He’s at bat almost every day delivering hard-hitting reports on Fox News, but Ed Henry says that as a kid, he dreamed of hitting homers for one of New York’s storied baseball teams.
“I started out wanting to be a fireman and would cry if my mother tried to take off my ‘Emergency 51’ hat, so she had to wait until I fell asleep,” Henry tells ITK. “Then it was on to another cap: I wanted to play first base for the Yankees.”
He’s not sporting pinstripes, but the cable network’s chief national correspondent is telling the story of one of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) trailblazing players in a new book about Jackie Robinson.
“Faith 42” details “the back story of faith that guided Jackie Robinson to not only the baseball record books but the annals of civil rights advancement as well,” according to the book’s publisher. In 1947, the Brooklyn Dodger became the first African-American to play in the MLB.
This week’s release of “Faith 42” is timed to the 70th anniversary of Robinson breaking the league’s color barrier, on April 15. Henry pored over recently unearthed sermons, interviews with the baseball great’s close friends and an unpublished book by Robinson — who died in 1972 — to write his story.
We wanted to know more about the new author — and quickly learned not to get him started on any mushroom-related issues — so we asked him the following questions.
Grew up in: Astoria, Queens, and then Long Island.
College attended: Siena College — the Saints!
Favorite hobby/activity: A little obsessed with golf.
Favorite/most hated food: Hate to say it as an Irishman, but nothing beats Italian, like Angelo’s in New York’s Little Italy with some buddies. I can’t stand anything with mushrooms. The worst.
Favorite band: I always come back to Frank Sinatra. Love some modern stuff — Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar — but give me “Night and Day” or “In the Wee Small Hours,” and all is chill.
I’m happiest when: I’m at a major league ballpark or NBA game with my family. Or on a golf course.
What you like/dislike about D.C.: Like? It’s like a small town, so you can spread your wings a little. Dislike? Small town — the kitchens at the restaurants all close at like 9:30 p.m. Lame!
If I had a theme song, it would be: “Going to California,” but not because I want to move there. That Led Zeppelin song has always relaxed me for some reason — sometimes I play it before I host a show.
I have a fear of: Mushrooms! Well, not really, but I hate ’em. And I’m not really fearful of other stuff.
Something that few know about you: I used to play the French horn. And I heard “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd did, too. Coincidence? Hmm.
Favorite movie: A lot of options, but I keep coming back to “The Godfather.” “Raging Bull” is close. “Dead Poets Society” and “It’s a Wonderful Life,” I love.
Biggest pet peeve: Mushrooms in pasta. Who thought of that? Stick with meatballs or peppers and onions.
Best advice given: The best came from my parents when I was offered a job if I left college early, and rather than second-guessing me, they said, “Do what you love.”
Most recent came from Monsignor John Enzler of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, a great leader, who was on the “Our Town” podcast with Andy Ockershausen.
He said when Pope Francis was in Washington a couple of years ago, the Holy Father told the priests to “get out” of the office and get their hands dirty with their work. “Smell like sheep,” the Pope said.
Reminds me of Jackie Robinson saying,“life is not a spectator sport.”
Note: Henry’s answers have been edited for clarity.