As Told To
As Told To
Apr 26, 2022
Episode 18: George Vecsey
Play • 1 hr 24 min

George Vecsey has been writing about sports for the past 60 years—mostly about baseball, and soccer, and tennis, but also about hockey, and basketball, and football, and boxing. (Have we missed anything?) He wrote the Sports of the Times column for The New York Times for nearly 30 years, until his "retirement" in 2011, although he continues to contribute to the newspaper on a regular basis.

Like many of his sportswriter colleagues, he started "ghostwriting" on behalf of celebrated personalities as a kind of sideline pursuit. Perhaps his most successful collaboration was his work with country music icon Loretta Lynn. Coal Miner's Daughter, which was later turned into a movie starring Sissy Spacek. (There's a terrific audio version of the book, read by the actress you can find at Among his other collaborations are books with tennis great Martina Navratilova (Martina), Cy Young-award winner Bob Welch (Five O'Clock Comes Early), country singer Barbara Mandrell (Get to the Heart) and Chinese dissident Harry Wu (Troublemaker).

He's also written several books of his own, including a distillation of the life and times of Baseball HOFer Stan Musial (Stan Musial: An American Life), and a compelling appreciation of the World Cup (Eight World Cups: My Journey Through the Beauty and Dark Side of Soccer). Oh, and he's also the author of Joy in Mudville: Being a Complete Account of the Unparalleled History of the New York Mets from Their most Perturbed Beginnings to Their Amazing Rise to Glory and Renown, which in addition to boasting one of the best subtitles on the sports bookshelf was also the very first hardcover book owned by podcast host Daniel Paisner, who counts his (now signed!) first edition copy as one of his most treasured literary keepsakes. So, you know, there's that...

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