A trip down Memory Lane — Literally
Pittsburgh’s sports present — this Pirates summer — has been pretty good. But I’ve taken a timeout the last couple of days to visit the past, with a wonderful tour guide — George Van Benko.
I’ve been curled up with Van Benko’s Memory Lane books. This lane winds through local communities, and these books allows you to travel with many of the legends who have been pillars of Western Pennsylvania’s sports lore.
Van Benko is a legend himself, department of media, and recently came out with a second volume to 2011’s very successful original Memory Lane book. The Memory Lane books essentially are collections of Van Benko’s weekly Memory Lane columns in the Uniontown Herald Standard, which bring back to life the feats and voices of the area’s sports heroes.
The parade down Memory Lane II includes the likes of baseball’s Ed Roebuck, basketball’s Julie Jones Venick and football’s Harry Clarke and Joe Righetti among the 32 individuals and teams profiled. I enjoy the reads just because they are well-written and entertaining even though, not having been in the area for decades, I can’t make a personal connection with those profiled. Those who can will relish it to a higher degree.
And Von Benko is just warming up. He is currently at work on another Memory Lane sure to have national appeal: Transcripts of interviews he has conducted on his radio talk show, with everyone from John Brodie to Dick Enberg to Harvey Haddix.
The Memory Lane books are available at various online outlets such as barnesandnoble.com, and amazon. com, at local Bradley retail outlets and at the website of the Fayette County Hall of Fame — of which Van Benko is a member.