Little Russ and the Hall of Fame

It being a black-tie affair and all, last night’s B&C Hall of Fame celebration at the Waldorf-Astoria featured a wide range of interesting bowties, such as our colleague Eggerton’s stars-and-stripes number. But I have to hand it to new inductee Tim Russert’s guest in terms of unique collars. The NBC News vet brought along his old priest pal from his days at Jesuit university John Carroll in Cleveland, Father Timothy Shannon, and the guy really seemed to be enjoying himself as he shared memories of Russert’s college days over a glass of red wine.

Russert, for that matter, was enjoying himself as well. He shared a story about chatting with a flight attendant after interviewing Ross Perot. Declining to comment on his interview subject, as is Russert’s policy, the Meet the Press host in turn asked the flight attendant what she thought of the ’92 presidential hopeful. “He strikes me as the kind of guy who can never return his tray table to the upright position,” she responded.

Russert also shared a tale or two about Yogi Berra. Four pitches into a game pitched by Whitey Ford, the Yankees were down 4-0, and manager Casey Stengel called for a meeting on the mound. “Does Whitey have his good stuff?” the skipper asked Berra, the catcher. “How should I know—I haven’t caught one of his pitches yet,” answered Yogi.

Russert then spoke of his childhood in Buffalo, the example set by his hardworking father, known as Big Russ, and his getting tapped by the sisters of Canisius High School in Buffalo to work on the school paper. “I will continue to do what I do as long as they give me the microphone,” concluded Russert. “I love it.”
By Michael Malone