June 30, 2003

A new discovery for me: The sports writer Frank Fitzpatick of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Twice in recent weeks Fitzpatrick has written articles about baseball -- the history of the game, not its current incarnation -- that I not only read to the end but found fascinating. That’s never happened before. (Take that, George Will!)

One, “Off the ‘A’ List,” I already blogged about (“Blame It on the Yankees,” June 2).

The second, “Why Did They Boo Del Ennis?”, was published yesterday:

The story of Del Ennis and the abuse he endured in 11 seasons as a Phillies outfielder has come to obscure his ability, his statistics, his memory. In a city infamous for hooted hostility, he is viewed as the progenitor in a long line of fan-maligned Philadelphia power hitters that included Gus Zernial, Dick Allen, and Mike Schmidt.

Ennis was, by all accounts, a man not given to deep introspection. But the booing hurt him and, in the 37 years between his retirement and his death at age 70 from diabetes-related causes in 1996, he wrestled with the same question that still confronts his family: Why?

Fitzpatrick talks about the booing with Ennis’s widow, Liz Ennis. Fortunately, the article has a poignant ending.


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