Friday, July 02, 2010

Joe Posnanski Piece on Dan Quisenberry

Came across a great story titled "The Quisenberry Tree" about the former Kansas City Royals pitcher who passed away from a brain tumor in 1998.

The piece is written by Sports Illustrated writer Joe Posnanski and hits at what I love about great writing on multiple levels (a concept I previously posted about here)... the delivery, the topic and the prose itself.

In terms of delivery, I learned of the piece through a twitter update from Posnanski which included a link to the Quisenberry story posted on his personal blog. So interesting to me the concept of new forms of written delivery... and so cool someone like Posnanski who embraces said new forms (which, yea... I also posted about before).

From a topic perspective, I found this to be just a very moving piece on a a fascinating guy. As both Posnanski and Quisenberry's wikipedia page detail, the pitcher's career ended in 1990 and then post-baseball he became a published poet.

The final level mentioned above that I thought the story excelled on was prose. It's thoughtful stuff whose most meaningful section (I imagine to Posnanski as well since the italics are from him) was below...

"The thing that strikes me about Dan’s quotes, even now, is that they’re so perfectly worded. He was an artist. Take a simple quote like this one, from his acceptance speech at one of the Rolaids Relief functions: 'I want to thank all the pitchers who couldn't go nine innings, and manager Dick Howser for not letting them.' I mean, that’s just a little quote, mostly in fun, but read it again — it’s perfect, not a wasted word, Gettysburg Address concise.

Not a wasted word. I don’t believe I’ve ever written this before — for obvious reasons — but almost at the end of his life, Dan told me that he loved the way I wrote because it’s the way he tries to write. It’s one of the three greatest compliments of my life."

Really cool stuff.