Jonathan Schwartz, who wrote the story about last year's Yankee-Red Sox playoff which begins on page 56, heard his first Red Sox game on a radio in Boston's Ritz Carlton hotel. He was eight years old, it was October of 1946, and about two miles down Commonwealth Avenue, in Fenway Park, the St. Louis Cardinals were playing the Red Sox for the world championship. With Jonathan were his father, songwriter Arthur Schwartz, and lyricist Ira Gershwin, who were in town for a preview of their musical Park Avenue. Neither Jonathan nor his father left Boston feeling very happy. The play was panned, and the Sox, whom Jonathan had adopted as his team, lost in the seventh game in St. Louis, as he heard at the Ritz.
Despite his enduring attachment to the Red Sox, Schwartz is a New Yorker. He was born in Manhattan, and was educated there. For nine years he conducted a music show on WNEW-FM, one of the city's most popular radio stations, and is now heard on WNEW-AM every Sunday morning. He has sung at Michael's Pub on the very stage where Woody Allen tootles his clarinet Monday evenings, writes a monthly column for a New York paper, The Village Voice, and on March 9 his first novel (and second book), Distant Stations, will be published.
Schwartz attributes his almost manic relationship with the Red Sox to Ted Williams. "Everything about Williams was unorthodox," he says. "He seemed to have his own set of rules, and he didn't have a roommate. As an only child, I related to that." Jonathan hitchhiked to Boston for games, getting rooftop tickets from a friend of his father's who worked at the Ritz and finding less glamorous sleeping accommodations—Boston Common. To this day, he cannot fall asleep before knowing how the Sox did.
For the last five years, on Super Bowl Sunday, Schwartz has defiantly presented a "Salute to Baseball" on his morning show, on which he often plays Frank Sinatra recordings, of which he may well be the world's leading collector. But that's another story.
Do New Yorkers actually tune in to hear about Carlton Fisk's 12th-inning home run in the '75 Series or Fred Lynn's 10 RBIs in one game in '75? Well, at least one person does. Yankee Coach Elston Howard has called to let Schwartz know how much he enjoyed his show.
Staff Writer Jeannette Bruce died last week after a short illness. She was 57. Jeannette first came to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED 24 years ago as a secretary, but her skill with words and her special talent for turning minor misadventures into sidesplitting catastrophes soon made it obvious that her forte was telling stories. So we sent her up in a hot-air balloon—and she got stuck in a pine tree. She trekked up Annapurna—and chocolate bars in her pack melted and welded her socks together. She crossed the Sahara in a Land-Rover—and left a trail of forgotten laundry drying on thornbushes across the desert.
Jeannette's latest story for SI was an account of her battle to keep some wily squirrels from her bird feeders. As expected, she put up a feisty—and funny—fight. And, as expected, the squirrels were ahead.
Life is going to be a lot duller without Jeannette and her extraordinary misadventures.
SCHWARTZ: A NEW YORK RED SOX FAN