Six years ago this week, in this space, we told you to call him Kirshenbaum, not Ishmael. What we forgot to mention was the first name of our seafaring man at the America's Cup trials in Newport, R.I. He has long since returned to dry land, and it's probably time we repaired the oversight: you can call him Jerry. Anchored hard by his midtown Manhattan desk, Jerry Kirshenbaum can't even see the Hudson River, which is just as well. He's been keeping busy enough for the past year editing our SCORECARD section.
"SCORECARD is like having your own magazine within a magazine," Kirshenbaum says. "You have all the aspects of sports to choose from." His choices have run from silliness to scandal: one recent SCORECARD featured an item about a Boy Scout auction of elk antlers that inadvertently provided fodder for the Oriental aphrodisiac trade, and another piece focused on an alleged boxing rig in Miami. His meat-and-potatoes comment has included 16 reports on the Olympic boycott.
Kirshenbaum obtains his SCORECARD material from a variety of sources. SI correspondents file reports on local stories that might be worth passing on to a wider audience. Kirshenbaum himself combs nine daily newspapers in search of leads for items. Also, fellow staffers often submit material that doesn't quite fit elsewhere in the magazine but is perfect for SCORECARD.
Kirshenbaum has a journalism degree from Northwestern and an M.A. in political science from Michigan. He wrote for TIME from 1966 to '69, when he joined SI. As our swimming writer for seven years, Kirshenbaum traveled to Australia, South America and a number of cities in the U.S. and Europe. At the world championships in West Berlin two years ago, he was faced with a calamity: the Hotel Kempinski had lost his laundry. As it turned out, Kirshenbaum's clean clothing had been sent not to his room, 1045, but to Room 1148, in which a Richard Burton was registered. Kirshenbaum suggested to the hotel manager that a simple phone call to Mr. Burton might produce the clothes. "Nein, nein," the manager told Kirshenbaum. "Mr. Burton cannot be disturbed." Two days later Kirshenbaum finally got his parcel. "It's funny," he says, "but I never knew that Burton was such a sock fetishist."
Although the mechanics of running the SCORECARD department keep him largely in New York, where he lives with his wife, Susan, and son, David, 9, Kirshenbaum occasionally manages to get out and "write from experience." Last fall he attended a Vikings-Bears game in Chicago and was struck by the fact that all 53,231 spectators seemed to be using binoculars. "But not to watch the game," Kirshenbaum says. "The fans were watching the cheerleaders more than the players." So Kirshenbaum phoned a manufacturer of binoculars and was told that sales were up, and that cheerleaders were the reason. Thus was born a SCORECARD item.
Kirshenbaum leaves next week on another working trip. "I shouldn't have any problems with my laundry," he says. "Richard Burton's working on Broadway these days."
KIRSHENBAUM: HE'S JERRY ON YOUR SCORECARD