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VOL. 39 | NO. 47 | Friday, November 20, 2015

Most memorable interviews …

By David Climer

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Jim Bouton

Although Jim Bouton won a combined 39 games in the 1963-64 seasons with the New York Yankees, he is best known as the author of the ground-breaking book Ball Four, which I had read and reread.

In the spring of 1977, seven years after publication of the tell-all book, Bouton was making a comeback as a knuckleball pitcher in the minor leagues.

His team came to Knoxville and I arranged an interview through Bob Kesling, who is now the Voice of the Vols, but then was doing some public relations work for the Knoxville Smokies baseball team.

NBA legend Michael Jordan never approached the same success in professional baseball, but he did take time to give Climer a one-on-one interview.

-- Ap Photo/Chris O’Meara

Bouton and I talked for more than an hour while sitting in the bleachers at rickety old Bill Meyer Stadium. He couldn’t have been more gracious with his time or his thoughts.

Michael Jordan

When Jordan abruptly retired from the Chicago Bulls in October 1993, he later signed a minor-league baseball contract with the White Sox organization.

Since the Nashville Sounds were then the Triple-A affiliate of the White Sox, it was possible Jordan would wind up with the Sounds so I was sent to Sarasota, Fla., where he was in spring training.

You can imagine the media circus that was following him. After practice the day I arrived in Sarasota, he was surrounded by reporters. I had no chance. But when the pack broke up I played my trump card.

Buzz Peterson, Jordan’s old college roommate at North Carolina, was then an assistant basketball coach at Vanderbilt. I told Buzz I was headed to Sarasota and he gave me some advice.

So I walked over to Jordan and said: “Buzz wants to know when you’re giving him his shoes back.”

Jordan looked at me and said, “You know Buzz?” I nodded. He motioned for me to sit down for a one-on-one interview.

David Feherty

In the winter of 2014, Feherty visited the home of Nashville pro golf star Brandt Snedeker to tape a segment for his popular TV show. Before the taping began, he sat down with me.

And he was utterly charming.

He talked openly about his own demons, including alcoholism. He allowed that his dream guest was Bill Murray, aka Carl Spackler in Caddyshack.

“I’m afraid it’s never going to happen,” Feherty said. “The only way to get in touch with him is to leave a message at the health club he never attends.”

The interview ended with him in tears when he talked about his father, who was in a losing fight with Alzheimer’s disease.

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