This has been an interesting decade to be a baseball writer.
Once upon a time, in a storied era of American history, sportswriters were the creme de la creme of all writers. New York City had dozens of newspapers and even smaller cities boasted multiple papers, often with multiple editions per day. Newspapers were the morning drive radio, and the evening TV news, and CNN and ESPN. Those now-iconic words, “Extra, extra, read all about it,” indicated some big news had happened that wasn’t in the previous edition of the paper you read already that day. Wire services carried the stories of the top writers to newspapers all over the country. Writing was the thing.
The biggest celebrities and and stories of the day were sports figures and the games they played. The Hollywood blockbuster film didn’t yet exist. The first commercial radio license in the USA was granted in 1920, and the first “gold record” for a music album wasn’t awarded until 1941. Think of Jim Thorpe in the 1912 Olympics. The Kentucky Derby has been run since 1875. Jack Dempsey won his first boxing heavyweight title in 1919. And there was baseball, baseball, baseball.
So the best-known writers were the sportswriters, in particular the baseball writers.
But time has marched forward (more…)