Bill Simmons’ List of Best Sports Journalism

Late last week, Bill Simmons put out another mailbag. One of the questions got him to riff on the best sports journalism he's ever read. I thought it would be a neat post to find all of those articles online (since everything is online these days). I spent about an hour and a half finding most of the articles, except for a few which were more tricky. Imagine my disappointment and frustration this morning when I saw (via kottke, obviously) that The Millions had done it faster, and, well, better. They found two I couldn't, but didn't link to the abstracts of the New Yorker articles. I should also mention how great the SI Vault is. They've taken 54 years of articles and put them online. For free. Any other magazine that's been publishing that long and does not have their archives online is living in the past.

Here's what I found, click over to The Millions to see what books they're in. (Note also, I starred the links that The Millions found that I couldn't, just to show how much more bad ass they are than me).

"Federer as Religious Experience" (Roger Federer) and "Tennis Player Michael Joyce's Professional Artistry as a Paradigm for Certain Stuff about Choice, Freedom, Discipline, Joy, Grotesquerie, and Human Completeness" (Michael Joyce) - David Foster Wallace (Plus "Consider the Lobster" as mentioned by the reader in the mailbag.


"Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu" (Ted Williams) - John Updike

(Abstract only) "Down the Drain" (Steve Blass) - Roger Angell (Not sure if this is the 'Gone for Good' mentioned in Simmons' post, but both are about Steve Blass.) Still looking for full text.

"What Do You Think of Ted Williams Now?" (Ted Williams) - Richard Ben Cramer*

"Lawdy, Lawdy, He's Great" (Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali) - Mark Kram

"The Silent Season of a Hero" (Joe Dimaggio) - Gay Talese*

"Ego" (Muhammad Ali) - Norman Mailer. From March, 1971 Life Magazine. Still looking for full text.

"Pure Heart" (Secretariat) - William Nack

"The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved" (The Kentucky Derby) - Hunter S. Thompson

"Medora Goes to the Game" (Going to a ballgame with daughter) - George Plimpton

"Agincourt and After" (Look back at 1975 baseball season) - Roger Angell. Still looking for full text.

"Distance" (Bob Gibson) - Roger Angell. Still looking for full text.

"Magic Act" (Magic Johnson) - Charlie Pierce. From GQ, still looking for full text.

"Holy Ground" (Agusta National) - Wright Thompson

"Center Court" - (Wimbeldon) - John McPhee. Still searching for full text.

"Raised By Women To Conquer Men" (Jimmy Connors) - Frank DeFord

"The Loser" (Floyd Patterson) - Gay Talese

"A Voice Crying In The Wildernesst" (Rick Barry) - Tony Kornheiser

"Jordan’s Moment" (Michael Jordan) - David Halberstam. The Millions linked to a different piece, but I think this is it.

"The Mourning Anchor" (Bryant Gumble) - Rick Reilly

"Ali and His Entourage" (Muhammad Ali) - Gary Smith

"As Time Runs Out" (Jim Valvano) - Gary Smith

And here's my favorite: "A Name on the Wall" (Bob Kalsu) - William Knack

Anybody else have any nominations?