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Bob Prince Was the Talk of the Town

Bob Prince might not have been the best play-by-play man in baseball history, but he might have been the most unforgettable.

Wrote Steve Jacobson of Newsday after the death of the longtime Pittsburgh Pirates announcer this week: “Henceforth, outrageous behavior is to be measured against the standard of Bob Prince.

“He was outrageous, and that’s not a knock. He wore outrageous sports jackets, and when it was unbearably hot in the booth at the Polo Grounds and the old ballpark in St. Louis, Prince would sit there and work in his undershorts. He once lay on his back at old Forbes Field with a golf tee clenched between his teeth for Joe Kirkwood to drive a golf ball. He held still for an archer to shoot an apple off his head and for a marksman to shoot a cigarette from between his teeth.

“In 1957 he challenged Dick Stuart, who thought all there was to being an athlete was hitting home runs. Prince told Stuart to name 10 sports events, and he’d beat Stuart in 7 of them. They happened to be in St. Louis at the Chase Hotel, which had a lovely swimming pool in the U formed by three wings of the building.

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“Prince went directly to his suite on the third floor, climbed out the window and dove fully clothed into the pool. The dive was measured at 90 feet in height and 8 feet out from the building.”

After the Philadelphia Phillies had destroyed the New York Mets, 26-7, Tuesday night, none of the Mets could remember anything like it, except Jay Horwitz, the public relations director.

Said Horwitz, recalling a game in 1972 when he was the sports information director at Fairleigh Dickinson: “We were playing Delaware in the NCAA tournament. We scored a run in the top of the first inning, and it kind of went downhill from there. They beat us, 32-1. They scored in every inning except the seventh.”

Add Blowout: Said Jayson Stark of the Philadelphia Inquirer: “I went to the game to do a story on why no one in the National League can score. I guess that story is dead.”

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Another reporter, recalling Philadelphia’s 10-inning 23-22 win over the Chicago Cubs in 1979, told of a play when the Phillies were leading 20-9 in the fifth: “Pete Rose was on second. Del Unser hit a long fly, and Rose tagged. Up 11, and he tagged . Next ball was a sacrifice fly, and Rose scores for 21-9. Incredibly, Chicago comes back and ties it at 22-22 in the eighth. So Rose’s tag play, in retrospect, may be the difference between winning and losing.

“After the game, Rose says with a straight face, ‘I knew 20 wouldn’t be enough.’ ”

Wait a Minute: A reader contended in a letter recently that Joe Louis wouldn’t have besmirched his record by fighting the kind of stiffs Larry Holmes has been digging up.

Maybe the reader never heard of Louis’ famous bum-of-the month club. Starting in December, 1940, and ending in May, 1941, Louis put his title on the line every month, disposing of such worthies as Al McCoy, Red Burman, Gus Dorazio, Abe Simon, Tony Musto and Buddy Baer.

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Quotebook

Tony Kornheiser of the Washington Post, on Philadelphia’s 26-7 win over the New York Mets: “You see the pitching line on Calvin Schiraldi: 1 innings, 10 hits, 10 runs, 10 earned runs. Who did they think he was, Mary Lou Retton?”


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