By Stephen Hanks
Author’s Note: This week marks 11 years since I made a spontaneous decision to join a small group on a humanitarian trip to Haiti to help earthquake recovery efforts in whatever way I could. A few days after I returned from what was a totally surreal experience, I wrote the following essay on my Facebook page. A year later, I composed an updated version for the local Brooklyn newspaper Caribbean Life. I’ve added a postscript with updated information on the post-earthquake situation in Haiti 11 years later.

THREE MONTHS AFTER THE 2010 EARTHQUAKE IN HAITI, I FOUND MYSELF CLEARING THE RUBBLE OUT OF TENT THAT WAS SERVING AS THE HOME FOR A LARGE FAMILY LEFT HOMELESS BY THE QUAKE.

When I finally arrived home in Brooklyn at 5AM on…


The story of how the late, great Australian singer/songwriter Peter Allen was inspired by and exuded the performing essence of the legendary Al Jolson. By Stephen Hanks

The legendary early 20th-century Broadway superstar Al Jolson (left) was the inspiration for Australian Entertainer Peter Allen’s energetic and electric performing style. Photoshop by Jeff Macauley.

This past October 23 was the 70th anniversary of the death of Al Jolson. Why was this significant and a shame it wasn’t remembered by more than Jolson aficionados? Because before there was Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift, Kanye and Jay-Z, Justin Beiber and Beyonce, Madonna and Michael Jackson, The Boss and Billy Joel, before there was Barbra, Elvis, Frank, or Judy . . . a son of Lithuanian Jews, who immigrated to America with his parents at age five, was arguably the first American pop superstar of the 20th century. …


By Stephen Hanks,
Published on March 29, 1987 in
New York Daily News
Sunday Magazine

NICK TESTA PLAYED IN HIS ONE CAREER MAJOR LEAGUE GAME FOR THE SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS IN 1958. HE NEVER HAD AN AT-BAT IN THE MAJORS.

Author’s Note: Additional text added that had been edited out of the original manuscript for space considerations.

Nick Testa is a baseball immortal? Never heard of him? Well, his name is etched firmly in the Bible of the National Pastime — MacMillan’s Baseball Encyclopedia — with the Ruths and the Aarons and the Berras and the Seavers, which only means that he will live forever.

Testa’s stats are listed between those of second baseman Al Tesch, who played eight games for the Brooklyn Dodgers in…


By Stephen Hanks
Published on August 5, 1986 in
The Village Voice, New York City

PERRY LEE BARBER PHOTO FROM ORIGINAL 1986 VILLAGE VOICE PROFILE

I first heard the phrase “You gotta love the game” during my college baseball days. It was uttered with a combination of sincere passion and mock self-justification by my coach, Nick Testa, who is still the prototypical baseball lifer — late ’50s, former minor-leaguer, never married, pitches and catches batting practice for the Mets and Yanks, plays third base on weekends with an over-35 league team. One day Nick was so intent on playing that he poured gasoline on and set fire to the dirt…


By Stephen Hanks
Published on May 11, 1978 in the Herbert H. Lehman College (CUNY) Student Newspaper
MERIDIAN • One Week Before Graduation Day

HOW I’LL ALWAYS SEE TOM SEAVER: WITH M-E-T-S ON THE JERSEY; THAT CLASSIC KNEE-SCRAPING THE MOUND PITCHING MOTION SO INDELIBLY ETCHED IN MY MIND

On Thursday evening, September 13, 1977, my idol won his 200th career game. It was against the Los Angeles Dodgers and, of course, from that information you easily arrive at the conclusion that my idol is a major league baseball pitcher. Well, not just ANY major league baseball pitcher, but a great one. In my mind, the best that ever stepped on a pitching mound.

My hero is Tom Seaver.

On that beautiful night in Los…


When It Comes to “Unity” and “Bipartisanship” With Republicans, President Biden Should Be All Talk and No Action

Thirty thousand five hundred seventy three . . .

No, it’s not close to the number of minutes in the song “Seasons of Love,” from the opening of the musical Rent. But it is the number of false or misleading claims the Washington Post calculated that Donald Trump made during his American Carnage-creating four years as President. As most of us understood — at least those of us who still believe in truth and facts — the words “false” and “misleading” are media-friendly euphemisms for LIES.

Of course, 30,573 pretty much just covers the lies Trump told in his tweets…


The Inside Story of How a New York Mets Fan’s Magazine Launch in 1983 Led to the Acquisition of the Franchise-Changing Player

Note: This piece was first published on the website MetsMerized Online in 2009.

It all began in the fall of 1982, just after my 27th birthday. Since my early teenage years, I had dreamed of starting my own magazine about professional sports in New York. I remembered a short-lived magazine called “JOCK NEW YORK,” which published for one year in 1969, long enough to celebrate the Miracle Mets on its cover. It boasted writers like Dick Schaap and Jimmy Breslin. Even the legendary sports broadcaster Howard Cosell penned pieces for JOCK.

At 14, I was already a magazine fanatic and…


In July and September, I predicted the Democrats would flip the Senate in 2021. Based on October polls, I’m even more positive.

INCUMBENT REPUBLICAN SENATORS WHO DONALD TRUMP WILL CALL “LOSERS” IN NOVEMBER INCLUDE (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT): MAINE’S SUSAN COLLINS, MONTANA’S STEVE DAINES, COLORADO’S CORY GARDNER, ARIZONA’S MARTHA McSALLY, AND NORTH CAROLINA’S THOM TILLIS.

In early July, I presented the original version of this thesis on how and why the Democratic Party would flip the U.S. Senate this November. I updated that prediction in late September in this Medium essay. Now that we are just four days until Election Day, I felt it was time to make a final assessment based on all the recent news developments, polling data, and my own political instincts.

Having outlined in previous essays the many reasons why this year’s Senate elections are the most important in decades, in this piece I’ll just stick to the updated race assessments…


In July, I predicted the Democrats could control the Senate in 2021. Based on recent developments and polls, now I’m positive they will.

INCUMBENT REPUBLICAN SENATORS WHO DONALD TRUMP WILL CALL “LOSERS” IN NOVEMBER INCLUDE (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT): MAINE’S SUSAN COLLINS, MONTANA’S STEVE DAINES, COLORADO’S CORY GARDNER, ARIZONA’S MARTHA McSALLY, AND NORTH CAROLINA’S THOM TILLIS.

In early July, I presented the original version of this thesis on how and why the Democratic Party would flip the U.S. Senate this November. Now that we’ve hit the beginning of fall and now with a tad more than 40 days left until Election Day, and with major political developments in the mix, I felt it was time to update my earlier prediction.

Donald Trump’s hateful comments in The Atlantic about military service, his coming clean on tape to Bob Woodward about how he “played down” the coronavirus pandemic, and the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg…


The Iconic New York Mets Hurler Known As “Tom Terrific” Died on August 31 at 75, but His Legacy As One of the Greatest Pitchers In Baseball History Will Live Forever

Until the breaking news alert flashed on my cell phone in the early evening of Wednesday, September 2, 2020, I hadn’t cried over Tom Seaver for 43 years. That time was also on a Wednesday — June 15, 1977 to be exact — when the New York Mets inexplicably and unconscionably traded my ultimate idol and the best pitcher in baseball to the Cincinnati Reds. It was aptly called the “Midnight Massacre,” and it was a dagger through my 21-year-old heart. Perhaps at that age, I should have handled the news in a more mature fashion, but I wasn’t ashamed…

Stephen Hanks

Award-Winning Magazine Editor/Writer who is a Patriotic and Passionate Progressive Pontificating on Politics, Media, Sports, Music, and Social Issues.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store