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The Post's Shirley Povich

Shirley Povich Tribute

  Gehrig Cried, the Senators Left — and Ripken Played

Compiled by Steve Fox
Washingtonpost.com Staff

Few sportswriters can write about the 1927 New York Yankees from personal recollection, praising the immense talents of Babe Ruth because he was there to watch the "Sultan of Swat" in person. Povich's ability to describe the purity of the game in earlier decades and compare it to present-day baseball provides much of the strength of Povich's recent columns.

What has bothered Povich the most since 1971, however, is the fact that the nation's capital has been left without a representative in a sport billed as the national pasttime. Since Washington lost the Senators, Povich has continually pushed for the expansion gods to bring baseball back to D.C. Here are a collection of some of Povich's top baseball articles and columns.

  • 'Iron Horse' Breaks as Athletic Greats Meet
    July 4, 1939
    Povich was at Yankee Stadium for Lou Gehrig Day in 1939, starting off his column with: "I saw strong men weep this afternoon."

  • This Morning With Shirley Povich
    Oct. 9, 1956
    In Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, New York Yankees pitcher Don Larsen achieved the improbable by tossing a perfect game. Povich's opening sentences to his story are legendary: "The million-to-one shot came in. Hell froze over. A month of Sundays hit the calendar. Don Larsen today pitched a no-hit, no-run, no-man-reach-first game in a World Series. "

  • The Senators' Final Game
    Oct. 1, 1971
    Povich describes the depressing scene of the final game of the Washington Senators after "71 years on earth." About 14,460 fans were present to say goodbye to the team headed for, as Povich writes, "some jerk town with the single boast it is equidistant from Dallas and Fort Worth."

  • Baseball: Here Today and Gone Tomorrow
    April 7, 1990
    For 71 years, the nation's capital was a valued member of the big league scene, but, in 1990, RFK Stadium hosted its last major league baseball game, an event Povich viewed as mortifying.

  • No Mistaking These Guys for Cy Young
    July 7, 1991
    The award for excellence is named after Cy Young, but in an era where a pitcher's goal is to go six innings, few meet the mark set by Young, who once tossed 54 consecutive complete games.

  • Durocher: He Did Nicely
    Oct. 8, 1991
    Povich pays tribute to the legendary manager Leo Durocher, who entered the phrase, "Nice guys finish last" into the American lexicon.

  • The Game the Owners Didn't Want
    July 11, 1993
    The All-Star Game is a revenue bonanza for today's owners, but it didn't start out that way. Povich recalls how owners had to be dragged toward the idea, kicking and screaming, by Arch Ward, the powerful sports editor of the Chicago Tribune.

  • 1924: When Senators Were Kings
    Oct. 22, 1994
    When the Washington Senators made it into the World Series in 1924, Povich was there. In 1994, he recounted what he described as one of the great improbable outcomes of all time.

  • Cobb: Best Player — Not Best Man
    Jan. 1, 1995
    Coinciding with the release of the movie "Cobb," Povich makes the case that Ty Cobb was the greatest player of all time. At the same time, Povich writes that Cobb was one of baseball's preeminent scoundrels.

  • Legend, Truth Mix With Ruth
    Feb. 5, 1995
    On the 100th anniversary of Babe Ruth's birth, Povich paid tribute to the man who bashed a homer every 8.5 times at bat, many to distances beyond the reach of those who came before him.

  • Mantle's Critics Swing, Miss
    June 19, 1995.
    When Mickey Mantle ended up in a hospital, awaiting a liver transplant after a lifetime of alcohol abuse, Povich was one of the few sportswriters to rise to the defense of one of baseball's all-time greats.

  • Beyond the Feat, Ripken Fills Gehrig's Shoes
    Sept. 8, 1995
    Povich was at Camden Yards on Sept. 6, 1995, when the Orioles' Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive-games record of 2,130. Povich noted the importance of Ripken's ability to show up for work every day, saying that other than Babe Ruth, no one has had a greater impact on the game of baseball.

  • The Ball Stayed White, but the Game Did Not
    March 28, 1997
    Povich recalls the 1947 entry of Jackie Robinson into major league baseball with the following lead: "Four hundred fifty-five years after Columbus discovered America, white America discovered that blacks could play major league baseball."

  • No Stepping on Ruth's Feats
    Sept. 26, 1997
    As Ken Griffey Jr. and Mark McGwire gave chase to Roger Maris's sacred record of 61 homers in a season, Povich wrote that while there have been many pretenders to the throne over the years, the last few homers always prove to be the toughest.

© Copyright 1997 washingtonpost.com

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