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The Men at the Mike

Recalling the days of sportscasting's legends—Mel Allen, Red Barber, Curt Gowdy And Others—When baseball and cigar smoke were in the air.
Ken Shouler
From the Print Edition:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Summer 96

(continued from page 6)

Cosell died on April 23, 1995. The following day, a photo on page one of the Times showed him with his ever-present Macanudo. Inside the paper, Lipsyte wrote: "Cosell was brighter and worked harder than almost everyone around. If history casts him properly he will be remembered not only as the most important sports journalist of the century, but as the only one who was more of a show-business celebrity than his subjects."

Steve Stone, former Cy Young winner with the Baltimore Orioles and now a broadcaster with the Chicago Cubs, sits next to a celebrity in the booth at Wrigley Field--his broadcast partner, Harry Caray. Caray is a living legend among "Cubbie" fans in Chicago.

In the booth or out, Stone likes full-bodied Honduran cigars. "I have smoked a Punch on occasion. I smoke all the time--on the golf course, in the booth, when I go to the track, four or five a day, even six, depending on the day. I like Hoyo de Monterrey, Excalibur No. 5 claro, but because of [your] magazine they are getting harder to get. I occasionally come across Cohibas or Montecristo No. 1s. If I can get Cuban Romeo y Julietas, I also like those.

"Harry and I, we've been together since 1983, and there's an on-going fight between us," Stone confesses. "When the game gets dull, he makes attacks on my cigar smoking. He says 'Why's a nice, college-educated guy smoking those stinking, rotten things?' So the fans started sending cigars--about 200 a week! They were writing letters saying 'Here, blow these at Harry.' They sent good ones, even Cubans on occasion."

His smoking still aggravates Harry, who at least gets to poke his head out of the smoky booth while leading the crowd in renditions of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

But don't begrudge Harry and Steve their fun. They need to have a few laughs in Chicago. The Cubs last won the Series in 1908, the same year that Jack Norworth wrote "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

That's baseball.

Kenneth Shouler, a freelance writer based in White Plains, New York, is a frequent contributor to Cigar Aficionado.

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