Flashbacks: when Nathaniel met Herman, a tribute to Boston’s “other” team, and sportswriter Michael Gee nominates himself to be baseball’s newest commissioner


5 Years Ago

August 22, 2003 | Michael Bronki explored Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville’s "complex, sexually fraught relationship," which, he says, bloomed one summer while the former was caring for his son in the family home in Lenox.

"But lurking within this family romance of nature walks and berry picking is a darker story — possible material for another version of The Scarlet Letter — which critics seem to want to avoid: the complex, sexually fraught relationship that summer between Hawthorne and Herman Melville. The 31-year-old author of the soon-to-be-published Moby-Dick (it would be released, and critically dismissed, in November of that year) visited Hawthorne and Julian several times over the course of their summer idyll. But as felicitous as Melville’s cameo appearances were in Hawthorne’s retelling, they were in reality complicated by the younger writer’s idealization of the distinguished author 15 years his senior. What is only hinted at in Hawthorne’s memoir — which, after all, was intended to be read principally by his wife — becomes more clear in correspondence. We have only Melville’s letters to Hawthorne (the older man’s responses were destroyed or did not survive), but boy, are they letters." Read Full Article


20 Years Ago

August 19, 1988 | While observing a tribute to Boston’s ‘other’ team, the Braves, at Boston University, writer Mark Jurkowitz said that the former players taking part "returned not so much as triumphant heroes, but as dusty curios of a time gone by."

"One by one, they amble self-conciously across the stage in the Jacob Sleeper Auditorium inside Boston University's College of Basic Studies. They are nine men -- some hobbled by their years, others looking remarkably fit between the ages of 64 and 76 who, two generations earlier, authored a small chapter of Boston history. As they take their places behind the podium, the decidedly less-than-capacity crowd rises out of their seats with a round of earnest, if not raucous applause. After all, the men they are offering tribute to, a handful of members of the 1948 pennant-winning Boston Braves, are not exactly the hallowed immortals who leap out from old newspaper clippings or the halls of Cooperstown. There is no Ted Williams or Joe DiMaggio here, and the most famous player on that club pitcher Warren Spahn had other commitments."


25 Years Ago

August 23, 1983 | With Bowie Kuhn leaving his post as commissioner of baseball, Michael Gee nominated himself for the job.

"[M]ine, sports fans, would not be a do-nothing administration (except on those days nice enough to play golf). No, I have ideas, ideas I am convinced would revolutionize baseball both on and off the field and would initiate a new era of peace, prosperity, and good feeling among owners, players, and fans except, of course, for those miscreants who I intend to kick out of the game.

"Few fans would be so designated. Only those convicted of improper behavior things like running onto the field..., yelling ‘balk’ every time an opposing pitcher tosses to first, and so on. And only a few players would suffer...Originally I had thought to curb baseball’s inflation rate by increasing unemployment--namely, by dissolving the hapless franchises in Seattle and Minnesota and thereby leaving a sensible setup of two 12-team leagues. Those 10 or 12 Mariners and Twins capable of finding employment on real teams could get rich, and the others well, perhaps we could make them all eligible for the pension plan no matter what...

"Or so I was counselled by some of my closest advisors...But my fellow baseball citizens, it would be wrong.

"Unemployment for its own sake is an unacceptable philosophy for this commisioner. The social cost of having third-string catchers roaming the streets is incalculable. No, the Gee Baseball Recovery Act of 1983 would not a cost a single player his job."


35 Years Ago

August 21, 1973 | The Phoenix published the following poem, entitled "Son," by Norman Dukes.

"HE went away sane

and came back mad.

They took him in.

He ate their food,

slept, broke things.

They kept him in.

Finally one night

he burned down the house.

They stood in the yard.

and watched the fire.

They were weeping.

He put his arms

around them: he felt

like a father

to these two children."


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