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McGRATH: Muhammad Ali’s exploits helped 13-year-old navigate tough times

I don’t remember the name of the half-blind ex-fighter who sold us pencils to go with our scorecards outside Comiskey Park when I was a kid, but my father knew him. They were ordinary pencils, but Pops always slipped the guy a few bucks for them. My father worked security at ballparks, racetracks and boxing venues to augment his modest policeman’s salary. He had a soft spot for the fighters, a guilty pleasure passed on to me.

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