JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Fun Names on Your Phone

A couple of hours ago I called Hector Camacho, Jr., the boxer and son of the Macho Man. Somehow, we got disconnected, and he called back. His name popped up on my phone and I thought, “Ha. Sorta neat.”

This doesn’t happen all that often to me, but I always enjoy it. I think the first cool name to appear was Ed Hearn, the former Mets catcher who was once traded for David Cone. Because I was working on a book about the 1986 Mets, DOUG SISK and DAVID JOHNSON followed. Always cool. The wife, in particular, gets a kick out of it all. I think she once answered Gary Carter’s call. Another time, John Oates. And Paul Stanley of KISS. The best, though, might have been when I was working on something political in nature. The telephone rang, and the wife picked up.

“Hello?” she said.

“Yes, is Jeff there?”

“Who is it?”

“James Carville.”

“Oh.”

My favorite story of this genre relates to Jack McCallum, my friend and the longtime Sports Illustrated writer. Jack was working on a piece about sports movies, and the phone rang in his home. His son answered, asked who was calling, then shouted out, “Hey Dad, someone who says he’s Sylvester Stallone is on the line.”

Jack picked up. “Hey Dad,” Stallone said, “someone named Sylvester Stallone is on the line.”