A couple of days ago, the folks at the UNT Portal to Texas History tweeted us a note saying that they’d recently posted some B-roll footage of the D Magazine office filmed in 1975 by Fort Worth’s WBAP-TV. (Aside: be careful if you choose to visit the portal. It is a huge time suck.) It’s a short clip. Have a look, and then I’ll share some thoughts.
Obviously that’s Wick Allison at the end. Still missing that guy. I guess one of those other dudes must be Jim Atkinson, co-founder of the magazine, but, if so, he’s too young for me to recognize him. Apologies, Jim.
Two things jump out at me on this clip. Thing No. 1: as a staff, we smoke far fewer pipes today than we once did. After we all get vaccinated and return to the office later this year, maybe we should all take up pipe smoking. We’ll discuss on our next Microsoft Teams meeting.
Thing No. 2: the magazine was so enamored of pipes that it even put one in Billy Martin’s mouth for that cover illustration. What a great editorial move. Put the Rangers manager on the cover smoking a pipe and declare that this was the year we’d win the pennant. This B-roll was filmed in April 1975, as the staff was working on the May issue. That season, Martin drank too much. He made fun of the team’s owner, Brad Corbett. He hit a Rangers staffer. But the final straw: against Corbett’s wishes, Martin called the press box from the dugout during a game and ordered that “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” be played during the seventh-inning stretch instead of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Two months after we published that cover, Martin was fired. The team finished the season with 79 wins and 83 losses, third in the AL West.
Well, at least the magazine learned its lesson about making bold sports predictions on the cover. We’ll never do that again.