Writing about Alex Karras in today’s Sports On TV: Archer’s 15 Greatest Sports Moments sent me down a YouTube rabbit hole, and I cannot believe what I found.
If you’re like me, you know George Plimpton best from Ken Burns’ Baseball and from that one episode of ‘The Simpsons’ where he tries to talk Lisa into throwing a spelling bee for a college scholarship and a hot plate (“it’s perfect for soup!”). In the 1950s and 60s, Plimpton was a prolific sportswriter and author whose schtick was signing up to participate in pro sports without any training or know-how, then writing about his experience. He boxed with Sugar Ray Robinson, stood in net for the Boston Bruins, pitched in a post-season exhibition game at Yankee Stadium under coach Mickey Mantle and attended preseason training as a backup quarterback for the Detroit Lions. These moments were shared in beautifully-written books or in the pages of Sports Illustrated.
Also one time he learned pro wrestling against the dad from ‘Webster’ dressed like a caveman lion. That was … uh, not written about beautifully.