Here’s a great column by my favorite sports columnist, George Vescey, on Cincinnati baseball hero Joey Votto.
Votto’s having a terrific season (two more homers yesterday!) but Vecsey’s an even more fascinating character. He started out as a
sportswriter in the 1960s, then switched and spent a decade covering miner’s strikes in Kentucky, politics on Long Island, and religion all over. “In 1978 he covered the conclaves in Rome that elected John Paul I and John Paul II,” says his NY Times bio.
Oh, and while Vecsey was in Kentucky, he co-wrote “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” the 1976 autobiography of Loretta Lynn.
In ’82 Vecsey returned to the sports pages as a columnist for The Times — his first, best destiny, to quote Mr. Spock. I feel real lucky to have had him there during the meat of my newspaper-reading years.
As for the Votto column, it’s amazing how much of Cincinnati Vecsey captures in this story. “The old
neighborhood of Over-the-Rhine still serves as a northern outpost of
Appalachia.” Yes, it does. And Izzy’s makes great pastrami sandwiches.