Karl Lindholm

One hundred years ago last month (Jan. 5, 1920), the Red Sox unloaded their best player for financial reasons. They sold the best left-handed pitcher in the American League, a versatile 25-year-old who had begun to play in the field on occasion because he could also hit: George Herman “Babe” Ruth.  How’d that work out? Will my children and their children be lamenting the Curse of Mookie after I’m gone? Mookie Betts is one of my favorite Red Sox players ever. I place him in the exalted company of Nomah and Pedro. I like him even better than Papi, and that’s a high bar. Mookie looks like a high...

A VERITABLE MOUNT Rushmore of sports writers on a panel at Middlebury College earlier this month. Shown from left are Alex Wolff, Bob Ryan, Jackie MacMullan and Jack McCallum, who all worked for either Sports Illustrated or the Boston Globe. Photo by Karl Lindholm
Stories! An hour and a half of great stories by four of America’s most highly respected sportswriters — verily, a Mount Rushmore: Alex Wolff, Bob Ryan, Jackie MacMullan, and Jack McCallum, all in one place at Middlebury College. These four terrific writers have been intimately affiliated with either Sports Illustrated or the Boston Globe, publications of Biblical import and authority in my life and for many other American sports fans. To list their awards would take up much of this column space. A few years back I was lucky enough to attend the Basketball Hall of Fame weekend festivities in...

Whenever I go to a Lake Monsters game in Burlington, I find an occasion to declare casually to my companions that I played at historic Centennial Field for the Middlebury College nine, many years ago. If pressed, I have to admit that it was just one game and I was the starting pitcher, and only lasted three innings. We lost 13-5 to the University of Vermont. I always add: “They were really good!” Nonetheless, only a few years after my dismal performance, the decision was made to drop baseball as an intercollegiate sport at UVM, or more accurately to suspend the program. It left in 1971 for “...

JIM CARTER, SHOWN talking with players on the UVM club baseball team that he coaches, has shown as much passion for promoting organ donation as he has shown for baseball. He has made 3,000 presentation on the subject — many to high schoolers. David Matthews/The Vermont Cynic
Jim Carter is a man of passions. He is passionate about baseball: He coached baseball at Winooski High for 21 years and at the University of Vermont for six years, and now is the coach of the UVM club baseball team, and is the energy and brains behind the Friends of UVM baseball. He has another passion: organ donation. In the past 20 years he has made more than 3,000 presentations, mostly to young people, emphasizing in an hour-long talk the importance of seat belts and the impact of organ donation. He speaks at some Health classes, and civic groups and other organizations, but primarily...

IT WOULD BE hard to imagine a better breakfast companion for a Hot Stove League conversation than longtime and much admired baseball Coach Jim Carter. Photo courtesy of Karl Lindholm
Editor’s note: The first of a two-part series. “People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” — Rogers Hornsby Back in time, when baseball enjoyed its hegemony among the leisure passions of Americans, there was the “Hot Stove League,” a term coined in the 19th century. The image was of folks warming themselves around a pot-bellied stove talking baseball in winter’s chilly off-season. Last weekend, I participated in a great Hot Stove League session. I met in Hinesburg on Saturday morning at the Parkside Café...

THIS BASKETBALL HOOP, standing amid trees in autumn’s peak a few weeks ago, brought two Robert Frost poems to the mind of the columnist.
On his first day on the job at Bard College, my son David met Mackie, the director of admissions. It was love at first sight and it blossomed: after a year, they bought a house near campus and then married last summer. It’s a great house, with a path through the woods to the school, just a mile away, and views to the west of the Hudson and the Catskills that bring to mind the expansive landscapes of the Hudson River School. The house has acres of yard and fields and trees that will require a serious effort to bring back from recent neglect and to maintain going forward. I gave them a DR...

JOHN HUMPHREY, CAPTAIN of the 1988 Panther men’s basketball team, puts up another two points during his prime. The leading scorer in Panther basketball history, Humphrey was just inducted into the Middlebury College Athletic Hall of Fame.
The outlook was grim for the Panther five that day: We were down by 12 against Williams with only 2:12 left to play. But the hoop that so resisted Panther shots suddenly turned receptive — Middlebury’s desperate shots went in, as the Ephs clanged the foul shots that might have iced the game.  Middlebury ace, John Humphrey, described the game’s wild ending: “We were down four with just 15 seconds to go, and I hit a bomb. Down one now. We fouled, and they missed the front end of a one-and-one.' “There was a scramble for the ball, and I got it, and dribbled up the floor. Two guys came at me, and...

THE BLACK RESCUE Rocco is described by his owner Karl Lindholm as a “good/bad dog” — flawed but full of personality. Photo courtesy of Karl Lindholm
I tire at times of people who rhapsodize about their dogs, posting pictures on social media and making every conversation dog-talk. “They’re dogs,” I grumble. “Animals. Not people. They lick their genitals, in public. They live to eat and poop and hump. They pee in the house if you’re not vigilant. They’re dogs!” I can be hard on people who tell me not that they have a dog, but identify it only by its breed, as in “I live in Ripton with my wife and kids and two Goldens.” A wise guy, I say, “Goldens? You got chickens?” Or they say, “I live in Weybridge with my husband and our Lab.” So I ask, “...

COLUMNIST KARL LINDHOLM and former Middlebury College Athletic Director and men’s basketball coach Russ Reilly first made each other’s acquaintance on a Maine basketball court in 1962. This photo from Fenway Park dates back to Game 1 of the 1986 American League Championship Series. Photo courtesy of Karl Lindholm
“Where so many of us are known for singular achievements or job titles, Russ was known for being Russ Reilly.” — Erin Quinn, Middlebury College Athletic Director Russ Reilly and I first met in 1962. Russ was an 18 year-old freshman at Bates College, playing on the jayvee basketball team, and I was a senior at Lewiston High School, right around the corner from Bates, playing on the basketball team there. The two teams always played an early season game, so Russ and I calculated, after the fact, that’s how our friendship began, with a perfunctory post game handshake: “Nice game.” “Thanks.” I...
Was that an Old Timers’ Game? A quick look at any recent Toronto Blue Jays box score has “Bichette” leading off, followed by “Biggio,” and then “Guerrero?” Dante Bichette made four all-star teams and retired in 2001; Craig Biggio played 19 years for the Houston Astros and was elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2015; Vladimir Guerrero played eight years in nearby Montreal and eight years elsewhere and was elected just last year into the shrine at Cooperstown. Well, these are their boys, playing in the big leagues, all on the same club: Bo Bichette (21 years old), Cavan Biggio (24) and Vlad...


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