Written by Chris Boyle Saturday, 21 September 2013 00:00
Legendary sports journalist Hal Bock held a book signing at the East Williston Library on Tuesday, Sept. 10, celebrating the release of his ode to a special cartoonist who spent decades making poignant observations and poking good-natured fun at the great American pastime: baseball.
His newest tome, entitled Willard Mulling’s Golden Age of Baseball Drawings 1934-1972, is an ode to a great sports cartoonist and co-worker from his days at the World Telegram and the Sun.
An East Williston resident for 37 years, Bock seemingly has done it all during his 40-year career writing sports at the Associated Press. He covered 30 World Series and 30 Super Bowls. He attended his first fall classic and Super Bowl II in 1968. In fact, when he finally called it quits in 2004, he did so held a record.
“When I had retired I had covered more World Series and more Super Bowls than any other AP reporter,” he said. “That record may have been broken since, but that’s my claim to fame.”
Born in New York City, Bock grew up in The Bronx and eventually attended New York University. While there, he worked part-time for the World Telegram and Sun newspaper, where he first met Willard Mulling, not knowing that, decades later, he would be writing a book about him and his work.
After graduating from NYU, Bock joined the Army for six months and then worked for the New York Rangers hockey team for two seasons. Then he embarked upon his dream job: writing sports for the Associated Press.
“Working for the Rangers was fun, but what I really wanted to do is write sports, and I knew this all of my life,” he said. “When I was 8 years old, my father took me to my first baseball game, and when I saw the press box and found out that there were people whose job it was to come and watch a baseball game every day...bingo! I knew what I wanted to do with my life.”
After retiring, Bock taught journalism at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus for eight years.
“I really enjoyed talking to the kids and helping them to learn about sports journalism,” he said. “It was a lot of fun, but after a while the drive got to be too much.”
Over the course of his career, Bock has penned 13 books; the one he’s most proud of is The Pictorial History of Baseball, published in 1993. The new book is a chance to bring old-school visual storytelling to the Instagram generation.
“I can’t say I really knew [Mulling] personally, because at the time I was 17 years old, but I admired him and I watched him work...he had a new comic in the paper every day, and I always read it,” he said. “He died in 1978, and I thought it would be great if someone would put together a book of his cartoons and bring it to a new generation.”
Richard Pinsker and his wife Enid—an East Williston couple, who “live and breathe baseball,”—share that dream. “I remember reading the Daily News as a kid, and those cartoons were so great...they made a parody of everything and brought humor to a serious sport,” said Richard. “There’s a feeling of the cartoons back then that you just don’t get out of the text of the history of that time. Nothing represents sports like a great cartoon.”
Bock originally proposed the book to celebrate Mulling’s 100th birthday, which would have been in 2003; however, due to the long, bumpy road of assembling the cartoons, getting a publisher, and other sundry tasks, it is now celebrating Mulling’s 110th birthday instead.
At the library, Bock gave a lecture on the life and career of Willard Mulling, followed by a Q&A session and a signing of the book.
In speaking about his life and times as a sports writer, Bock’s remembrances brought a constant smile to his face; he said there isn’t a single thing he would change.
“I have led a charmed life,” he said. “I’ve been able to report on sporting events all over the world...it’s been a great adventure, and I’ve loved every moment of it.”
Last Updated (Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00) Saturday, 08 March 2014 00:00
It’s a family affair for the Winters of Port Washington when they make pilgrimages to Bobb Howard’s General Store in New Hyde Park. “There’s something in that store for everyone,” says Tracy Winters, who has been a customer of this retro candy and toy store for eight years. Tracy goes for the Astro Pops, husband Michael gets Marshmallow Twists and Tracy’s mother, Phyllis Heller of Bellmore, can’t resist the Goldenberg Peanut Chews. Jake, Tracy’s older son, isn’t a candy lover so he gravitates to the old-time toys and nostalgia posters.
Jamie Waller of Queens says it made him feel like a kid again when he saw the wall of candy with treats from the 1990s and 1950s sitting next to each other. “Anything you can possibly want is there,” he says. For Jamie, a big treat is Circus Peanuts, peanut-shaped marshmallows. “My dad used to love them when he was a kid,” he says.
Last Updated (Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00) Friday, 07 March 2014 00:00
One fortunate New Hyde Park resident was rescued from the freezing cold on Tuesday, Feb. 25 thanks to Dr. Julia Harmon, DVM, of the New Hyde Park Animal Hospital. That night, at approximately 8 p.m., Harmon was going to her car after work when she saw Spike, a wandering bulldog near Brooklyn Avenue, one block from the vet’s office on Jericho Turnpike.
Harmon immediately brought Spike, who was not wearing a collar and did not have a microchip implanted for identification, back to the vet’s office. The temperature outside was already at 31 degrees, but felt like 20 degrees with the windchill. Luckily Spike was
brought in from the cold early; temperatures dropped down to 25 degrees that night.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00
New Hyde Park Michael Castelli recently participated in the 32nd Black Belt Graduation at Charles Water Karate & Fitness, located at 122 Hillside Ave. in Williston Park. He graduated to first-degree black belt.
“Our studio teaches students how to defend themselves responsibly while instilling self-confidence, self-discipline and respect for others,” says Grandmaster Charles Water, owner and director of the school.
Students tested in October, successfully passed their exam recently and received their black belt certificates. “Who says that the youth of America are not committed? A healthy life style at the karate studio, mentally and physically is alive, well and working,” said Water.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00
After missing the playoffs two straight years, the Sewanhaka Indians Boys lacrosse team will face tougher odds if it hopes to advance to postseason play in 2014.
The Indians, who start their season March 24 at Oyster Bay, will be playing out of Section 8, Nassau Conference II (Class B) this year; a bump up from their usual spot in Nassau Conference III (Class C). Typically, the schools are divided by enrollment.
“There are no gimmies in this league,” said nine-year coach Peter Burgess. “We were the last team to make this league in terms of population. They kind of drew the line below us. So we’re the smallest school in the league.”
Burgess said another obstacle for the Indians will be facing teams that they have no experience playing before.