McGee: Arthur Richman: Making baseball history, with a bird’s-eye view

From SABR member Bob McGee at The National Pastime Museum on March 9, 2015:

You could find Arthur Richman at Monte’s, a little Italian place a few steps down from the sidewalk on MacDougal Street, between Bleecker Street and Minetta Lane in Greenwich Village, a few blocks from the top-floor apartment he shared off Seventh Avenue with his wife, Martha. Or you could find him at Yankee Stadium, or any other ballpark in the country. These were the places he preferred to spend his waking hours.

You could talk baseball with him at the bar, where he would have his vodka, which he referred to as a “toddy,” and by the end of the night, after a few toddies, you would be privy to the inside baseball stories that peppered the history of the game over the course of seven decades. For as it turned out, Arthur was in the middle of many of those stories. It isn’t as if he was a walking encyclopedia of baseball, spewing names and dates. It was just that the game was part of his very fabric, whether it was on- or off-field events; his life revolved around so much of baseball that his was an innate feeling for its players, its personalities, its back stories, and its history.

Arthur Richman grew up in the Bronx, about a mile from the stadium, and in the depths of the Depression, his mama and papa were so poor, “We’d have this much spaghetti to feed a family of four,” he’d say, folding the nail of his forefinger in a tight circle to the bone at the base of his thumb. The other member of the family was his older brother, Milton, who would one day become the renowned national baseball columnist for United Press International.

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Originally published: March 9, 2015. Last Updated: March 9, 2015.