This game had modest and lighthearted beginnings in 1948; it has since evolved into an important source of revenue for charities providing vital human services to Long Island’s East End. Funding in this difficult economic environment makes it important to continue to enlarge this effort.
The game was originally played by artists including Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Philip Pavia, Jackson Pollock, and Joan Mitchell. Everyone brought a dish. Some brought drinks. Two writers joined the picnic, Barney Rosset of Grove Press (who was seeing Joan Mitchell) and art critic Harold Rosenberg. All this took place in Wilfrid Zogbaum’s front yard. The artists had moved to Springs and the East End for cheap rent, larger studios and an easier life. They talked of art, gossiped, ate, drank, and shared a camaraderie. They recalled a glorious time; the war was over, the Depression waning, and more artists’ work was being shown in New York galleries. Some were successful in sales and reputation. Some drank too much. Most were just young artists anxious to be part of the emerging art scene.
Writers joined the artists in the ’60’s and ’70’s. Irwin Shaw, Willie Morris, James Jones, Jimmy Ernst and Carl Stokes, the mayor of Cleveland were among the group that expanded to include politicians, actors, musicians, publishers, editors and television personalities. The game has included governors, mayors, senators and a Supreme Court justice.
We wonder what Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Joan Mitchell, Jackson Pollack and company would say about how the game has evolved and continued.
In 1976, Mr. John Leo founded Sag Harbor Softball for the love of the Game and a chance for the writers and their friends to play every summer Saturday. A few years later many of the artists joined in the fun.
The Game continues…