Monday, May 18

Jack Kerouac Played Fantasy Baseball

It turns out writer Jack Kerouac devised a league and players of his own imagination and kept stats of fictitious games for years. From the New York Times:

"Among other things, Mr. Gewirtz has learned that Kerouac played an early version of the baseball game in his backyard in Lowell, Mass., hitting a marble with a nail, or possibly a toothpick, and noting where it landed. By 1946, when Kerouac was 24, he had devised a set of cards with precise verbal descriptions of various outcomes (“slow roller to ss,” for example), depending on the skill levels of the pitcher and batter. The game could be played using cards alone, but Mr. Gewirtz thinks that more often Kerouac determined the result of a pitch by tossing some sort of projectile at a diagramed chart on the wall."

Very interesting and a tad disturbing at the same time. I used to pay made up games in my backyard and driveway of baseball and basketball games, but I would use the real players at the time. I took the Charlotte Hornets to many a championship with my friend Ian and I was somehow able to make the Mets of the early '90s winners. It seems old Jack wanted to have a whole dimension of his own. He kept it up late into his life, where his other obsession, alcohol, began to take over. The thing I noticed most from looking at the photos of the old team cards in the article: Jack's centerfielder for the "Philadelphia Pontiacs" was named "El Negro", not sure a name like that would fly anymore.

Another Side of Kerouac: The Dharma Bum as Sports Nut [New York Times via Deadspin]

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