Joe Vault
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By In Basketball, Joe Vault

A Basketball Carol

Red Klotz points out the sliding glass door at the ocean just 100 yards away.
Red:: Look out there.
Me: Yes. It’s beautiful.
Red: You know, every day it looks different. Every single day.
Me: Because of the weather?
Red: Because of the ocean.

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By In Joe Vault

Rafer Johnson and the Power of 10

First event: 100-meter dash

Rafer Johnson came into the decathlon 50 years ago — at the 1960 Olympics in Rome — as the heavy favorite and the world-record holder. He got off to a bit of a rough start. There were three false starts in his 100-meter heat, and on the third he ran about halfway before realizing that he had to come back. The extra energy he exerted may have depleted him, and Johnson ran a 10.9… slow by his high standards. He had run a 10.6 when setting the world record at the Olympic trials in Eugene, Ore., just months earlier.

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By In Baseball, History, Joe Vault

Is That All I Did?

Bob Gibson smiles hard. It’s about to happen again. Over the years, Gibson has learned to tell when someone is about remind him how ferocious… heartless… intimidating he used to be. He has learned to brace himself for those peppy, ‘You were vicious!” compliments (they are compliments, right?) and the awed “You were a killer out there!” tributes (they are tributes, right?). He has learned to see them coming, the fans — they’re definitely fans — who remember him fondly for that glare and those up-and-in fastballs, who think of him as young and raging and invincible, with fury and pride and the purest annoyance oozing from his forehead instead of sweat.

“Mr. Gibson,” this man says. “Oh, do I remember the way you pitched. I remember all those batters you hit. They were so scared of you.”

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By In Baseball, Joe Vault

The Imperfect Game

There was something beautiful lost in the Jim Joyce fiasco, something that I hope I remember for as long as I remember the blown call. Yes, it’s hard to think about beautiful things when you have just watched one of the most absurd injustices in the history of baseball. But I’m a father of two young kids. And fathers find themselves looking for lessons. And there was something beautiful in the Jim Joyce fiasco.

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By In Football, Joe Vault

The Legend of Herschel

The legend goes like this: There was a young boy in Wrightsville, Ga. (“The Friendliest Town in Georgia!”) who didn’t like to do anything at all. He would just lie there on the couch all summer, dreaming his life away, until one day his father said that this just wouldn’t do.

“What do you like to do?” the father asked.

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By In Baseball, History, Joe Vault

On the road to Villa Vasquez

On the road to Villa Vasquez, Tony Pena cried, not for the first time that day and not for the last.

“No,” he said. “Not that story. I will not tell that story.”

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