Skip to content

A great interview with Robert Creamer

Jan 17, 2012, 8:20 AM EST

Old team

Graham Womack of Baseball Past and Present conducted an email interview with venerable baseball writer and author Robert Creamer.

Creamer, who began following baseball as a kid in 1931 and began covering it for Sports Illustrated in 1954, provided a zillion fascinating answers all around, including his takes on steroids (you bet your bippy Babe Ruth would have taken them), the best player he ever covered (which leads to an extended discussion of Willie Mays) and the Baseball Writers Association of America (“it simply does not mean much anymore”).

I found his most interesting answer to be about baseball’s status as national pastime.  Whenever someone talks about that, they refer to fandom. At least I do. But Creamer explains it differently:

 It’s our spectator sport and I think possibly still our biggest spectator sport, and we love to read about it and talk about it and watch it on TV but nobody PLAYS baseball anymore. Softball, yes,but today everybody plays basketball or touch football whereas a century ago EVERYBODY played baseball. If you can find an old newspaper file from around 1912, ten years before I was born, look at the coverage of games on Saturdays and particularly Sundays – dozens of games, club teams, neighborhood teams, small town teams, political clubs, social clubs. It’s astonishing.

Can you imagine if that was the case? Club teams and work teams and everything else? Not playing beer league softball, but genuine baseball.  Now we have some random over-30 leagues but that’s not exactly extensive.

Anyway, cool interview. Creamer sounds neat. He’s living evidence that one does not need to close one’s mind and become cranky as one gets older.

  1. shawndc04 - Jan 17, 2012 at 8:43 AM

    Wow, what a superb interview. I had forgotten about Bob Creamer. Great observations on his part.

  2. thelucasjj - Jan 17, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    Great interview. That is the kind of person you could sit with for days and never tire of their stories.

  3. royhobbs39 - Jan 17, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    Wow. What a great interview. Really enjoyed the part about his grandfather and seeing his name in the paper. It seems like you hear stories like this all the time, but the idea of relating it not only to a storied pasttime like baseball, but also to his career and profession? Really cool.

  4. phillieschamps2012 - Jan 17, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    Babe Ruth would have taken steroids? Really? That’s a pretty ridiculous thing for Robert Cremer to say. How the heck does he know what Babe Ruth would do?

    He goes on to say:

    “I have never been as upset by steroid use as the moralistic holier-than-thou baseball writers who vote on the Hall of Fame. What a bunch of self-important phonies!”

    Moralistic? Why? Because they don’t want to vote in players who obviously cheated for years?

    On the steroid issue, this writer makes no sense. Maybe the guy is senile at this point.

    • jwbiii - Jan 17, 2012 at 10:05 AM

      Because Ruth took testosterone, at that time isolated from sheep testicles. If he had had the opportunity to take something safer and hypoallergenic, he would have.

      • phillieschamps2012 - Jan 17, 2012 at 10:07 AM

        I never read or heard that before. Do you have a reference for this allegation?

      • mkd - Jan 17, 2012 at 11:49 AM

        Interestingly enough Creamer himself doesn’t buy the whole sheep’s testosterone story. His long and interesting answer is about halfway down this interview from 2009: http://www.gelfmagazine.com/archives/the_babes_living_legend.php.

    • b7p19 - Jan 17, 2012 at 10:06 AM

      Geez, I wish more people opened their minds to others opinions. The world would be a much better place. How hard is it to consider a view point other than your own?

  5. rambodiaz - Jan 17, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    That beautiful swing and Ruth’s big face looking up watching it go as he starts to run. And the ball, already enormously high in the air as it floated past the infield. I mean, I saw Babe Ruth hit home runs.

    That is beautiful.

    • Kyle - Jan 17, 2012 at 12:39 PM

      Amen.

  6. pmcenroe - Jan 17, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    Craig I’m really glad you brought up that last part but I’d have to disagree slightly that that there aren’t plenty of adult baseball leagues available. A quick search and you will see there are lots of them from small towns to big cities (granted not anywhere near as many as there once was). I find it insane that so many us grew up playing and loving the game so much only to discover that so few (especially those who played in college) continue to play into adulthood. Hell I’m only in my mid-20’s and I won’t stop playing until they drag me off the field

  7. Walk - Jan 18, 2012 at 4:47 AM

    The alst league available in my area was also the last one i played in. It was for 18-10 years olds and served as prep for college and we played between seasons providing the chance for many of those younger college players to sharpen their skills. We played just for fun but it was no less intense for all that. Whenever i am in a wistful mood and look back i consider that one of the best parts of my life. Free from the pressures of high school just beginning college and my adult life. The memories of the games and friends i have not seen or rarely seen since all mixed in. I know exactly why i love baseball as much as i do.

  8. Walk - Jan 18, 2012 at 4:47 AM

    The last league available in my area was also the last one i played in. It was for 18-10 years olds and served as prep for college and we played between seasons providing the chance for many of those younger college players to sharpen their skills. We played just for fun but it was no less intense for all that. Whenever i am in a wistful mood and look back i consider that one of the best parts of my life. Free from the pressures of high school just beginning college and my adult life. The memories of the games and friends i have not seen or rarely seen since all mixed in. I know exactly why i love baseball as much as i do.

  9. Walk - Jan 18, 2012 at 4:48 AM

    sigh 18-20, sorry for the typos, again.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Maddon has high hopes for Cubs
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. P. Sandoval (6334)
  2. J. Lester (4046)
  3. Y. Tomas (3991)
  4. H. Ramirez (3729)
  5. A. LaRoche (2593)
  1. T. Hunter (2391)
  2. G. Stanton (2378)
  3. J. Upton (2327)
  4. J. Bruce (2197)
  5. M. Scherzer (2089)