Lawr Michaels, Have Fun Til the End

I became friends with Lawr, like most, because of our mutual loves of baseball (real and fantasy) and rock ‘n’ roll, but much of our chatter when we would get together was about literature and storytelling, or food and cooking, or politics and wishing.

For most of the history of the Fantasy Baseball Guide Lawr put together the Mock Draft, assembling All-Star casts from his wide circle of friends and experts. Back in the early days his wife, Cathy, worked as proofreader and copyeditor on the Guide. She passed away not long after from cancer, and as one got to know Lawr one learned that his grand passion and enthusiasm for doing things came from a shadow of tragedy that trailed after him his whole life.

In 2011 he released a full album of original songs called Downward Facing Dog. I reviewed it on Amazon, where you can now find a copy for $32 cheap, to support my friend but also because I think it’s a terrific piece of work. 

Lawr was diagnosed a few months ago with some potentially serious problems and set himself on an even better diet than the good diet he already followed, and he tried to strengthen up by taking care. He said he would work on the Guide this year, but then stepped back. He passed on our Tout Wars meetings, and said he had Rock Remnants pieces to write but had to get better first. When I heard he’d taken a turn for the worse a few days ago I thought of his love for the Kinks and Richard Thompson, but when I’d heard the bad news this morning I thought of this Lawr original song.

Well, I thought of the studio version, which is neater, but this rougher version has video of Lawr himself, which is just a moment of comfort at this sad time.


6 thoughts on “Lawr Michaels, Have Fun Til the End

    • Tom, I’m reminded that Lawr is the reason you joined us. For which I will always grateful. Your mission is a very good fit, and I appreciate your discipline. You do a wonderful thing, every week. Thanks.

  1. Pingback: The Legacy of Lawr Michaels in Tout Wars | TOUT WARS!

  2. I intended to write to earlier but never got around to it.

    Like others, I was deeply saddened to learn about Lawr’s death. Years ago I met him
    at Cody’s bookstore on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. He was talking about roto baseball.
    A year or two later I met him again. Barnes and Noble, I think. His wife, Cathy, was with him.

    We became neighbors (residents of El Cerrito) close to 15 years ago. Lawr
    loved baseball so much that he would watch the kids of his friends play
    Little League games. He wrote an amusing piece for Creative Sports.

    We had a lively conversation at one of my son’s games (more than 5 years
    ago) that continued by e-mail. Turns out his family was close to my
    wife’s family. And, his parents bought the house that either my
    father-in-law or late mother-in-law owned in Sacramento. I did not see
    Lawr much but we often communicated by e-mail. I took one of my three
    kids to one of Lawr’s gigs.

    I think the last time I saw Lawr was at a talk I gave on the counterculture in New Mexico at a bookstore in Berkeley two years. It was a raucous event, thanks to Lawr, my brother, and several other friends with strong opinions.

    I will miss our conversations about baseball, rock’n’roll, and cartoons.

  3. I played rotisserie baseball with Lawr starting in 1988, before he started writing for John Benson. He played with us for about ten years until his commitments in fantasy writing became too much, and he started playing with the “big boys”. I met him at the Arizona Fall League a couple of years ago, and he allowed me to tag along with a lot of the fantasy writers that I still read all year getting ready for the next season. We had talked about going to the AFL last year, before he got sick. He was just a wonderful person who always made you feel important in his life. I miss him.

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