A Baker's Dozen

An old editor once told me that at the end of every year, I should look back and write down 10 or so favorite stories of the year. That way, he said, you will know if you spent the year writing fun stories or just thinking about good stories.

I’m not a good judge of my own work. But I did think I wrote a lot of fun stuff in 2014. Thank you as always for reading. Here are 13 of my favorite pieces of 2014:

Lessons from Sochi. It’s hard for me to believe that the Winter Olympics were in 2014 … it seems a very, very long time ago.

The Bat Artist. Nobody really knows what “pure hitter” really means. As the cliche goes, there probably doesn’t need to be a definition. You just need a photograph of Tony Gwynn.

Burnley. My favorite trip of the year — to Burnley, the smallest city to ever have a Premier League club. I cannot wait to go back.

Life and Times of the King. Richard Petty’s life as country song.

Vanguard after the Revolution. Bill James. “Bullshit has tremendous advantages over knowledge.”

Priest. Priest Holmes was a fantasy football God. For him, the price was worth it.

Royals, small towns and the word “Unbelievable.” Margo and her magical team.

Sluggin’ Joe Baumann and his magical home run summer of 1954.

Tennis and life. And losing weight.

Emily Scott. Why I love the Olympics despite the many problems.

Hobbs. “You’re the best player I ever had. And you’re the best godammed hitter I ever saw.”

You don’t have to be lonely. At Farmer’s Only dot com.

Playing tennis with Ivan Lendl. Sometimes, your heroes live up to your expectations.