Friday, March 16, 2007

Going to Bat for Nixon

The death of Bowie Kuhn, long-time Commissioner of Baseball, recalls a seminal moment in my life when I might have spared America the ordeal of Watergate.

In 1966, Richard Nixon came to dinner with half a dozen magazine editors. He was practicing law in Manhattan after losing the 1962 governor’s race in California and telling the media, “You won’t have Nixon to kick around any more.”

Over drinks, Nixon was his usual wooden self until the talk turned to baseball and he suddenly became animated, full of hot-stove-league talk and unguarded opinions.

Across the table, I said to him, “I know the perfect job for you and it’s open: Commissioner of Baseball.”

He grinned. “Can you get it for me?”

Looking back, I wish I had tried to float a rumor about it. He could never have done as much damage to the national pastime as he did to the whole country.

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