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14 June 2000

The HOWLER sequel: Fan at 8

Synopsis: We’re constantly struck by how easy it is for the press corps to call people liars.

The Education of Hillary Clinton
Martha Sherrill, The Washington Post, 1/11/93

Mrs. Clinton wasn't even first lady when Martha Sherrill wrote her lengthy Post piece. We know about it because another reader e-mailed and gave us the tip-off. Where, oh where, had Mrs. Clinton developed the swing that impressed Ken Burns so (see THE HOWLER EXTRA, 6/13/00)? She'd developed that swing in a public park in Chicago, many long years ago:

SHERRILL: One spring, the entire Rodham family went every day to Hinckley Park and watched Hugh Rodham pitch and pitch and pitch until his daughter Hillary learned to belt a curveball.

Yikes! Ken Burns wasn't making it up! And had she been a Yankees fan? The evidence is circumstantial, but real:

SHERRILL: While her girlfriends had crushes, stared at boys, padded their bras, Hillary talked about politics, Sputnik and sports. "We used to sit on the front porch and solve the world's problems," said Rick Ricketts, her neighbor and friend since they were 8. "She also knew all the players and stats, batting averages—Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle—everything about baseball."

For those of you who may not know, Maris and Mantle were stars of the Yankees. They would come to Comiskey and torture the Sox. We'd expect that a Cubs fan would like that.

We're told by one or two erudite readers that more evidence exists in the printed record. But we're not trying to pen the sports bio. We're just constantly struck by how easy it is for the Washington press corps to call people liars. Two pundits said that about Hill just this week. In our view, thanks to our helpful e-mailers, those pundits have gone down on strikes.


Stories like this never die: Some have warned us that the scribes will never give up this treasured story. "They'll just say she was planning to run for the Senate from New York back in 1993," one wag said.

Alas, we think our reader is wrong. That isn't what they'll say at all. We think we know these scribes pretty well. We've followed them through the good times and bad. Here's what we think the scribes will say: They'll say this means she was planning to run from New York when she was still back in grade school!