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Meet The Sports Writers

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  • Thomas Holmes---AKA Tommy Holmes

    Born: November 5, 1903, Brooklyn, NY
    Died: March 25, 1975, Brooklyn, NY, age 71

    Brooklyn/New York sports writer;
    Brooklyn, NY, 6-year old, (April, 1910 census)
    Brooklyn, NY, newspaper writer, (April 20, 1930 census)
    Brooklyn, newspaper writer, (April 6, 1940 census)
    Brooklyn Eagle, October, 1926, - 1956, mostly covered the Dodgers,
    New York Herald-Tribune, 1956 - 1966, mostly covered the Dodgers, until they left town for Los Angeles, CA.

    Father: Thomas, born New York around 1858; Mother: Elizabeth, born New York, around 1875; Wife: Grace, born Michigan around 1905;

    The Dodgers, 1975.
    Tommy Holmes and Bob Broeg were the recipients of the 1979 J.G. Taylor Spink Award.

    Red Smith described Holmes as "the best baseball writer of his time, possibly of all time." As evidenced in his bright and sprightly writing style, Holmes' personality was sensitive but unassuming, honest yet unpretentious, witty and intelligent.

    A thorough student of the game, Holmes covered the Brooklyn Dodgers for the Brooklyn Eagle and for the New York Herald-Tribune from 1924 until the club's move to Los Angeles. He was an acutely perceptive and observant writer who employed a direct and simple style.

    Holmes, a splendid historian, authored a pair of books on the Dodgers as well as Baseball's Best with Tom Meany.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Sporting News' Obituary,
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------April 12, 1975, pp. 62, column 3-4.

    March 4, 1959: New York sports writers in St. Petersburg, FL.
    Top Row, L-R: Stan Isaacs, Dan Daniel, Tommy Holmes, Bill Dougerty, Len Schecter, Jim Ogle.

    Bottom Row, L-R: John Drebinger, Jack Lang, Casey Stengel, Joe Trimble, Ken Smith, Til Ferdenzi.
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 01-30-2013, 06:04 PM.


    • William James Granger

      Born: February 9, 1877, Brooklyn, NY
      Died: January 17, 1945, Kew Gardens, NY, age 67

      Brooklyn sports editor;
      The Brooklyn Eagle composing room, 1892 - 1897
      Worked for father in commercial work,
      New York Morning Journal,
      Brooklyn Citizen sports editor, 1903 - 1945
      He began to write baseball around 1900.

      GetImage4.pdf: Sporting News' 1939 Interview

      Bill Granger (Sports editor. Born, Brooklyn, Feb. 9, 1877; died, Kew Gardens, Queens, Jan. 17, 1945.) As a callow youth, he spent much of his time supporting himself as a bowling hustler, but William J. Granger wound up as sports editor of the Brooklyn Citizen for more than half of the paper’s 61-year existence. Granger worked for the Brooklyn Eagle for two years (1900-02), doing mostly non-editorial work while pursuing his bowling avocation. In early 1902, he was hired by Major Wheeler, the Citizen’s sports editor, as the paper’s bowling editor. This move not only saved Granger’s victims money but attracted his fellow keglers as readers. Granger succeeded Wheeler as sports editor in 1907, promptly improved the Citizen’s baseball coverage, and was one of the six original organizers of the B.B.W.A.A. in 1908. He added baseball writer Clinton Hoard to the staff and began to expand coverage of other sports. Granger was chairman of the Brooklyn B.B.W.A.A. chapter three times (1922-23, 1933-34, 1942-43). The Citizen closed on Aug. 29, 1947. (The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel.)

      Sporting News' article, June 12, 1941, pp. 6, column 2-5.
      'Four Kings' Who Ruled as Rival Sports Editors,
      Founded Royal Regime of Loyal Dodger Fandom

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------Sporting News' obituary, January 25, 1945, pp. 17, column 4.

      New York Times' obituary, January 18, 1945, pp. 19.
      Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-11-2012, 09:31 PM.


      • Thomas Stevens Rice

        Born: February 21, 1878, Baltimore, MD
        Died: February 4, 1942, Brooklyn, NY, age 63,

        Baltimore / Washington / Brooklyn sports writer:
        Baltimore Sun, 1899 - 1903
        Washington Times, 1903- 1910
        Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 29, 1911 - 1929

        Left baseball to devote himself to crime & general law.
        Graduated Baltimore City College (1897), University of Maryland law school (1899),
        Admitted Maryland bar 1899, Member of New York State Crime Commission (1926-31).

        Thomas S. Rice (Sportswriter. Born, Baltimore, Md., Feb. 21, 1878; died, Brooklyn, Feb. 14, 1942.) Perhaps uniquely among sportswriters of his time, Thomas S. Rice was a practicing lawyer who spent 18 years (1911-29) with the Brooklyn Eagle. Rice, who often signed his copy with only his last name, covered the Dodgers his last 13 years at the Eagle and then was appointed to the New York State Crime Commission. He graduated Baltimore City College in 1897, studied the law, and was admitted to the bar in Maryland in 1899. Shortly thereafter, Rice joined the Baltimore Sun, moved to the original Washington Times in 1903, and the Eagle eight years later. In addition to several studies on criminology, he also published the famous “Rice Notations,” a study of lefthandedness that was also applied to some criminal cases. (The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel.)

        New York Herald-Tribune------------------------------------------------------New York Times' Obituary
        Obituary, February 15, 1942--------------------------------------------------February 15, 1942, pp. 44.------------------------Who Was Who in America, Volume 2

        Last edited by Bill Burgess; 11-12-2011, 01:14 AM.


        • Stephen Orlando Grauley---AKA Sog---an abreviation from the initials of his name.

          Born: August 5, 1878, Philadelphia, PA
          Died: December 6, 1958, Philadelphia, PA, age 80

          Philadelphia sports writer;
          Philadelphia Inquirer sports writer, 1898 - 1925, sports editor, 1925 - 1958
          In Philadelphia sports, he served as player, official, club owner & reporter.
          Close personal friend of Connie Mack.

          Sporting News' article, May 18, 1939, pp. 6.

          Sporting News' Obituary, December 17, 1958, pp. 22, column 4.

          Last edited by Bill Burgess; 08-05-2012, 11:21 AM.


          • Charles Willis Dunkley

            Born: September 26, 1887, Kalamazoo, MI
            Died: February 6, 1957, Williams Bay, WI, age 69,---d. heart attack

            Chicago sports writer:
            Kalamazoo Gazette, 1906
            South Bend Tribune (IN)
            Chicago Inter-Ocean, 1909
            Chicago Examiner,
            Associated Press, (Chicago office), 1911 - 1916, Midwest sports editor, 1916 - September, 1952
            Baseball was his favorite, but he also loved track & boxing.

            Chicago Tribune obituary, February 7, 1957.---------------------------------------------------------October 10, 1952: L-R: George Halas, Charles Dunkley, Chuck Comiskey.
            ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Dunkley retired from AP after 41 years in Chicago testimonial dinner.

            Sporting News' obituary, February 13, 1957, pp. 32, col. 4.
            Last edited by Bill Burgess; 07-27-2012, 02:41 PM.


            • Willis Eldon Johnson

              Born: May 21, 1881, St. Louis, MO
              Died: April 23, 1958, St. Louis, MO, age 77,---d. heart disease. Myocardial infarction, due to coronary thrombosis.

              St. Louis sports writer;
              St. Louis University, Worked in bank 4 years
              St. Louis Republic, sports editor, 1901 - 1908
              St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 1908 - 1914
              St. Louis Terriers' (Federal League team), traveling secretary, spring, 1914 - December, 1915
              St. Louis Browns', traveling secretary, December, 1915 - November 14, 1936.

              Father: Joseph; Mother: Lillian Kelly; Wife Mina Batchelder; Willis married Mina in 1903. Son: Willis Eldon, Jr.

              Sporting News' obituary-------------------------------Who's Who in Major League Baseball,
              April 23, 1958, pp. 40, column 1-2---------------------edited by Harold (Speed) Johnson, 1933, pp. 42-43.

              -------Missouri Death Certificate.
              Last edited by Bill Burgess; 08-05-2012, 11:56 AM.


              • ----------
                Last edited by Bill Burgess; 01-18-2009, 03:36 PM.


                • Stuart M. Bell

                  Born: December 1, 1888, Whitehall, Michigan
                  Died: October 9, 1970, Vista, CA, age 81

                  Cleveland sports writer;
                  Detroit Free Press, 1911
                  Toledo Blade,
                  Ann Arbor,
                  Cleveland Leader copy reader, 1913
                  Started weekly sports magazine, failed, Firestone Tire advertising department, Cleveland department store advertising man,
                  Adverting for Akron, Ohio company, (June 5, 1917 WWI Civilian Draft Registration)
                  Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1918? - 1925?
                  Cleveland Press, sports writer, 1930 - 1936?
                  Los Angeles Times, sports writer, 1944
                  Retired by 1956.

                  Father: Joseph; Mother: Jeanette McDonald; Wife Pauline Orient, born Cleveland, OH; Stuart married Pauline on June 26, 1915.

                  -------------------------------------------------------Stuart's photo/entry in Who's Who in Major League Baseball,---Sporting News' obituary, October 31, 1970, pp. 54.
                  ----------------------------------------------------------------edited by Harold (Speed) Johnson, 1933, pp. 506.
                  Last edited by Bill Burgess; 01-30-2013, 06:11 PM.


                  • ----------
                    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 01-18-2009, 03:39 PM.


                    • Glen Leeper Wallar

                      Born: October 4, 1881, Lancaster, IL
                      Died: January 27, 1955, St. Louis, MO, age 73---d. at home of cancer.

                      St. Louis sports writer / sports editor;
                      Graduated Southern Collegiate Institute (Albion, IL), 1902,
                      Worked business office / circulation dept. of St. Louis Globe -Democrat, 1902 - 1908. Then to sports staff, 1908 - 1918.
                      St. Louis Republic, 1918 - 1919.
                      St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 1919 - 1933, sports editor since 1924.
                      Was ill in 1933, returned to work as chief sports make-up editor, 1933 - 1950. Retired in 1950.
                      Also worked for Federal League Baseball team.

                      Father: Fayett K.; Mother: Martha M. Leeper; Wife: May;

                      GetImage.pdf Sporting News' Interview.

                      ---------------------------------Sporting News' obituary,
                      ---------------------------------February 2, 1955, pp. 26, column 4.

                      -----------------------------Who's Who in Major League Baseball, edited by Harold (Speed) Johnson, 1933, pp. 500.

                      -------------------------------Missouri Death Certificate.
                      Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-08-2011, 02:29 PM.


                      • John Butt Keller---AKA Jack Keller

                        Born: June 24, 1886, Laurel, MD
                        Died: March 22, 1968, Silver Spring, MD, age 81

                        Washington DC sports writer;
                        Graduated George Washington University (Washington, DC),
                        Washington Herald, 1911
                        Greensboro Daily News (N.Carolina), 1914
                        Raleigh News (NC)
                        Raleigh Observer (NC)
                        Washington Times
                        Washington Post
                        WWI, (artillery sergeant), 1917 - 1919
                        Washington Post reporter, September, 1918.
                        Washington Evening Star, 1920, retired in 1952 as sports copy editor.

                        Who's Who in Major League Baseball, edited by Harold (Speed) Johnson, 1933, pp. 492.
                        Last edited by Bill Burgess; 01-30-2013, 06:12 PM.


                        • ----------
                          Last edited by Bill Burgess; 01-18-2009, 04:33 PM.


                          • James McClure Gould

                            Born: April 9, 1883, Albany, NY
                            Died: February 15, 1943, St. Louis, MO, age 59,---d. heart attack at home, coronary Occlusion. Buried: Calvary Catholic Cemetery, St. Louis, MO

                            St. Louis sports writer;
                            Newark Star (NJ) sports writer, 1909 - 1919
                            St. Louis Star baseball editor / sports editor, 1919 - 1928
                            St. Louis Post-Dispatch baseball writer, 1929 - 1943), football expert.

                            Father: Charles, born New York; Mother: Janet, born New York; Wife: Ann Stuart

                            Who's Who in Major League Baseball,------------------------------Sporting News' Obituary,-----------New York Times' Obituary,
                            edited by Harold (Speed) Johnson, 1933, pp. 492.-------------February 19, 1943, pp. 7, column 4.----February 17, 1943, pp. 21.

                            --------------------------------Missouri Death Certificate.
                            Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-08-2011, 02:39 PM.


                            • Frederick Bushnell Ryder---AKA Jack Ryder

                              Born: November 16, 1871, Oberlin, OH
                              Died: June 5, 1936, Avondale, OH, age 65

                              Cincinnati sports writer;
                              Graduated Phillips Academy (Andover, MA), 1889.
                              Williams College (Williamstown, MA), 1892.
                              Taught school in Columbus, OH, until 1898.
                              Private in Spanish-American War.
                              Ohio State Journal (reporter, sports editor, columnist.)
                              Arrived Cincinnati, July, 1904.
                              Cincinnati Commercial-Tribune columnist, July, 1904.
                              Cincinnati Enquirer sports editor, December 1, 1904 - 1936.
                              6'2, blue eyes.

                              One of his biggest regrets was he couldn't fight for the US in WWI. In 1905, Jack replaced Charles Webb Murphy on the Cincinnati Enquirer as sports writer and served there for more than 30 years.

                              New York Times' obituary, June 6, 1936, pp. 17.

                              Sporting News' obituary, June 11, 1936, pp. 2.------------------------------------------Who's Who in Major League Baseball,
                              ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------edited by Harold (Speed) Johnson, 1933, pp. 493.

                              Last edited by Bill Burgess; 08-05-2012, 12:36 PM.


                              • Julian Richards Vidmer---AKA Richards Vidmer

                                Born: October 7, 1898, Washington, DC
                                Died: July 23, 1978, Murray, KY, age 79

                                New York sports writer;
                                Washington Herald, 1923 - 1924
                                Washington Daily News, 1924 - 1925
                                New York Times, 1925 - 1931
                                New York Morning Telegraph
                                New York Herald-Tribune, 1932
                                New York Herald-Tribune (in England, 1945 - ?)
                                Enlisted for WWII, February, 1942, wounded by sniper in hand, June, 1944.
                                Retired by 1956.

                                Richards Vidmer elevated the craft of sportswriting with the simple approach of amusing and entertaining his readers. His colorful prose enhanced the story but never overstated the message he was attempting to convey. Vidmer never took himself, or sports, too seriously. In the twenty years he reported sports he maintained a crisp, innovative approach, endowing almost every story he wrote with a fresh angle.

                                Richards Vidmer was born on October 7, 1898 in Washington, D.C. He was the second child of George Vidmer and Carol Richards Vidmer. George Vidmer was a captain of cavalry in the United States Army at the time of Richards's birth. A poised career officer, George reached the rank of general and served as superintendent of West Point. Richards grew up on horseback and played polo. This familiarity with horses later enhanced his sportswriting when he reported on polo matches for The New York Times. Reared in the nomadic style of the military, Vidmer did not suffer from a parochial outlook on life.

                                Before he reached his teens he had lived in Washington, D.C., Cuba, Japan, West Point, the Philippines, and Texas. As a result, he brought polish and worldliness to his later work as a sportswriter. Star athletes did not impress him as much as they did some of his peers. In 1917 Vidmer graduated from St. Luke's School in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Although he had been accepted at West Point as the United States entered World War I, Vidmer was eager to join the War effort. He passed on West Point and enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps, eventually earning his wings as a pursuit pilot. To his disappointment, however, he never experienced combat overseas.

                                While attempting to land on a field in Hicksville, Long Island, following a routine training flight, his plane collided with another aircraft in an overcast sky. Of the four people aboard the two aircraft, Vidmer was the lone survivor. Nine months of surgery and rehabilitation in Walter Reed Hospital followed.

                                After his release from the Air Corps, Vidmer enrolled at George Washington University. He had recovered from his wartime injuries sufficiently enough to play football and baseball in college. While still in high school he had played professional baseball in El Paso, Texas, but in order to protect his eventual college eligibility he had played under the name of "Widmeyer." Vidmer's experience as an athlete prepared him to report sports with insight. He knew that an errant bounce of the ball or a momentary lapse of concentration endowed even the greatest with feet of clay. He never hesitated to criticize a ballplayer for doing something foolish or irresponsible.

                                In June 1921 a casual meeting on a street in Washington initiated Vidmer's newspaper career. Just out of George Washington University, he met the managing editor of the Washington Herald, who offered Vidmer a job at $25 a week. He did general assignment work and on occasion wrote a feature story. His first feature was about the fiftieth anniversary of the Chicago fire.

                                In June 1922 Vidmer married Miriam Miller in Washington, D.C. They had three children: two sons and a daughter. It was the first of three marriages for Vidmer. When Vidmer's managing editor at the Herald left to join the Washington Daily News in 1922, he took along Vidmer as sports editor. At the same time, Vidmer was the football coach at St. John's College, a military prep school in Washington. Knowledgeable of sports but unsure what an editor did, he accepted the position at the Daily News, covering the Washington Senators as well as football and boxing.

                                While in New York in 1924 to cover a heavyweight bout Vidmer visited the offices of The New York Times and spoke with managing editor Carr Van Anda, who introduced Vidmer to sports editor Bernard Thomson. Two weeks later Thomson offered Vidmer a job. Vidmer, unsure of his ability to compete in the New York market, hesitated to accept the offer. He recalled to Jerome Holtzman, the Chicago Tribune writer, that he asked his friend Washington Senators pitcher Walter Johnson for advice. Johnson encouraged him to take the job, saying that it had always been his dream to pitch in New York.

                                Vidmer reveled in the "gee whiz" style that dominated sportswriting in the 1920s, with its "jargon, florid phraseology and mixed figures," as Stanley Woodward characterized it in his Sports Page (1949). Vidmer preferred to begin his stories with an angle. A story he wrote for The New York Times while covering the 1925 World Series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Senators, for example, leads by focusing on a former Pittsburgh player now relegated to obscurity: "Just after noon a big broad merchant emerged from his little shop on Wood Street.
                                Richards Vidmer (Sportswriter. Born, Fort Riley, KS, Oct. 7, 1898; died, Calloway, KY, July 23, 1978.) As much an athlete as a sportswriter, Richards Vidmer was more of an unorthodox character than anything. Son of a U.S. Army cavalry officer, Vidmer was headed to West Point from St. Luke’s School in Wayne, Penna., in 1917, but joined the U.S. Army Flying Corps instead and served in World War I. He then became a football and baseball player at George Washington U. and, in 1922, a football coach. Vidmer began his sportswriting career in Washington, D.C., with Hearst’s Herald, spent two years as sports editor of the Daily News there, and, in 1926, came to New York, joining The Times’s sports staff. In 1932, he moved to the Herald Tribune after a brief stint on The Morning Telegraph. Vidmer wrote a column entitled Down in Front at the Herald Tribune and was a jack-of-all-trades writer, covering boxing, football, crew, polo, tennis, golf, baseball, and track and field. He enlisted in the Army in 1942, was shipped to England with the Eighth Air Force, eventually wound up in intelligence, served on Gen. Eisenhower’s staff, and, in 1944, was wounded by a Nazi sniper in France. Following the end of World War II, he married the daughter of the Rajah of Sarawak, was a golf pro in Barbados, and, for a time, a foreign correspondent in Europe for the Herald Tribune. (The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel.)

                                Who's Who in Major League Baseball, edited by Harold (Speed) Johnson, 1933, pp. 493.----------------------------------------------Sporting News' obituary, August 19, 1978, pp. 53, column 3.
                                Last edited by Bill Burgess; 01-30-2013, 06:14 PM.


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