(EDITOR’S NOTE: To access the Dick Stockton interview connect to the following attachment: Ep 40: Hall Of Fame Broadcaster Dick Stockton Joins The Show (spreaker.com))
When Dick Stockton announced his retirement last week, he ended 55 years of broadcasting – a career that spanned all the major networks and included major-league baseball, the NFL, NBA, NHL, college basketball, and the Olympics.
It also included over 1,500 games of play-by-play.
“I didn’t know that,” Stockton said on the latest “Eye Test for Two” podcast.
Well, he did. But what we didn’t know is that long before Dick Stockton started watching famous athletes he was working with famous entertainers. Specifically, he was working with singer Paul Simon.
The two lived grew up in the New York borough of Queens and attended Forest Hills High School together. Simon was in the Class of 1958. Stockton was in the Class of 1960. But it wasn’t there that they first got together. It was at a children’s camp in Bellport, Long Island, where the two worked as waiters.
The year was 1956 and … well, let Stockton tell the story.
“There were only 100 kids at this camp,” he said, “and six waiters. And Paul Simon and Dick Stockton were two of the waiters at that camp.
“But Paul Simon and I used to play tennis. We knew each other very well as waiters. He was a tremendous athlete. I didn’t think he wanted people to know that because (he starts to sing) … “Hello, Darkness My Old Friend” … was not the style of guy who was an athlete.
“He wore tank tops. He was muscular. I even think he had a tryout with the Yankees as a pitcher, a left-handed pitcher. Paul Simon was a tremendous athlete. And what would happen is that we were waiters who served these kids in the dining hall for dinner. And once we would clear off the tables, Paul every once in a while would come back with his guitar, and he would play some songs for the kids.”
But wait: Simon was in the same high-school class as Art Garfunkel. And he attended Forest Hills High, too. So where did Dick Stockton stop and Art Garfunkel begin? That’s when the conversation turned to music.
“In those days, Simon and Garfunkel were known as Tom and Jerry,” he said. “They had a hit, about No. 8 in the New York Hit Parade. ‘Hey, schoolgirl’ was their Number-One song. They emulated the Everly Brothers, who were very big at the time.
“I saw Paul later on at Wimbledon in the ‘80s and I didn’t get a chance to get into it. But I was going to say, ‘Paul, what have you done since we were waiters at camp?’ “
Answer: He was as busy behind the mic as Dick Stockton.