current version of AARP serves to prove his point. Instead of vigorously promoting the ideals of Claude Pepper (such as universal health care), the AARP now offers its 35-million members advice to the lovelorn from Dr. Pepper!  That would be Dr. Pepper Schwartz, described as “AARP’s sex and relationship expert,” who has written 16 books on the dating habits and sensuality of couples and singles. I know this because I am a member of AARP and I got an email from the organization last week with a subject line that grabbed my attention: “Michael, Delicious Burger Recipes!” 

Under “Featured Recipe: Full-Flavored Burgers,” I read, “Bored with the basic burger?” (Not at all. I like basic burgers.) “Jazz up your next meal with our Spicy Turkey Burgers With Pickled Onions, Blue Cheese-Stuffed Bacon Sliders, and Greek-Bison Burgers. Yum!” (Yum? Are you kidding me?  “Yuck” I would say.)

Then I noticed the heading that followed: “Rev Up Your Love Life.” (Okay, vroom, vroom!) “Want to increase your partner’s libido? What about taking a romantic vacation? Get answers to these questions and more on romance and relationships! (Click) “Boomer Dating Advice, Birth Control, Condoms, Painful Sex, Pepper Schwartz, The Naked Truth” (Huh?)

“Pepper Answers Your Questions. Topics covered: Sex with arthritic hips, condoms, initiating sex with a menopausal partner.” (What is this, Geriatric Cosmo? And who is this Pepper anyway?) “Dr. Pepper Schwartz…. Her mission is to improve the lives of aging boomers and the 50+ audience by enhancing their relationships and offering counsel on everything from sex and health issues, to communication and dating as you age.”

My mother taught me not to make fun of people’s names. (I’m doing my best, ma, but Pepper Schwartz? It makes me laugh.) The only other person named Pepper I can recall is Pepper Gomez, a professional wrestler, who appeared on the old “Bedlam From Boston” TV show when I was a kid.

Gomez was called “The Man with the Cast-Iron Stomach” and he once had a match with the legendary Killer Kowalski in which Kowalski was unable to get a grip on that stomach in order to apply his famous “Claw” hold. The frustrated Kowalski then convinced the gullible Gomez to allow him to jump on his stomach from the top of a turnbuckle in the corner of the ring.

Gomez positioned himself flat on his back. Kowalski climbed to the top of the turnbuckle and, villain that he was, promptly jumped on to his neck. Gomez then thrashed about wildly, pointing at his supposedly damaged neck. Had the injury been real and not faked, the Gomez family would have been stuck with some serious medical expenses because professional wrestlers had no health insurance. Gomez was 77 when he died in 2004. Perhaps he was a member of AARP.

So what kind of advice does one get from Pepper Schwartz? Here is one example:

“Q: I have been on a number of dating sites. All the MEN want is someone to cook and clean and wash dirty underwear. NONE of them like baseball. All want to stay at home or watch TV, etc. What happened to men who have a love of life? I am also not supporting someone who sits on his behind all day. If you have any advice for me, just toss it in the ring.”

“A: Where have you been looking: Seriously, it might be the way you are picking profiles, because this isn’t my impression of the online-dating world at all. Granted, there are some oddly disconnected characters out there, but they aren’t the majority.

“I really have some chops on your question: Not only am I the relationship expert on one of the larger sites, but the Web is where I found the man I am with now. Before that, when I was 55, I started dating online and fell in love several times with people I regard, even in retrospect, as truly worthy.

“So why aren’t you seeing these guys? I don’t know. Maybe your search criteria isn’t (sic) working for you. Try looking for keywords like “athletic,” “active,” “sports,” “baseball fan,” “independent,” or “hyperactive.” Search for results that filter for guys who like an active life—and aren’t waiting around for Princess Charming to rescue them and set them up in some castle somewhere.”

Where to begin? Am I the only one who sees a few red flags here, in both the question and the answer? I happen to love baseball. I used to be a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. But frankly, if I were single and I ran into that woman and she asked me if I like baseball, I’d probably just say no. 
The burger recipes and advice from Dr. Pepper are followed in the AARP email by “Design & Home Remodeling,” and “Spices That Fight Cancer!”

Last on the list is “What Health Care Reform Means to You.” AARP is paying attention to the wrong Pepper.

Michael can be reached at

A Senatorial Foot in Mouth Again

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

By Jeffrey Page

Now’s the time for certain Senate Democrats exhibiting bizarre behavior to be relieved of leadership positions and to give the party back to fair-minded people.

chuckLast month it was Charles Schumer, our genius senator from New York, calling a woman flight attendant who displeased him “a bitch,” and getting away with it. There was some critical talk for a day or so, and then all manner of Schumer’s sexist streak – what would he have called a male attendant? – vanished, like it never happened.

And now, a new book quotes Schumer’s Senate colleague, Majority Leader Harry Reid, commenting in 2008 on Barak Obama’s appearance and voice in light of his presidential aspirations. Obama is a “light-skinned” black man, Reid said. Why do I get a sense there was more to this than sheer observation, and that Reid was suggesting that such a lighter skinned African-American would be a better fit for the Democratic ticket than a dark-skinned African-American?

Reid also noted that Obama has “no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one.” (Good god, did the Democratic majority leader of the United States Senate really just refer to a “Negro dialect?” In this, the 21st century?) Reid was saying that Obama’s “Negro dialect” allowed him to sound one way when speaking before the NAACP, another while addressing a reunion of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, and a third while appearing before the (non-existent) National Council of Debate Enunciation. I walk away from this thinking that Reid was really saying that Obama can sound pretty white when he thinks it’s necessary.

Obama has acknowledged such varying tones, but hold the thought for a minute because Reid’s concerns seem a little one-sided. If Reid ever took note of the fact that Hillary Clinton’s artificial southern drawl was evident when she campaigned in the south but is nonexistent now when she meets with Hamid Karzai to discuss the legitimacy of the Afghan election, I missed the story.

And if Reid has wondered about that blackboard-squealing Texas drawl of President George W. Bush – who grew up in New England, attended Yale, moved to Texas and only then developed the accent – I apologize but I never saw that story either.

Democrats, having given Schumer a pass by their silence last month, now are falling all over themselves defending Reid. Dianne Feinstein of California, noting that Reid apologized to President Obama and that Obama accepted his regrets, said enough is enough. Let’s move on.

Well, wait a second. You don’t have to be Obama himself to be mortified by Reid’s drivel about “Negro” skin color and speech patterns, and you didn’t have to be the flight attendant to be outraged by Schumer’s sexual slur aboard that airplane. Decent Americans will reject such drivel.

I hate the political tit-for-tat that amounts to: The other party did it and didn’t have to pay a price so why should we? The Republicans are using this line and it’s tiresome. Several have interrupted their field day against Reid with remembrances of the pressure exerted on their own majority leader, Trent Lott, to step down eight years ago when he spoke glowingly of Strom Thurmond’s 1948 presidential bid on a segregation-forever platform.

Lott resigned as majority leader, but Reid is showing no signs of giving up his leadership post, leading Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas to sniff about a double standard. Cornyn was quite wrong.

Granted, Reid spoke the words of an idiot, but what he said was a far cry from Lott’s worshipful recalling the days of the height of Jim Crow – 54 years after the fact.

Jeffrey can be reached at

The World is Inchoate Without Bill Safire (Look It Up)

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

By Bob Gaydos

 Okay, I wasn’t going to write about this because I figured it was too obtuse and nobody else would care about it. An indulgence on my part. But then it was Thursday and it was still bothering me since Sunday and I figured, what the heck, what is a blog for if  not to indulge oneself, obtusely or otherwise?

 So, once upon a time (for 30 years, actually), the incomparable William Safire wrote a column on language in The New York Times Magazine. As is its wont, The Times called it On Language. Safire, who was also a Pulitzer Prize-winning political columnist and a persistent defender of individual liberties, died last year. So did his column as far as I can tell.

 Oh, On Language is still there Sundays, but I have grown out of the habit of reading it. Last Sunday, though, the headline on the column caught my eye: “Why does Justice Antonin Scalia hate this word?”

 Since I hate Antonin Scalia, I had to know what word could get under his Original Intent skin. Now I don’t hate Scalia as much. (There’s a lesson in that, kiddies.)

 The word Scalia hates is choate.

 Choate?  I said to myself. Is that even a word? Isn’t it inchoate? And how the heck do you even say the word? Plus, who would ever use such a pretentious word? What the hell does it mean? And who gives a flying fig newton anyway? Aren’t there things to write about language that normal people use? Who is this moron Ben Zimmer wasting an entire page in The Times Magazine on a word nobody knows or uses or ever will use? And whatever happened to editors showing some common sense?

 Anyway, you get the picture.

 For the record, the “word” choate has apparently wormed its way into law dictionaries (what else) because of persistent use by lawyers, who have a tendency to the pretentious that begins with their insistence on calling themselves attorneys. The thing is, choate (OK, I’ll tell you how to pronounce it: KOH-it, or KOH-ate) is a bastardization of inchoate. I willingly confess this is the first time in more than 45 years of writing that I have ever used the word in any form. Inchoate means begun but not completed, partially done. I usually say incomplete. Choate has been taken by some — mostly lawyers — to mean the opposite of inchoate — completed.

 Scalia, bless his heart of stone, isn’t buying it. He knows from his Latin that the in-prefix of inchoate is not a negative. He told a lawyer who used choate as the opposite of inchoate that it’s like thinking the opposite of disgruntled is gruntled. Apparently, Scalia had made this point several times to lawyers appearing before the court.

 Good for him. But I repeat, who gives a fig and why waste the once-valuable space of the On Language column for such fussy nonsense when there is so much to find fault with in the way real Americans speak and write every day? Zimmer actually mentions one of them in his column — the use of irregardless to mean regardless. There is no good reason for this. One is a word, the other is the result of people thinking they will sound too smart and snooty if they say regardless, and of other people (parents, teachers, bosses) letting them get away with it.

 But I have my own pet peeves. One is when people try to sound smart and snooty by saying between you and I. Ugh. I don’t know how or why this started, but these things are like chicken pox — once they start, there’s no stopping the spread. This misplaced nominative case is often uttered on TV and radio sports “analysis” shows by current, former and would-be jocks. I know I shouldn’t go there expecting perfect English, but this is particularly irritating to me because it’s a bunch of guys trying to sound well-educated by ignoring basic education. It’s even more annoying when it shows up on non-sports talk shows. Apparently nobody feels comfortable telling someone that it’s wrong, so the usage continues.

 My current main language peeve is the interchangeable use of composed of and comprised of. This is usually done in writing because comprise sounds too snooty when you say it aloud. When you write it, it’s kind of like showing off. But they don’t mean the same thing, which will come as a surprise to the entire sports staff at the Times Herald-Record.

Compose, according to my handy Encarta computer dictionary tool, means to be the parts of something: to make something by combining together. Example: fertilizer is composed of organic compounds.  Comprise, on the other hand, means to include something: to incorporate or contain something; to consist of something: to be made up of something. Fertilizer comprises several organic compounds.
 Put it this way guys: Comprise is concerned with a whole having a number of parts. The team comprises (includes) nine players, pitcher, catcher, shortstop, etc. Active voice. But compose is concerned with parts making up a whole: The team is composed of nine players. Passive voice. Nothing is comprised of anything.
 Now, I realize this is probably an exercise in futility on my part, but someone has to start insisting that people who are paid to speak and write proper English do so. If not them, who? If any of this personal peevishness spreads like chicken pox, I will be happy. And if The Times insists that the On Language column concern itself again with words people actually use, between you and me, I will be extremely gruntled.

*  *  *

 If you have any language peeves of your own, I’d like to hear them. Please be gentle or even resist pointing out any mistakes I may have made in my own writing. I don’t get paid for this.

*  *  *

 P.S.S.: Scalia’s disgruntled example on inchoate got me to thinking about other non-opposite-words that could be formed by erroneously dropping an in. For example: Carcerate is not the opposite of incarcerate; Ert is not the opposite of inert; Fuse is not the opposite of infuse; Gest is not the opposite of ingest; Hale is not the opposite of inhale; Jure is not the opposite of injure; Quest is not the opposite of inquest (They’re actually kind of the same); Corrigible is not the opposite of incorrigible; Tuitive is not the opposite of intuitive; Vade is not the opposite of invade; Vasive is not the opposite of invasive; Vent is not the opposite of invent; veigle is not the opposite of inveigle and Evitable is not the opposite of inevitable — although I can imagine a lawyer arguing that Exhibits A, B and C do not lead to D, making his client’s guilt evitable.
 I promise to get more sleep.

Bob can be reached at

How to Eat Local in the Winter

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

By Shawn Dell Joyce


OK, I’ll admit it. January often tests my commitment to eating local. I’m running low on things I canned, dried, or froze over the summer, and most farms are closed. Meanwhile, the grocery store produce aisles are brimming with ripe watermelons, peaches, grapes and other fresh produce flown thousands of miles from the tropics to our frozen black dirt. Why would anyone pass up this fossil-fueled abundance?


“My immediate answer,” says farmer and locavore Linda Borghi, “is to look deeply into the eyes of a five-year-old. What kind of world are we leaving them? It’s all about carbon emissions and your footprint. By eating as much as we can within a 100-mile radius (of our home) we are able to reduce our carbon footprint by close to 40 percent.”


While forty percent of your carbon emissions sounds like a lofty number, remember that about 30 percent of world carbon emissions are caused by burning rainforests for beef and biofuels, according to the Rainforest Fund. Add to that the 15 percent of emissions caused by the transporting produce thousands of miles according to the National Academy of Science, and Borghi’s estimate falls on the low side.


If you are looking for fresh greens, local meats and eggs, fruits and vegetables, here are the places I go to all winter.


      ·         Pennings Farm in Warwick has an indoor farm market on the weekends with many O.C. farmers including Kiernan Farm (Gardiner) offering organic, pastured beef,  Late Bloomer Farm (Montgomery) offering greens, local grains and flours, root vegetables, local cheeses, apples, wines, and many others. Hours are 11am-4pm on the weekends; (845) 986-1059


·         Jones Farm on 190 Angola Road does a bustling business in the winter with the “largest gift store in the region,” according to co-owner David Clearwater. Their farm features fresh fall apples, homemade fudge, a bakery, gourmet foods, and many other goodies. Open 8am-5pm weekends, and until 6pm during the week., (845) 534-4445.


·         Quaker Creek Store, 767 Pulaski Highway, Pine Island, (845) 258-4570, open Mon-Fri. 7am-6pm, Sat. 7am-4pm. Try their prepared foods like wonderful stuffed cabbage (local), pirogies with local potatoes and onions, Cajun Andouille with local ingredients.


·         Soons Orchards, 23 Soons Circle, New Hampton. Soons is probably famous for their pies, but you can find local garlic, vegetables, apples, pears, fresh ground peanut or almond butter, mixes for dips or soups, jars of salsa, jam and jellies, honey, and maple syrup, among other items. Open to the public 9-5:30 every day., (845) 374-5471


·         Walnut Grove Farm in the Town of Crawford, offers frozen pasture raised organic beef, pork, chicken, bacon, pies and jars of jams and jellies by appointment. Ned Roebuck (845) 313-4855


·         Blooming Hill Farm 1251 Route 208, in Washingtonville. Guy Jones and sister; Cindy Jones, offer many varieties of potatoes, squash, cold-hardy lettuces, and chards, root vegetables, onions, broccoli some fruits, eggs, Sat. from 9-2 through April.  782-7310


·         W. Rogowski Farm, 327-329 Glenwood Road, Pine Island, 258-4423, has an organic farm stand open year round. You can currently find apples, pears, shallots, turnips, beets, garlic, onions (of course) potatoes, greens of many varieties including Asian, chili peppers, squashes, turnips, radishes, cabbages, dried beans, and processed things like jellies, honey, maple syrup, sugar and crème. Sat. from 9-2 until spring.


Shawn Dell Joyce is the founder of the Wallkill River School in Montgomery, and an author of “Orange County Bounty” local foods cookbook.

Shawn’s Painting of the Week, 1/12/10

Monday, January 11th, 2010


The view of Montgomery as you enter through Ward’s Bridge. The pastel painting is the newest in a series of paintings celebrating Montgomery’s bicentennial. A portfolio of prints of these paintings is available to benefit the Montgomery Historic Museum.

Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 01/13/10

Monday, January 11th, 2010



By Carrie Jacobson

Some creatures are made for this weather, and Sam is one of them. He’s a Samoyed (don’t blame us… he came with the name!). He’s a huge dog, made even huger by his blanket-thick coat. He has hair on his ears, hair on his paws, thick hair on his face. On these frigid mornings, he is in his element, romping and stomping along in the snow, a huge smile on his face. This winter’s glee has made up for all those hot summer afternoons.

For price and delivery options, contact

One Day Rodney Will Be in Hall of Fame

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

By Michael Kaufman

Maybe it won’t happen in my lifetime but one day there will be a plaque on display in the Baseball Hall of Fame in honor of Lester Rodney. Rodney, who died last week at the age of 98, was a sportswriter for the Daily Worker from 1936 to 1958. He played a significant role in breaking the color line in American sports, but, as Dave Zirin aptly noted in a recent column in the Huffington Post, instead of getting the recognition he deserved, “he was largely erased from the books.” Rodney’s writing “is still bracing and ahead of its time,” wrote Zirin.

It was Rodney’s association with the Worker, the Communist Party newspaper that led to his being shunted aside during the McCarthy Era and Cold War period. That has changed in recent years as historians and some of the better modern-day sportswriters (especially Zirin) have taken a closer look at the events leading up to the signing of Jackie Robinson by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

But there is still a long way to go, in part because of the way we Americans have been conditioned to view historic events. Thus, Richard Nixon now gets credit for the Title IX legislation of 1972 that requires gender equity for boys and girls in every educational program that receives federal funding. Nixon, as president, merely signed off on the bill. But that legislation was made possible by people like the little girl in Staten Island who decided she wanted to play Little League baseball and would not take “no” for an answer…. by Bernice Gera, who fought for a chance to become a professional baseball umpire…. by Kathy Switzer, who registered as “K.V. Switzer” to run in the Boston Marathon in 1967 and finished despite an attempt by race official Jock Semple to rip off her numbers and eject her from the event…. and by countless other courageous girls and women.

Title IX did not happen in a vacuum and neither did Branch Rickey’s signing of Robinson. The latter was to have been the subject of my thesis for a graduate course in sociology in 1973. I wrote to Rodney, who was then working as editor of the religion section of a newspaper in California. Like Zirin, as a young sportswriter I found inspiration in Rodney’s old columns and the campaign he and his colleagues launched in the pages of the Worker beginning in 1936 to end what they called “The Crime of the Big Leagues,” namely the systematic exclusion of black players from major-league baseball.

In the years that followed, their articles led to petitions, demonstrations at Ebbets Field and other major-league ballparks, even passage of a resolution by the New York City Council, calling for an end to racial discrimination in baseball. By the time Rickey signed Robinson there was a groundswell of popular support for the move.

“There is so much more than the dates, interviews, statements,” Rodney wrote in his gracious reply. “Those are the bones. The ATMOSPHERE when we started digging into it would seem like a million light years from today to younger folks.” He recalled a 1937 conversation with Burleigh Grimes, then manager of the Dodgers, who had confided his belief that a number of Negro League players had major-league talent. But when Rodney asked if he could quote him, Grimes unhappily replied, “Don’t you know I can’t talk about them? Don’t you know it can NEVER happen, living and traveling together, showers, clubhouse…let’s talk about something else.”

Rodney recounted the unique cooperation between the Worker and the weekly newspapers that served the black community, and the way “none of the other papers — not the liberal Post, Times, whatever, ever touched the subject.” Years later, they would write disparagingly, as Dick Young of the Daily News did in his 1951 book, Roy Campanella, with comments like, “Roy found himself accosted by a man who introduced himself as a reporter from the Daily Worker, communistic organ…” 

“Of course,” wrote Rodney,” both I and Nat Low knew Roy long and well before that.” Low was the Worker’s expert on the Negro Leagues and Rodney credited him for playing “a vital role in the climactic years during World War II” when Rodney was serving in the army.

Soon after receiving Rodney’s letter I had an opportunity to interview Campanella. He smiled warmly at the mention of Low’s name. “How is Nat?” he asked. When I told him that Low had been dead for years he shook his head sadly.

 Since 1962, the Baseball Writers Association of America, which elects players to the Hall of Fame, has conducted a separate ballot to honor a writer with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award. Spink, the driving force of The Sporting News, known during his lifetime as the “Baseball Bible,” was its first recipient. Other recipients include the likes of Ring Lardner, Damon Runyan, Grantland Rice, John T. Carmichael, Red Smith and Shirley Povich. (There are a couple of turkeys in there, too, but we won’t talk about that now.)  

The 1993 Spink Award recipient was Wendell Smith of the Pittsburgh Courier, a weekly newspaper that has served the black community in Pittsburgh since 1910. Smith was honored posthumously in large part for his role in the fight against the color bar, particularly for a series of articles he wrote in 1939, which included an outpouring of anti-segregation statements by white major-league players. The Worker was the only daily newspaper in the country to run the series and Smith wrote to Rodney: “I take this opportunity to congratulate you and the Daily Worker for the way you have joined with us on the current series concerning Negro players in the major leagues, as well as all your past great efforts in this respect.”

It is only a matter of time before Lester Rodney (and perhaps Nat Low as well) will be similarly honored.

Michael can be reached at