At the age of 82, Branch Rickey, who we have to thank for many things – integrating baseball first and foremost – along with other enduring pieces of standard equipment that are hard to imagine ever needing to be invented, like the radar gun, batting tee, pitching machine, and that source of gleeful childhood memories, the sliding pit (wherein one perfected a skill now so woefully and embarrassingly lacking in adult ballplayers that it must be a sure sign of the apocalypse) – once responded to the question of his greatest thrill in baseball this way: “Son, it hasn’t happened yet.”
It reminds me of another wry, and equally appropriate rejoinder from a man of similar vintage. Hockey legend Gordie Howe father, Ab, at 87, apparently endured the brief following exchange. How was he feeling?
“I feel Fine,” he replied.
“At what time in life does a man loses his sexual desires?”
“You’ll have to ask somebody older than I am.”
I’m only sorry to have been denied the opportunity to see the inquisitor’s mug. A line straight from the old Wilfred Brambell playbook.