Gammons, Peter (1945—)

views updated

Gammons, Peter (1945—)

During the 1980s and 1990s, respected baseball analyst Peter Gammons has become virtually ubiquitous as a commentator on America's "national pastime," both in print and on television. Gammons writes a regular Sunday newspaper column for the Boston Globe, which refers to Gammons as the "Unofficial Commissioner of Baseball," covering issues dealing with both the local Boston Red Sox as well as the sport of baseball as whole. Since 1988, Gammon has served as a studio analyst and regular reporter for the cable television Entertainment and Sports Programming Network during the baseball season, offering a popular report called "Diamond Notes" during the network's Sportscenter program.

Gammons grew up in Groton, Massachusetts, as a lifelong Red Sox fan. He attended the University of North Carolina in the late 1960s, and after his graduation in 1969 began a seven-year stint as a sportswriter for the Boston Globe. In 1976, Gammons left the Globe to work for the prestigious national weekly Sports Illustrated until 1978, during which time he covered college basketball, the National Hockey League, and Major League baseball. As a senior writer from 1986 to 1990, he concentrated on Major League baseball. He has worked for the Globe again since 1990.

Gammons offers penetrating insights on the state of the game of baseball, including its past and future, instead of simply discussing day-to-day events. He has been highly critical of skyrocketing player salaries and the emphasis of baseball owners on television revenues, as evidenced by his book with Jack Sands, Coming Apart at the Seams: How Baseball Owners, Players, and Television Executives Have Led Our National Pastime to the Brink of Disaster (1993). He also has written Beyond the Sixth Game (1985), which deals with the issue of free agency in baseball, and he helped former Boston Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens write his autobiography, Rocket Man: The Roger Clemens Story (1987).

Gammons was voted the National Sportswriter of the Year in 1989, 1990, and 1993 by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. He also received an honorary Pointer Fellowship from Yale University. In a July 1998 chat session on the ESPN SportsZone web site, Gammons offered the following advice for aspiring sportswriters: "Take as many English, Political Science and History classes as you can. Then try to write for as many publications that will take your copy. Doesn't matter if it's a small-town, weekly newspaper or collector's news or Sports Illustrated. The more you write, the better you get."

—Jason George

Further Reading:

Coleman, Ken, and Dan Valenti. The Impossible Dream Remembered: The 1967 Red Sox. Lexington, Massachusetts, Stephen Greene Press, 1987.

"Peter Gammons." ESPN SportsZone. April 1999.

Sand, Jack, and Peter Gammons. Coming Apart at the Seams: How Baseball Owners, Players, and Television Executives Have Led Our National Pastime to the Brink of Disaster. New York, MacMillan, 1993.

Shaugnessy, Dan. At Fenway: Dispatches from Red Sox Nation. New York, Crown Publishers, 1996.