Each Friday, I’ve been doing a bit of archive digging, looking back at old issues of Mother Jones to bring you the good stuff. So, let’s go back to our second-ever issue. It is from April 1976, replete with our usual strong reporting.
We covered a rent strike in the Bronx’s Co-Op City (the high-rise heavy apartment megaplex brought to you by Robert Moses on the former site of an amusement park called Freedomland). We told the story of a worker-owned mine in Vermont. We looked at the presidential race (or, at least, listed musician endorsements: Pat Boone for Ronald Reagan; Linda Ronstadt for Mo Udall; the Allman Brothers for Jimmy Carter). We had a Der Spiegel reporter write from Vietnam.
Also, we covered baseball.
The issue had two short pieces on baseball. One was significantly harder-hitting than the other: a report of a canceled trip by US baseball to Cuba, derailed by Henry Kissinger (over, the State Department said, Cuban relations with Angola):
And the other is the best advice you’ll ever get in your life, from Leroy “Satchel” Paige, a pitcher who played until 59 years old both in the Negro Leagues and for Major League Baseball:
Here are the six pieces of wisdom from Paige, taken from his book Maybe I’ll Pitch Forever:
1. Avoid fried meats which angry up the blood.
2. If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts.
3. Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move.
4. Go very lightly on the vices, such as carrying on in society. The social ramble ain’t restful.
5. Avoid running at all times.
6. Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.
Great stuff. Overall, I’d say Mother Jones was looking to be a top-flight magazine. But you can’t please everyone. One reader had picked up our inaugural issue. He wrote to us:
As a newspaperman of some 25 years’ experience, I might agree with your letter that there is a question where American society is headed. I must say I did not have quite such a question 25 years ago, but the reaction of people like yourself to the problems of the world, make me wonder.
No, I don’t think I want to read your magazine. There’s room for an honest publication that tells it as it really is—but that wouldn’t be trendy enough to sell well, would it?
Gordon E. White