Ron Colone: The journey begins … on Opening Day | Local

Jessica Wong

In his first at-bat of the new season, he blasted one over the fence, prompting me to text a friend and acknowledge that with each great at-bat, the legend of Miggy (short for Miguel) continues to grow. I already had legends and heroes on my mind because a different friend […]

In his first at-bat of the new season, he blasted one over the fence, prompting me to text a friend and acknowledge that with each great at-bat, the legend of Miggy (short for Miguel) continues to grow.

I already had legends and heroes on my mind because a different friend had sent me a YouTube video of comedian Lou Costello (of Abbot & Costello) interviewing Depression-era heavyweight champ Max Baer in the ring after he had just knocked out a guy. Sitting next to Baer was the great Joe Louis, and the two fighters had their arms wrapped around each other’s shoulders like buddies.



Take, for instance, this latest Relief Bill. The vote was split down party lines, with one side voting “yes” and the other side “no.” I wonder how those same members of Congress would have voted if 80% of their income was gobbled up by bills and the remaining 20% was barely enough to get by on?

In the body of the email, my friend remarked, “My new favorite American folk hero is Max Baer.” I pretty well knew what he was referring to, but the interviewer in me asked, “What in particular do you find heroic?”

Among the words and phrases my friend used to describe it were “kindheartedness,” “generosity,” “a softy in a pugilist’s body,” and “a ladies’ man who loved his wife and kids.” He said he was touched by how deeply distressed Baer would get if his opponent got seriously hurt in the ring, including the one guy who died from his punches, and how Baer would come to the aid of that boxer’s family in whichever ways he could.

He admired Baer for wearing the Star of David on his trunks when he fought the German champ Max Schmeling in glaring defiance of Hitler and anti-Semitism. Mostly, he was moved by the obvious and mutual affection, respect and appreciation between Max Baer and Joe Louis, as shown in the film clip, during the racially divided 1930s.

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