Jeff Pearlman

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robin-yount

Robin Yount

I’ve never told this story. Actually think I buried it deep within the emptiest spaces of my head. Today, however, while talking with a friend, I was reminded of one of the most awkward moments of my journalistic career.

I was reminded of Robin Yount.

Years and years ago, when I was first writing for Sports Illustrated, I was assigned to cover a senior golf event somewhere in Arizona. Now, I knew nothing about golf. Absolutely nothing. So, because the intricacies both confused and bored me, I aimed for color. Outfits, looks, sayings, glares, etc. While watching someone hit a ball, I noticed a loud, large, ugly heckler. He was, as I recall, quite the obnoxious guy—and he was wearing a blue Milwaukee Brewers cap. In my piece, I referred to him as “Robin Yount.” Not as the real, literal Robin Young, obviously, but as a  schlub in a Brewers cap. “Robin Yount”—ha! Get it.

Anyhow, I should have used Yount’s name in quotes. Or italics. Or … something. Because, a couple of days after the story ran, I was home in Mahopac, visiting my folks, when the phone rang. My mom answered.

“Jeff,” she said, “someone named Robin Yount is on the phone.”

Hahahaha.

“No, really.”

Glub.

I picked up. It was Robin Yount. The Robin Yount. “Mr. Pearlman,” he said, “why do you have me looking like an ass at a golf tournament in Arizona that I didn’t even attend?”

Uh … I tried explaining. It was “Robin Yount,” not Robin Yount. You know, you’re the most famous Brewer, and this tool was in a Brewer cap and … and … ha! Get it! Like, a joke, Robin. Funny, funny, funny …

He wasn’t laughing. But, to his credit, he was understanding-ish. “I don’t totally get it,” he said, “but clearly you weren’t trying to hurt anyone.”

The magazine ran a correction in the ensuing issue; something along the lines of, “The Robin Yount identified in the recent Golf Plus piece was not, actually, Robin Yount.”

I felt 3-inches tall.

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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