[Studs Terkel on sports, part 1]

This is the first half of an interview with Studs Terkel on the golden age of baseball. Various subjects in the footage include: the Black Sox Scandal, Bill Veeck, and Babe Ruth.

00:00Copy video clip URL Color bars and tone.

00:37Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of Terkel waiting for the interview to begin.

00:47Copy video clip URL The interviewer asks Terkel about his opinion on Bill Veeck, the legendary Major League Baseball promoter and owner. Terkel talks very highly of Veeck. “To me he was the last of the independent spirits in sports itself, certainly baseball.” Terkel then recalls his time spent with Veeck at Miller’s Pub in Chicago. “What I love about Bill Veeck is the way he analyzed baseball. He says, ‘You know, we’re a country of losers to a great extent, but certain moments we experience victory. Let’s savor that.'” Terkel talks about how Veeck was the main proponent behind getting the exploding scoreboard at Comiskey Park. Terkel talks about what the scoreboard brought to the Chicago White Sox, who were a terrible team at the time. “It’s the only game in which the losers can enjoy a moment of triumph.”

02:40Copy video clip URL The interviewer asks Terkel whether Veeck was able to propel the White Sox and Comiskey Park to prominence in Chicago. Terkel talks a little bit about the difference between the White Sox and the Cubs, specifically the types of fans who attended each ballpark. Terkel states that the White Sox were a very blue collar team in comparison to the Cubs.

04:19Copy video clip URL Terkel is asked to talk about Babe Ruth and whether or not he was the greatest baseball player of all time. Terkel talks about what Babe Ruth represented in the world of baseball. The interviewer goes on to ask Terkel about the excitement that came about when Babe Ruth played at Wrigley Field and famously pointed to the grandstands before hitting a home run. Terkel gives a very colorful account of that legendary happening. He goes on to state that Ruth “saved” baseball. He then talks about the fact that Ruth never got to manage a team because of many of the owners resented him for his popularity.

09:53Copy video clip URL The interviewer asks Terkel to compare the era of Babe Ruth to the era of Michael Jordan. Terkel admits that Ruth’s era was much more important and memorable to him. He also states that Jordan is just as much a commercial figure as he is a basketball player.

11:06Copy video clip URL The interviewer than asks Terkel about what Michael Jordan meant to Chicago. Terkel states once again that Chicago is in a way a “city of losers” and a “second city.” He states that when a city’s sports team is winning, the citizens of that city develop a strong sense of pride and triumph. The interviewer asks Terkel whether or not upper class suburbanites in the Chicago area acquired a different view of the “black man” after seeing Jordan play and acquire a more iconic status. Terkel responds rather quickly and states that he doesn’t believe that for a minute.

13:04Copy video clip URL The interviewer asks Terkel about the many losing years that Chicago experienced and how that affected the city’s psyche. Terkel states that many Chicagoans had the ability to keep their heads up and use the phrase, “Wait until next year.” He compares this mindset to that of the play “Waiting For Godot.” Terkel goes onto to talk about the New York Yankees and how Chicago did not necessarily hate that team when they were doing well.

14:53Copy video clip URL Terkel talks about George Halas and what he meant to the city of Chicago. He states that Halas was one of the key figures in establishing pro football, and that he was good businessman.

15:35Copy video clip URL The interviewer asks Terkel about what page football resided on in the newspaper and in the consciousness of the citizens of Chicago. Terkel states that football was most definitely not on the front page of the newspaper and that baseball and boxing were the two primary sports of that time. Terkel then talks about the formation of football in the city. He then talks about the fact that football and basketball are sports that are made for out-sized people.

18:58Copy video clip URL Terkel talks about the sports writers of the twenties and the mysticism behind sports figures of that day. The interviewer goes on to ask Terkel about the effect of television on sports figures, specifically the lessened mysticism of modern day athletes. Terkel talks about Michael Jordan and once again states that he is one of the best salesmen of the past decade. Terkel also talks about the politics in baseball parks and stadiums, and corporate America’s involvement in sports.

22:03Copy video clip URL The interviewer asks Terkel about the Black Sox scandal. Terkel talks about the scandal in detail and refers to Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the first baseball commissioner who dealt with the Black Sox scandal, as pompous and a phony.

23:58Copy video clip URL The interviewers asks Terkel to compare Ty Cobb with Pete Rose. Terkel first talks about the type of game Cobb played and how relentless he was on the field. Terkel also goes on to say that Pete Rose should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

27:13Copy video clip URL The interviewer asks Terkel about his thoughts on Willie Mays. Terkel talks of Mays’ talent very highly. He calls his playing “effortless” and states that he was a “thinking athlete.”

28:43Copy video clip URL The interviewer then asks Terkel about Joe DiMaggio and Willie Mays. Terkel compares and contrasts the two and states that while Mays was a much more colorful player, DiMaggio was a much more artful player who played with ease.

30:28Copy video clip URL Tape ends.



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