Saturday, January 23, 2021


While visiting my sister in Atlanta in the summer of 1973, I got to see Hank Aaron play, before he broke the record.

He didn't hit a homer that day, but he did get two hits, and the Braves beat the Cards. It was “bat day” at Fulton County Stadium, and the bat I got that day was my baseball bat thereafter; the Hank Aaron pennant I got that day was on the wall of my room for many years thereafter. More than a decade later my father met Aaron on an airplane and got his autograph for me. Except for Muhammad Ali, who I loved for his humor rather than any interest in boxing, Aaron was the first of my few sports heroes. RIP Hammerin’ Hank.

Another legend has departed us this weekend: RIP to radio and TV titan Larry King, at 87.

In 1984 and '85, I ran the overnight board at WSEG, Ron Seggi's long-since-departed station in Erie; I hosted and played oldies for the first hour, then babysat the feed of Larry King's talk show from the Mutual Network for the rest of the night. In those days, King had regular eccentric callers, like Norman the Numbers Man from Paramus, New Jersey, who insisted that sports scores showed his divinity via his obsessive numbers-crunching and would invariably end by exploding with anger at King's attempts to reason with him (Norman probably needed professional help), or the Portland Laugher, who never said anything but would simply cackle maniacally at anything King would ask him. For all King's accomplishments on TV, nothing he ever did there was as marvelous as this radio work.

Anyway, one night, at the height of the Reagan-era Cold War, I called in to the show.

As many of you know, I've always been a dinosaur geek (it's only one of my many geekdoms, but it's the earliest). Earlier that day I had been discussing with my friend Ron which dinosaur was more well-known, the T-Rex or the Brontosaurus. So that night, bored and restless at the studio, I called into King's show, got on the air, and asked "Larry, what do you think is the most famous dinosaur?"

And without missing a beat, Larry King said "The brontosaurus, or the Defense Department."

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