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Grace

When I was young, I was really into baseball. However, I grew up without a television, so I wasn’t that much into current baseball. What I really liked was stories of the greats from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. I read a lot of books about baseball in those days and the great players who inhabited the diamond then.  I used to talk about those stories with my dad and hear his stories. My father was a big Yankee fan and he would talk about DiMaggio all the time.  Sure, Gehrig, Mantle, Mays, Williams, and other greats would make appearances, but DiMaggio was the greatest ever in the eyes of my dad.

My dad had lived in NYC back in the early sixties and saw DiMaggio and some of the other Yankee legends play. One thing he used to always say was that DiMaggio could do everything–hit, run, field, throw, you name it, and he did it with such grace.

Grace. It’s kind of a funny word to describe a male pro athlete. Strong, fast, powerful, scary. Now those are some good adjectives. But grace?  Hmm. But that is exactly what those old-time guys had. They weren’t as strong or weight trained or whatever, but they just moved so naturally.

The video below of Sugar Ray Robinson training is a perfect example. Sugar Ray Robinson is usually considered the greatest pound-for-pound boxer ever. Like DiMaggio, Sugar Ray could do everything. He could box, power punch, move, whatever, and he did it with real grace.

It is sad that there exists so little footage of these great athletes from a half century or more ago. For example, I couldn’t find any really good footage of DiMaggio. What you do see just serves as tantalizing glimpses of athletes whose names have served as the very watchword of ability for decades.

Please post thoughts to Comments.

Workout:

On the minute for 10 minutes

2 Power Cleans @ 85% 1RM

Then:

400m Hard Run

200m Gentle Jog

200m Hard Run

100m Gentle Jog

100m Hard Run

Rest 1 minute and repeat for a total of 3 rounds.

5 Comments

  1. Sascha

    Nice post, and that video is awesome! As slick as he was in the gym, apparently Sugar Ray Robinson cut a dashing, graceful figure in the NYC nightclubs as well–always nattily dressed, always with a bombshell or two on his arm, and never taking any lip from anyone in a pre-civil rights era.

  2. Thanks for the post, talking about grace, I always enjoy watching Kirsten (the gazelle) run

  3. That’s a great post. I’m 27 and have been lucky enough to see some other greats in my days as a sports fan…Gretzky, Jordan, Bird, Tiger…and so many others who, like DiMaggio and Sugar Ray, changed the games.

    I find it so hard to get into modern day sports, especially baseball, because in my mind, everything is tainted. With the amount of guys who are known to have used steroids in sports, how do we know everyone wasn’t using them? I’m a Yankees fan so of course I’m a Jeter fan…but when everyone else is doing it to make it in their career, is it really feasible that guys like that are ‘that’ good where they don’t have to? Or won’t? I’m not saying Jeter used steroids…or that anyone else did…I’m just saying that as a sports fan, I want to root for the guy who does it the right way.

    I miss the old days where athletes were ATHLETES…talented and passionate about their sport. Not the modern day celebrity who specializes in one area of sport…Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mrs._Robinson (Paul Simon talking about what a guy Joe DiMaggio was…enjoy)

    p.s. love your site…I live in CT but read you guys all the time…

  4. Austin E

    Drew, I love that play Jeter made in the American League series a few years back when he recognized that the throw from the outfield wasn’t going to made it, cut it off near the 12st base line and relayed it to the catcher. Steroids couldn’t do that for anyone, it was his natural gift and “grace” that allowed him to do that. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VC73LP037o

  5. Austin E…I’m on board with you…Jeter is arguably the best player of ‘our generation’…all I’m saying is that with all of the names we hear now of guys who were using steroids, that thought is always in the back of my mind. It’s unfortunate, because like you said, steroids won’t do that for anyone; that was pure talent and a gift. But the game, unfortunately, is tainted.

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