Tony Gwynn, Baseball’s ‘Mr. Padre,’ Dies at 54

In college, Tony Gwynn read Boston Red Sox great Ted Williams’ how-to book, The Science of Hitting. It must have made an impression. The stocky left-handed outfielder, who died on June 16 at age 54 in Poway, Calif., went on to build the sort of baseball career with the San Diego Padres from 1982 to 2001 that little boys dream about. He won eight National League batting championships (tying Honus Wagner’s record), amassed 3,141 hits, had a .338 career batting …

Andy Granatelli: The Indomitable Showman

Though he immodestly titled his memoirs They Call Me Mister 500, Andy Granatelli actually was behind the wheel at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway just once, in the time trials in 1948. Back then, he was billed “Antonio the Great, Famed Italian Speed Ace,” even though he hailed from Chicago and had raced only a few times, on state fairgrounds and small tracks in the Midwest. Despite the hype, Granatelli’s career as an Indy driver ended ignominiously, when he crashed, …

Why I Hope Tom Watson Will Do It Again

If you love golf as dearly as I do, you surely remember Tom Watson, at the tender age of 59, coming within a whisper of winning the British Open in 2009. Playing masterfully over four days at Turnberry’s Ailsa Course in Ayshire, Scotland, Watson would have tied the record with a sixth Open victory but for a bogey on the last hole of regulation play. Instead, he lost to Stewart Cink in a four-hole playoff. “It would have been a …

Golfer Shoots Back-to-Back Holes-in-One

Most of us – well, at least the golfers among us – can only dream of hitting a hole-in-one. Actuaries tell us that the odds of an amateur golfer making a hole-in-one on a par 3 are approximately 12,500 to 1. The feat seems so elusively luck-laden. I say this with some authority: You’ll see my name on a plaque memorializing holes-in-one at Twin Lakes Golf Course in Clifton, Va., and mine was a totally mis-hit eight-iron shot that had …

Here’s One Athletic Feat Where Your Age Is an Advantage

One reason that golf is a great lifetime sport is that you don’t have to finish first in a tournament or even finish with the best score in your regular foursome to be a winner. You just have to beat or tie your ultimate competitor: your own age. Sid Beckwith made that point on July 19, when he celebrated his 95th birthday by shooting a 95 for 18 holes at Gardiner’s Bay Country Club in Shelter Island Heights, N.Y. As …

Stickball Hall of Fame Celebrates ‘Poor Man’s Baseball’

Two weeks before the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2013 is inducted in Cooperstown, N.Y., six athletes celebrated their own Hall of Fame inductions with a game of stickball, baseball’s scrappy, streetwise cousin. Veteran players gathered in an East Harlem schoolyard on July 12 to play the classic neighborhood sport, where broomsticks and manhole covers take the place of bats and bases. Another departure from baseball: Hall of Fame induction is based on bragging rights, not statistics. Stickball’s popularity …