Written by Chris Boyle Saturday, 21 September 2013 00:00
East Williston resident recalls four-decade sports writing career
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.”
Friday, 13 December 2013 00:00
Station Plaza Diner owner Nick Liakonis indicated he has submitted a lease proposal to Winthrop-University Hospital on Dec. 4 concerning the revamp and reconstruction of the “Welcome To Mineola” sign that sits atop his building at the
Mineola Long Island Rail Road Station. He said hospital reps asked in mid-September that he begin to draw up plans.
The location of the sign offers good exposure for the hospital if Winthrop secures the roof for rent and renovation. Winthrop is currently constructing a new $80-million, 95,000-square-foot diabetes research facility directly north of the sign, at the corner of Mineola Boulevard and Second Street, and expressed interest in the sign two months ago.
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00
Carmela Solomon, who has two children in the Mineola School District, is sad to say that learning is not fun for her sons anymore.
“It’s gotten better but it hasn’t been an easy couple of months and I fear the standards,” she said to about 70 concerned parents and educators at a town hall meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 3 at Mineola Middle School. Her fear: second- and third-graders will have to go to summer school.
A panel of teachers and administrators—Assistant Superintendent Patricia Burns, Middle School Principal Matthew Gaven, Jackson Avenue School Principal Cindi Gonzalez, English language arts developer Jodi Helming and mathematics coordinator Nicole Bartone — faced parents concerned about the new state standards and testing in the “common core curriculum.” Superintendent Michael Nagler moderated the talk.
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00
Students in the Karatatot Kids program at Charles Water Karate And Fitness in Williston Park get a chance to participate in “Special Time” at the end of each class. This is an opportunity for them to share something special in their lives with their teacher. It was created by Charles Water for the Karatatot class students to have a productive and fulfilling class and the children wait to the end to share their thoughts.
Karatatot is a combination of exercise and karate in a format specifically designed for children ages 4½ and up. In a fun filled and nurturing setting children learn concentration, discipline, respect, as well as an understanding of self defense at his or her own level. The results are improved strength, coordination, and flexibility and the self confidence for children.
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00
MAA Soccer is offering an indoor soccer program during January and February for soccer players born from 2006-2009. Each registrant will enjoy six, one-hour training sessions on Saturday’s during the first two months of 2014. The program is managed by MAA’s training partner, Empire Soccer Academy, and is designed to encourage soccer skills improvement through fun and challenging drills and games.
The clinics take place at the Mineola Village Community Center gym at 155 Washington Avenue. For more information, please visit www.mineolaaa.org or email email@example.com.