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W.C. Heinz for Red Smith Award (2007)

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Jones, Jun 13, 2006.

  1. T&C

    T&C Member

    Heinz's book, Once They Heard The Cheers, is my favorite book of sports journalism. This is my first post and I am pleased that I can add my support. I am now going to reread Death of a Racehorse, which was reprinted in the collection, What A Time It Was.
  2. Bill King

    Bill King New Member

    Privileged to add my name.
  3. Birdscribe

    Birdscribe Active Member

    Jonesie, allow my vote to help rectify this shocking oversight.

    And a shout-out to all to read "The Rocky Road of Pistol Pete" a marvelous tome about star-struck outfielder Pete Reiser.

    Three pieces in the aforementioned "The Best American Sports Writing of the Century..." and one was somehow NOT "Death of a Racehorse." I'll let that settle in everyone's mental Samsonite.

  4. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Sirs, Madames,

    When is the vote? And precisely who votes on it? We have everyone signing on--but who is supposed to read this and how do we get the msg to them?

    YHS, etc
  5. Jones

    Jones Active Member

    Dear Friend of the Halfmilers:

    The vote is in April, made by a rather small collection of esteemed folks: Past winners of the Red Smith Award and past presidents of APSE.

    Dave Kindred, one of our special guests here and a past winner himself, has agreed to nominate Heinz.

    I plan on making a kind of direct-marketing pitch to each of the voters in February. It will include this thread, Jeff McGregor's sweet SI piece on Heinz, and letters of support from "name" sports journalists. I have received a surprising number of e-mails from guys who don't post here but heard about the campaign and want to help. That's how I'll have them help. Combined, I hope the package will convince enough voters to award Heinz his due.

    I also hope that more people will sign this thread. I appreciate those who have already taken the time to sign it, but the views to posts ratio is not as good as I'd hoped. We still have lots of time. I sincerely hope that everyone here will join the cause. It's really worth doing, and I've always felt it's something good and decent the membership can do for a terrific writer and a nice man.

    I've been a little busy lately, but once I make the request for letters of people, I'll post their names here. Hopefully this thing will snowball. It's just a little hot out for that right now.
  6. Herky_Jerky

    Herky_Jerky Member

    Add me to the list.
  7. Read Death of a Racehorse. I'm in.
  8. Orange Hat Bobcat

    Orange Hat Bobcat Active Member

    Yes, I posted on this thread earlier, but I think folks need to be reminded of this particular endorsement of W.C. Heinz.

    During a rainy morning in Chautauqua, New York, last weekend, I spent a few hours roaming a well-stocked used bookstore. Of course, I spent more time browsing the spines of old sports books than I spent with any others, despite the fact that the store's owners relegated the sports section to a corner on the second floor. When I found near-mint copies of The Best American Sports Writing 1991 and 1992, I overlooked this fact.

    Later that afternoon, while rain still poured, I opened BASW 1991, and glanced at a few pages. On the copyright page, I noticed Glenn Stout dedicated the book to Shelby Strother, who died about 18 months prior to the book's publication and who had one story included in the collection. Guest editor David Halberstam dedicated the book to Heinz. A few pages later, during the course of his introduction, Halberstam wrote about his trinity of early heroes: Red Smith, Jimmy Cannon and Heinz. I will remove this excerpt if Halberstam, Stout or Houghton Mifflin tells me to do so. Until then, enjoy.

    [quote author=David Halberstam, BASW 1991]
    ... I can also remember a piece by W.C. Heinz, who was one of my favorite writers and who never quite got the acclaim I thought he deserved (it was his misfortune to work for a paper that was in faster decline than the tabloids I favored); it was about Pete Reiser, the great Dodger player known equally well for his extraordinary talent and for his penchant for crashing into outfield walls and thereby prematurely ending otherwise promising seasons. The piece was done, I believe, for the old True magazine, and it contained a memorable scene: it was spring training and a few Dodger players were sitting around talking about the season ahead. "Where you think you'll end up?" they were asked. Most said first place, a few said second. Finally it was Reiser's turn. "Brooklyn Memorial Hospital," he answered. In retrospect, told some forty years later in a time of endless breakthroughs in nonfiction writing, it does not seem so world shattering a bit of writing, but the important thing is that four decades later, I still remember it, remember that it was Heinz's way of saying that he was there, that he was going to quote these men as they actually spoke, not as writers thought they should speak, and I also remember that I wanted to write like that.

    I was not the only one who loved the work of Bill Heinz. Al Silverman, who edited Sport in the sixties and later became the editor of the Book-of-the-Month Club (and is one of the nicest men in this business), tells the story of being at a bar in New York in the sixties when Jimmy Breslin, by then a star columnist with the Daily News, was proclaiming that a piece by Heinz in Sport, on a fighter named Bummy Davis, was the best sports story of all time. Breslin was making this point with considerable enthusiasm and decided he needed some final bit of proof. "Hey, Rosemary," he yelled to his wife, who was at the other end of the bar, "what's the best sports magazine piece of all time?" "Bummy Davis, by Bill Heinz," she immediately answered back. Wonderful, thought Silverman, but too bad it was True, not Sport, that published it.

    When I think of the early influences on me and many of my contemporaries, I think of men like Smith, Cannon, and Heinz. They were the writers who we as young boys turned to every day, and they were the ones experimenting with form. They were all very different, they were all very good, and what made reading them exciting for a generation of young men and women wanting to go into reporting was that they were changing the rules, not accepting the bland, rigid constricting form of journalism. They gave the reader a sense of what really had happened, what an important sports event had felt like to those most deeply involved, what the jocks had really said. ...

    When I think of the pioneers of New Journalism, I think first of the trinity of my early heroes: Red Smith, Jimmy Cannon, and Bill Heinz.

    If those early pioneers influenced some of the more important nonfiction writers of the sixties and seventies, then the circle was unbroken; these nonfiction writers contined to experiment with form, to write books, and as they did, they influenced younger writers still working on newspapers. ...
  9. Kato

    Kato Well-Known Member

    Add me to the list.

    Shane Frederick
    Mankato, Minn.
  10. Jack_Bauer

    Jack_Bauer Member

    If you're still taking signatures, here's mine. A no-brainer if there ever was one.
  11. powerplay

    powerplay Member

    Count me in. I plan on reading Death Of A Racehorse, but see no reason to delay my vote until then based on the endorsements I have seen on this board.

    Let's make this happen.
  12. powerplay

    powerplay Member

    All righty then. I couldn't resist and wait until the morning so I just read DOAR. No surprise here. That was an incredible piece and would still be considered incredible no matter what during what era it was written and whether or not it was on "deadline" or ran one or two days later.

    If W.C. Heinz is not presented the Red Smith Award this time I for one will demand a recount.
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