This decade has seen the passing of a number of Boston sports media figures, some big names, some smaller, some after a long life, some taken from us way too soon.
The passing of Will McDonough on January 9th, 2003 was among the biggest passings of the decade.
McDonough’s death was the true end of an era. He was the last of the “old school” style of reporter/columnist, who wasn’t really all about writing flowing prose, but about getting information from his sources and passing that along to the readers. McDonough got personally involved in many of his stories, a huge example being the Bob Kraft/Bill Parcells split, where McDonough was basically right in the middle between the two sides. Then was the time he got in an altercation with Patriots cornerback Raymond Clayborn in the locker room.
McDonough was active right up to the last days of his life. He had hosted a sports radio program with Bill Parcells on 1510 AM that season, and had just had a public war of words with the Red Sox Larry Lucchino in his final columns. McDonough was a pioneer, becoming the first NFL reporter to take his act to television pregame shows.
The loss of McDonough was felt throughout the Boston sports media world.
There were other notable passings in the sports media world this decade. Another that really touched a lot of people was the suddenly, untimely death of Hartford Courant Patriots beat reporter Alan Greenberg. Greenberg’s death sparked off an organic outpouring of tributes to him and his like here on BSMW, and sports media people from around the country emailed in their thoughts and memories of Alan. This post from that week has links to the pages of tributes received after Greenberg’s death.
Sadly the person who first told me about Alan’s death was Dan Pires, who died himself just over a year later, also much too soon. Pires was extremely popular in Foxborough and on the Patriots beat, a huge family man, and by all accounts, a loyal and cherished friend.
Another pioneer we lost this decade was Larry Whiteside – the long time Boston Globe baseball writer, who died in 2007. In the 1970’s he was the only African-American reporter covering a major league baseball team on a daily basis for a major metropolitan newspaper. He was honored with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award from the baseball Hall of Fame and was the creator and keeper of “The Black List” of African-American reporters and copy editors designed to aid sports editors in helping hire black journalists. Nick Cafardo had some thoughts on a great man.
TV (and radio) Play-by-play legend Curt Gowdy died in 2006 at the age of 86.
Earlier this year, we lost longtime Bruins voice Fred Cusick at the age of 90.
John Callaghan – longtime sports anchor for channel 7 died in 2008 at the age of 81.
George Bent – a pioneer in the world of sports radio, from the 1960’s to the 1980’s died in 2007.
Dick Radatz – the most dominant relief pitcher of the 1960’s, who went on to become a regular on WEEI and on various sports television shows, passed away in 2005.
I know I’ve forgotten some…there’s one name…another long time sports writer here in Boston, that passed away this decade, and for the life of me, I can’t think of it.
Who have I missed on this list?
EDIT: Here’s a few additional names as pointed out by readers:
Ernie Roberts, former Globe Sports writer and editor, died earlier this year.
Legendary Red Sox radio voice Ken Coleman passed away in 2003.
Legendary Red Sox TV voice Ned Martin died in 2002, while returning home from the Fenway Park memorial service for Ted Williams.
(How in the world did I forget Coleman and Martin?)