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RIP George Cantor

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by WolvEagle, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. WolvEagle

    WolvEagle Active Member

    He was 69 and had been in ill health. He covered the 1968 Tigers for the Detroit Free Press as a beat writer and the 1984 Tigers for The Detroit News as a columnist. He also was a news-side reporter and columnist, and wrote several books. I have one on the '68 Tigers and another on University of Michigan football.

    He was a heck of a writer. What was sad was his bitterness after his daughter died after falling from a sixth-floor dorm window at U-M. He let it affect his editorial page columns.

    Still, another piece of Detroit history gone.

    RIP, George.


  2. maumann

    maumann Active Member

    I thought I'd share what I wrote IJAG last night when she told me about George:

    I have George's book on the '68 Tigers and always thought perhaps I'd
    run into him somewhere and have a chance to talk about covering the
    team during that tumultuous time in Detroit, a year after the riots
    and how the entire city was on edge and yet, people braved the ride to
    Tiger Stadium that summer to see the Tigers.

    When you're 9, the world is still a wondrous place, even if the
    reality doesn't quite match up.

    I know we came back to Detroit on vacation that year and went to one
    game -- one of Denny McLain's six losses that season -- a few hours
    after driving down Grand River Ave. and seeing all the burnt-out
    businesses and houses, just two blocks from where my mother grew up.
    And I think it struck home to my parents that Detroit wasn't a safe
    place to live any more, because my mother rarely cries and she cried a
    lot that day.

    My grandparents had already moved out to Schoolcraft by then, in a
    neighborhood that seemed pretty safe at the time. But the white flight
    that started well before the '67 riots only accelerated from that
    point on, and the elderly residents on Glastonbury were some of the
    last to leave. I know Grandpa Cook had a series of wooden dowels that
    had to be placed in the windows at night and a wooden brace for the
    front and side doors, because there had been a rash of break-ins along
    their street. By then, he was in his 80s and had cataract surgery, was
    frail and drove poorly. And she had crippling arthritis and was
    completely dependent on him to get to the hospital.

    After Grandpa died in the spring of 1976, about a month after your
    birth, Mom and I went back that summer to pack up the house. I wanted
    to go to a game, but Grandma was very nervous about a 17-year-old
    alone, especially after Al Kaline's son, Mark, had been robbed at
    gunpoint outside the stadium. They finally relented, and I saw the
    Tigers sweep the Indians in a doubleheader, but it was odd being in
    the ballpark by myself -- not because I was in danger but because I
    had always shared the experience.

    It's very hard to go past the Glastonbury house now, not because I
    don't have wonderful memories. But because even though the house --
    and the neighborhood -- is kept up nicely, there's still a feeling of
    change that will never be undone. The butcher shop across the street,
    where I could walk to pick the Free Press and the News every day, is
    boarded up. The drug store that sold an eighth of a pound of hot
    roasted cashews for 50 cents is boarded up. The supermarket,
    closed. The bakery, closed. The A&W that we could walk to on a warm
    summer's night, gone.

    Still, I can close my eyes and locate a moment frozen in time, the
    summer of 1968, listening to Ernie Harwell and Ray Lane on WJR --
    Grandma serving up pie from the kitchen, filling out the scorecard
    next to Grandpa -- Dick McAuliffe 2B, Mickey Stanley CF, Al Kaline RF,
    Norm Cash 1B, Willie Horton LF, Bill Freehan C, Don Wert 3B, Ray Olyer
    SS ...

    And reading George's book always brings that memory back for me.
  3. crusoes

    crusoes Active Member

    Wolv, if your daughter died that way, I suspect you'd have a chip on your shoulder, too. And as I recall, U-M didn't cover itself in glory through its actions. It mostly was trying to cover its own ass.
  4. WolvEagle

    WolvEagle Active Member

    Crusoes - I think you're right. Plus, I think he probably struggled with the fact that his daughter was drunk when it happened, and she wasn't 21 yet. Still, that's got to be so, so hard. I felt for him.
  5. WolvEagle

    WolvEagle Active Member

    Forgot to add: The cause of death was prostate cancer. That sucks that the big C struck again.
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