The Sinatra legend: how a skinny kid from Hoboken achieved cricketing greatness

Share
Related Topics
From Max Rothstein Esq

Sir: In all the homage paid to the late Frank Sinatra, I am sorry that nobody has paid tribute to his abiding love of the English game of cricket.

I used to play second alto saxophone in the touring band led by Harry James during the days of World War Two. As we went everywhere by coach we had to devise our own amusements, and among other things we used to stop in the country now and again to play baseball or throw a ball around. If we met another band coming the other way, we would maybe stop and play them at baseball.

Well, here comes this skinny little kid from Hoboken to sing with the band and if that ain't enough, he teaches us to play the English game of cricket, which he picked up from some limey movie or other. He always has to be different, Frankie. To humour him, and because it ain't a bad game, we learn. It was always Frank's sadness that none of the other bands could give us a game, until once by sheer chance we encountered a travelling British symphony orchestra, somewhere on the road to Cincinatti. We amazed them by challenging them to cricket. We amazed them even more by beating them! But how we did that is another story.

Yours etc

From Cedric Price

Sir, I can vouch for the truth of the above. I was a British actor in Hollywood in the 1950s and Sinatra was desperate to join our expat cricket team. "Strictly for UK citizens, old boy," we told him. "Sorry and all that. It's our rules."

"Then that means only one thing," said Sinatra.

"That you're going to become a British subject?" we gasped. "Just to get a game of cricket?"

"Nah," he said. "It means you're going to change the rules."

The next day some Italian gentlemen came to see our president, and after a short, terse meeting during which some furniture seemed to get badly broken, he announced that the rules would be changed. Sinatra joined our cricket club after all.

Yours etc

From Sir Frederick Snell

Sir: I can vouch for the truth of the above. I spent a short period in Hollywood in the 1950s as a film studio conductor and sometimes played in the same team as Sinatra. He was not an unfriendly man, but I fear he may have been abnormally shy, as he would never take the field except in the company of a friend, normally a large Italian man in sunglasses, coat and a hat. To begin with, these Italians found it hard to get used to the game. I remember once the captain shouted at Sinatra to move round to gully. His Italian friend drew a gun, went over and said to the captain: "Nobody talks that way to our boss", and he was about to lay him out when Sinatra intervened.

Yours etc

From Mr Joe Romano

Sir: One more crack out of you about Sinatra's Italian friends and this column gets damaged. OK? OK - talk some more about cricket, but nothing else.

Yours etc

From Mr Percy Fudge

Sir: As a one-time cricketing colleague of Mr Sinatra in Hollywood I sometimes noticed that when he caught the ball - and he was a good catch - he would flick it from hand to hand, then from behind his back over his head and finally catch it under his knee. When I asked him why he did it, he said: "After years of handling a microphone. that's the only way I can catch anything."

Yours etc

From Max Rothstein

Sir: Me again. I forgot to tell you that I always remembered exactly where I was when I heard Kennedy was assassinated. I was standing next to Frank Sinatra in the slips playing in a Harry James Band reunion match, and word came out that the President had been killed. We were all stunned - except Frank, who just sort of muttered: "He had it coming. He should have played ball."

"Kennedy should have played cricket, d'you mean, Frank?" I said.

"Never mind what I mean," he said.

So I didn't. Nobody did, with his mean Italian friends all around...

From Mr Joe Romano

Sir: OK, I warned you. No Italian references, I said. But you wouldn't listen. Well, that's it. No more column today. Everyone go home. Nice and easy. That's it. We're closing down. Right now ...

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

General Election 2015: The SNP and an SMC (Salmond-Murdoch Conspiracy)

Matthew Norman
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station  

General Election 2015: Despite all the seeming cynicism, our political system works

Ian Birrell
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living