So last week, I had you weigh in on who your favorite all-time Boston sports columnists were. I enjoyed reading through many of the comments, and received several emails from others who enjoyed reading some names they hadn’t seen in a long time.

So from the comments, along with a number of emails I received, I’ve put together this list for you to vote on.


If you’re so inclined, you can also put them in order, or at least the top five, in your comments below.


28 thoughts on “Vote: All Time Boston Sports Columnists

  1. Ray Fitzgerald was the #1 columnist when the Globe had America’s best sports section. A stylist, tough but fair-minded.

    1. Agreed, but if I had two votes, Ernie Roberts would get the other one. When he was gone, high school and college sports in New England lost their best and smartest advocate.

  2. Bruce,

    How can you have a poll of the all-time best sports columnists in Boston and NOT include Dan Shaughnessy? I know you and many others don’t like the guy, but there’s no denying his impact in this town. Regardless whether you agree or disagree with the majority of his opinions, there is no denying that Dan is regarded as an authority on the Red Sox on the national baseball landscape.


    1. Because I had him on the list last week of names to consider, and there wasn’t support for him there. That’s why he’s not on this list. Perhaps you should’ve made your case for him at that time. But your point is taken, in retrospect, he could’ve been on this list. Perhaps a write-in vote is in order…

      1. It’s the award for Best not “most influential” columnist. Like the athletes he purports to cover, if you’re not working on your game, you’re losing it. He clearly stopped working on his game a few years ago.

  3. Since first falling in love with sports as a lad in the mid-1960s, primarily via the written word (and, to a lesser degree, Don Gillis on the old Channel 5), here’s one guy’s Top 5 All-Time Boston Sports Columnists list:

    1) Ray Fitzgerald
    2) Leigh Montville
    3) Bob Ryan
    4) Will McDonough
    5) Tim Horgan

    1. Right. Probably needs to be in the discussion. How come no one brought him up last week? I’m not sure about “def” all-time top 5er, but in the discussion at least.

      1. You betcha, Frank! Wonder what Sinbad thinks?

        I imagine the ‘Haggerty’ statue being a bronzed pork chop (BBQ sauce optional).

        Scary to think I agree with AOB, but I say Montville is #1.

        I think the lack of more current columnists just goes to say that the field was deeper back in the day.

  4. This award needs to have a snappy name. The best pitcher doesn’t get the ‘Best Pitcher Award’ he gets the ‘Cy Young Award’.

    I nominate ‘The Haggerty’. Imagine a little golden Haggerty statue going out to the winner.


    1. Every time Putt Putt Twin Number Two hits a golf ball into the rough, it’s a slap in the face of Osama Bin Ladin and his evil liberal cohorts. God bless him!

      (fishercat is the Joe Haggerty of these comments!)

  6. I assume most of your readers have never read Roberts,Horgan,Egan, Kaese or Hirshbeg. They were all great as are the those others in your survey. Very tough to pick one but I went with Will McDonough because I could not wait to see his Saturday column every week.Must reading for a Boston sports fan.

  7. Bruce,

    Thanks for your response. I still think Dan Shaughnessy should be included, democratic way be damned.


  8. With Will McDonough leading, the English language and writers of merit everywhere have to feel like they were kicked right in the pizzuti…

  9. Of the people included on the list, only one (Ryan) is actively writing a regular newspaper column. I don’t know if Bruce crafted the choices that way deliberately, but it does seem to imply that current writers – most of whom are subject to BSMW’s daily scrutiny and usually found wanting – aren’t worthy of consideration. I say let fairness rule! Put Callahan and Shaughnessy on the list and let’s see what happens.

    Two other comments. Including Ernie Roberts but not Larry Whiteside? Both were equally bland, but at least Whiteside was a trailblazer. What was the criteria for non-Boston paper columnists?

  10. KKKallahan, Shank and the guy I would have voted for, Charlie Pierce should have been included. I know. Where was I last week

    And Ray Fitzgerald, for Christ’s sake. I feel the same way about him as Earl Weaver felt about Terry Crowley. I’m an old crock who actually read the guy back in the day and I cant remember a single fu*king thing he ever said. Talk about inexplicably overrated.

  11. Will McDonough was the Boston man’s writer. He knew all the major players personally. I always remember him on the NFL Today starting off his sentences like “I just got off the phone with Bill Parcells…” or “Commissioner Rozelle just informed me that…”
    Funny thing was, he wasnt lying. Great writer and is sorely missed. Could pick out a liar/cheat/faker from a mile away. See Roger Clemens on that one.
    The Boston Sports Media hasnt been the same since Southie’s own passed away.

  12. Best: Peter Gammons – Sunday couldn’t come fast enough. He was a must read for baseball enthusiasts and a true gentleman

    Worst: Will McDonough – A old-time “muck raker” who built his career on destroying others. McDonough was as bad a reporter as the terrible Patriots teams he covered. McDonough ruined the 96 Superbowl for New England fans, he was a mouthpiece for Parcells, and an arrogant SOB

  13. RonBorges…whoever you claim to be:

    I’d like to know how did Will McDonough ruin the 1996 Super Bowl for Patriots fans? I could have sworn it was Desmond Howard who did it. McDonough merely reported the truth, that Parcells was thinking about bolting, which came to fruition. Would it have made you and other Patriots fans feel any better if McDonough fabricated a story about Parcells leaving? And by calling McDonough a “bad reporter,” you obviously are beyond clueless. He had more sources in the NFL than Pete Rozelle. Come to think of it, Rozelle was probably one of Will’s sources.

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