Monday, December 10, 2012

    If you’re doing some Christmas shopping, you may want to consider a couple of Jim Murray-related books.
    The Last King of the Sports Page by Ted Geltner: Part crusader, part comedian, Jim Murray was a once-in-a-generation literary talent who just happened to ply his trade on newsprint, right near the box scores and race results. During his lifetime, Murray rose through the ranks of journalism, from hard-bitten 1940s crime reporter, to national Hollywood correspondent, to the top sports columnist in the United States. In Last King of the Sports Page: The Life and Career of Jim Murray, Ted Geltner chronicles Jim Murray's experiences with twentieth-century American sports, culture, and journalism.   

The Jim Murray Reader by Jim Murray: Jim Murray, the dean of American sportswriters, entertained readers with writing that is so good and so funny that even people who don't like sports read him. The Jim Murray Reader gathers some of Murray's best columns from the height of his career and showcases the wit and the style that won him a Pulitzer Prize in 1990.
    A portion of the proceeds from both of the above books will benefit the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation.

In the meantime, enjoy Jim Murray's 1989 column on Christmas Gifts titled Here's What Santa Should Have in Bag.


Here's What Santa Should Have in Bag

Jim Murray

    Twas the day before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring — they were all on the couch watching the Rams and Raiders.
    All right, St. Nicholas, you pious old fraud. Come in and drop your bag. If you're making a list and checking it twice, how about the following for a merry little Christmas?
    * Give the Dodgers a center fielder, they already got enough second basemen and right fielders to start a league.
    * Give boxing another Joe Louis.
    * Give Charlie Whittingham another Sunday Silence. Give Laz Barrera another Affirmed.
    * Give Laffit Pincay the mount on either one of them. Give Chris McCarron the other one.
    * Give the USC Trojans another Mike Garrett or O.J. Simpson or Marcus Allen. Give us back Student Body Right.
    * Give the Raiders a quarterback, Al Davis will take it from there.
    * Give L.A. the Olympics again. Or, rather, give the Olympics L.A.
Twice in 50 years the city saved it.
    * Give Magic Johnson a man in the pivot to play off. It doesn't have to be another Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. A Bill Laimbeer would do. Magic can't take on the league's skyscrapers, the Patrick Ewings, David Robinsons, Akeem Olajuwons by himself.
    * Give Mike Ditka a rubber room.
    * Give Buddy Ryan a copy of "How to Win Friends And Influence People."
    * Give Oklahoma a football team it can be proud of.
    * Give Bill Walsh one more team to build up. The San Diego Chargers come to mind.
    * Give the Cowboys back to America.
    * Give Joe Montana the ball.
    * Give Steffi Graf some competition.
    * Give Flipper Anderson a pass that stays up and a zone he can beat.
    * Give the Cubs a pennant.
    * Give Mark Langston another pitch or a fast outfield so the press
can't crow that he's getting a million dollars an inning on his bad nights.
    * Give Larry Bird the outside shot with the playoff on the line and the
defender sagging, just one more time.
    * Give Mike Tyson a Gene Tunney so he can become a lovable figure in sports instead of a scary one.
    * Give Cito Gaston or Frank Robinson a pennant so we can get on with it.
    * Give Wayne Lukas another pretty little filly who doesn't know she's not supposed to beat the boys in the spring of the year.
    * Give San Diego an America's Cup challenge. Let the New Zealanders win it in the waters, not the courts, with a boat, not a writ. Can you imagine Sir Thomas Lipton letting some landlubber in a wig and a robe award him the cup?
    * Give Michael Jordan the ball.
    * Give Wayne Gretzky the puck.
    * Give Noriega 50-to-life.
    * Give the Rams a pass rush.
    * Give Bo Jackson a bat, give Marcus Allen the football.
    * Give Gene Autry a pennant.
    * Give Mario Andretti a car that will hold together for 200 laps and Roger Penske to set it up for him so it will.
    * Give Al Davis the keys to the city.
    * Give Pete Rose back baseball. He's sick, not crooked. The Black Sox's addiction was greed, not gambling.
    * Give the states the word to stop trying to solve fiscal problems by legalizing gambling. They'll create more problems than they'll solve. They'll achieve a human deficit.
    * Give golf another Jack Nicklaus.
    * Give Rickey Henderson an MVP or discontinue the award.
    * Give Wade Boggs a cold shower.
    * Give Steve Garvey a hobby. Come to think of it, he has one.
    * Give Don Zimmer a lineup he can juggle. Better yet, give him one he can't juggle.
    * Give us an overtime Super Bowl. But, first, pass a rule it can't be decided by a field goal.
    * Give instant replay to the Indians.
    * Give the designated hitter to the birds. That's what it's for.
    * Give the Jets, Atlanta and Tampa Bay a coach. Look what a difference one made to Green Bay, Kansas City and Detroit. To say nothing of San Francisco 10 years ago and Green Bay 30 years ago. There are no bad teams in the NFL, only bad schemes.
    * Give me the day off. On second thought, I just took it.
    * Give each and every one of our sports fans out there the merriest of holidays and winners on the cards. Just remember, everything turns to sugar anyway. So, enjoy.

Reprinted with permission by the Los Angeles Times.

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