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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bill Lee: 65-Year-Old Pitcher to Start in Ballpark Where 50-Year-Old Boxed

Posted By on Thu, Aug 23, 2012 at 11:05 AM

click to enlarge Landing in the Bay Area... - DANIEL O'NEILL

Perhaps Ponce de Leon chose the wrong coast to search for the Fountain of Youth. Based on the sporting exploits emanating from the North Bay, it seems the fountain may be trickling through the drinking fountains at San Rafael's Albert Field.

A delightful Scott Ostler column in today's Chronicle notes that 65-year-old Bill "Spaceman" Lee will be tonight's starting pitcher for the San Rafael Pacifics of the independent North American League. Lee was a very good-to-great pitcher for many years, the author of several books, and the subject of a 2006 documentary titled Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey. He provides good copy in the same way Twin Peaks provides good views: In a 1980 interview with High Times, he noted that "When I first came to Montreal, the fans would throw little tinfoils of hash at me. It was nice. It was kind of like the hats going to the matador. Bravo, good game."

Bravo, indeed. And while Lee will all but certainly be the oldest professional athlete to compete at Albert Field, he's not the first overaged sportsman to grace the premises. In September of last year, SF Weekly covered a bout between 24-year-old Brandon Hoskins and Paul Nave, the 50-year-old "Marin County Assassin."

As we put it at the time, "It turns out there is a grandfather clause in boxing. As in, boxers who are grandfathers seldom win."

click to enlarge Perhaps Paul Nave would fare better against Bill Lee? - DANIEL O'NEILL
  • Daniel O'Neill
  • Perhaps Paul Nave would fare better against Bill Lee?
Nave was game, and landed his share of blows. But, in the end, he lost a majority decision.

Better luck tonight to Lee. Even if he loses, odds are he won't get beaten up. And perhaps the fans will toss packets of good stuff his way. That would make it a memorable night regardless of the outcome.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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