Jeff Pearlman

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Ping Bodie

Ping

Ping

Every now and then I stumble upon something so absolutely dazzling that it sticks in my mind day after day after day.

The latest example—Ping Bodie.

Over the past few days I’ve been reading “Babe,” the classic Babe Ruth biography written by Robert W. Creamer in 1974. It’s a legitimately fantastic work that I struggle to put down, and on page 147 Creamer wrote of Bodie, a colorful Yankee outfielder who played 11 Major League seasons. Now, as a fan of names I had to look up Ping Bodie, and what I found was … was … was … hell, take a look. This is a clip from the April 13, 1919 San Francisco Chronicle ...

Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 1.24.49 AMIn case the type is too small, and you’re feeling a tad lazy, Ping Bodie challenged a Jacksonville, Florida-based ostrich named Percy to an eating contest—and won. Because of their supreme confidence, Percy’s owners allowed Ping to select the food. He went with spaghetti. The two lasted 10 full rounds of being presented with large plates of pasta. As he waddled forward the begin the 11th, Percy—eyes now bloodshot—stumbled and collapsed to his death.

Afterward, Ping said, “Spaghetti makes you hungry. Can someone cook me the ostrich?”

•••

Ping died of cancer in 1961. He was 74.

I’ll never look at an ostrich the same way again.

RIP

RIP

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life