Ghosts of sportswriting past

Thanks to The Dallas Morning News‘  Barry Horn for this link to a magazine piece by a former Texas sportswriting great about former Texas sportswriting greats and how the current ones just about all stink.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I worked with Barry at the News for three years in the 1980s. That also leads to a little story about one of those Texas greats mentioned in the magazine piece, Blackie Sherrod. I had the privilege of editing some of Sherrod’s columns when he joined the News from the Dallas Times Herald, though it was toward the end of my tenure in Dallas.

As great as Sherrod was — and it’s totally superfluous for insignificant me to add my opinion about what a terrific columnist he was — it was a bit of a culture shock when he joined the News and our sports copy desk actually would ask questions about something he wrote. Still, he was always gracious whenever I spoke with him, and I always would be respectful, keeping in my mind I was desk drone still in my 20s speaking with a sportswriting legend.

Not so one of my desk colleagues. Writing from a Super Bowl staged at Stanford Stadium, Sherrod chose to use a “San Francisco” dateline on his column rather than the “Palo Alto” everyone else was using. (The cities are about 30 miles apart, according to an online driving distance chart.)  It wasn’t enough for this fellow, however, to simply change the dateline to match all the other copy. Instead, he got Sherrod on the phone and rather impertinently asked: “Blackie, were you at the game?”

Yikes.

My recollection might be a bit fuzzy, but I don’t think the conversation went on much longer.

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