Dick Schaap, it seems, knows everyone. He would easily win at Six Degrees of Separation. Heck, he would win at Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. As a matter of fact, he probably golfs with Kevin Bacon. I wouldn't be surprised, since Schaap has golfed with Bill Clinton and played doubles tennis against Johnny Carson, and he regularly dines with Billy Crystal. Oh, and Muhammad Ali is one of his oldest friends. But Schaap is also a guy who remembers his teammates on the Freeport Barons (winners of the New York State Kiwanis League Championship '49 and '50) in fond and humorous detail. It is his true love for and fascination with people that make Flashing Before My Eyes such a delight to read.
Born in Brooklyn, Schaap was a smart kid with an outsized love for the Dodgers. By the age of 15 he was a sports reporter for the Nassau Daily Review-Star, where he worked under 20-year-old Jimmy Breslin, who became a lifelong friend. From there Schaap moved on to Cornell University and then to Newsweek, where he learned to write "short and tight. The end of the world? Give me eight hundred words. The end of the World Series. Maybe five hundred." With more than 50 years in journalism, over 30 books to his name, and five Emmys, there's no debating that Schaap is a storyteller extraordinaire. Page after page of Flashing Before My Eyes rolls by as you snort and chortle at Schaap's stories (and sometimes Schaap himself; he doesn't spare the pen), but then he slides in a moment that makes you tear up. Mitch Albom, who wrote the introduction, says of Schaap, "His cross-referencing would put Microsoft Access to shame. You can say to Dick, 'Pass the ketchup,' and he will reply, 'Did I ever tell you about Bobby 'Catch-Up' Johnson, the one-legged soccer player I met in Belgium?'" Schaap on sports, Schaap on comedy, Schaap on politics--these we've enjoyed for years. Now relish Schaap on Schaap. --Dana Van Nest [via]