Collins reflects on listening to Ali as a teen

Collins reflects on listening to Ali as a teen

MIAMI -- Terry Collins was just a teenager when Muhammad Ali -- then Cassius Clay -- fought Sonny Liston for the first time in Miami Beach, Fla., just a short trip over the intracoastal from where the Mets are playing the Marlins this weekend.

Back then, Collins was attending high school in Michigan, where he tuned his radio to the fight because it was not on television.

"That's when boxing was boxing," Collins said Saturday, a day after Ali's passing. "I just remember listening to the fight."

Like so many around the sports world, Ali's death prompted Collins to pause for reflection. As Major League Baseball's oldest active manager, Collins, 67, is one of a shrinking list of people around the game who can remember watching Ali in his prime.

"It's always sad when you lose an icon like that," Collins said. "I felt so bad for him in recent years, the shape he was in. I watched a [show] today on him. You saw that great energy and all that enthusiasm and all that. The smile. It hadn't been there in a long time. We certainly wish the family the best. This guy made an impact on the sports world. Certainly, it won't be forgotten for many, many years."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.