McGee: Grantland Rice and our grand old game

From SABR member Bob McGee at The National Pastime Museum on September 24, 2015:

Grantland Rice had a signature style and a signature hat, and after 22,000 columns, 67 million words, 7,000 poetic ditties, and a thousand magazine articles spread across a half-century plus, his ticker just ran out of typewriter ribbon.

He was arguably the most important print reporter through the first half of the twentieth century, and even at the end of his days, when he died in July of ’54 at age 74, he was still writing a column six days a week for 80 newspapers.

Both he and Red Smith, for whom he had a high regard, inferred the same thing about the last things they wrote: Grantland Rice believed that he’d already written too many words and felt that he should have “ceased firing years ago,” while Red Smith, in his last piece four days before he died in 1982, sounded a commitment to “writing less . . . and better.”

Rice hadn’t limited himself to the papers, inasmuch as he was often heard on the radio beginning when Huggins’s Yankees and McGraw’s Giants clashed in the World Series at the Polo Grounds in 1921.

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Originally published: September 24, 2015. Last Updated: September 24, 2015.