Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Sports

Dallas Baseball Team — ca. 1910

dallas-baseball_1910_ebay_black-teammateTeam photo, circa 1910… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I came across this circa-1910 photo on eBay about a year and a half ago. I thought it was unusual because of the presence of an African American man posing with the team. Sports teams weren’t integrated at this time — was he part of the team but not a player? I don’t know what’s written on his shirt, but it doesn’t have “Dallas” on it like the ones the others are wearing. What do you think?

Happy Opening Day!

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Sources & Notes

Photo found on eBay. (I assume it’s Dallas, Texas….)

More Flashback Dallas posts on baseball can be found here.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Jack Ruby, Boxing Fan — 1958

ruby-jack_sportatorium_boxing-match_kxas-collecton_1958Jack at the fights?

by Paula Bosse

Flashback Dallas reader Steve Roe wrote to say that he thought he had spotted Jack Ruby in old TV news footage of a local boxing match. Above is a screenshot showing a person who looks a lot like Jack Ruby (who was an enthusiastic boxing fan), in attendance at an April 28,1958 night of boxing at the Sportatorium — the top match that night was between Paul Jorgensen of Port Arthur, Texas and Russ Tague of Davenport, Iowa (Jorgensen won in a 10th-round TKO).

ruby-jack_sportatorium_boxing-match_ad_042958April 28, 1958

Is that Jack Ruby, who would have just turned 47?

Watch the full (silent) clip here (the Ruby — or “Ruby” — appearance happens at about the 1:00 mark).

The script for this sports story which was read on the WBAP-Channel 5 newscast of April 29, 1958 is here (click the typed pages to see larger images).

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Sources & Notes

Screenshot is from Channel 5 news footage; the clip is part of the KXAS-NBC 5 Collection at UNT’s Portal to Texas History; the film clip is here.

Thank you to Steve Roe who contacted me with his find. Thanks, Steve!

Another discovery of Jack Ruby popping up on local news footage as an anonymous face in the crowd can be read about in the Flashback Dallas post “Newly Discovered Footage of Jack Ruby — 1960.”

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Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Beautiful Lake Cliff — ca. 1906

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by Paula Bosse

Enjoy these images of Lake Cliff, which, 100 years ago, was “the greatest amusement park in the Southwest.” The slogan “It’s in Dallas” should really have read “It’s in Oak Cliff” — and back then Oak Cliff had everything!

  • Mystic River
  • Shoot-the-Chutes (read this!)
  • Open-Air Circus
  • Roller Coaster
  • Casino
  • Natatorium
  • Carousel
  • Tennis Courts
  • Restaurant
  • Baseball Grounds
  • Skating Rink
  • Trolley Cars
  • Penny Vaudeville
  • Casino Band and Orchestra
  • Circle Swing
  • Japanese Village
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Ferris Wheel

Whew.

Below, some wonderful postcards and photos. (Click to see larger images.)

The first one shows the cafe and the “circle swing” (see a swing in action here).

lake-cliff-cafe_circle-swing_postcard_postmarked-1909_ebay

lake-cliff_c1910_postcard_degolyervia DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

lake-cliff-bathing_1910s_postcard_degolyervia DeGolyer Library, SMU

swim_lake-cliff-pool_ca-1907_flickr_coltera

lake-cliff_flickr_coltera

lake-cliff_postcard

lake-cliff_shoot-the-chutes_1908

skating-rink_lake-cliff_cook-colln_degolyer_1via Cook Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU

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lake-cliff_postcard_weichsel_ebay

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lake-cliff-pavilion_oak-cliff-high-school-yrbk_1925Oak Cliff High School yearbook, 1925

lake-cliff_clogenson_1908_LOCPhoto by Clogenson, ca. 1908, via Library of Congress

lake-cliff_1906_portal_attractions-1

lake-cliff_1906_portal_attractions-2From 1906 promotional brochure, via Portal to Texas History

Jump forward to the 1940s — when it was more of a big pool, without all the flash and filigree:

swim_lake-cliff-pool_1947_flickr_coltera

Take a look at it now in this stunningly beautiful drone video by Matthew Armstrong:

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Sources & Notes

Top image is from a postcard in the George W. Cook Collection at SMU’s DeGolyer Library, here.

Most other uncredited images were found around the internet, several from Coltera’s Flickr stream.

More on Lake Cliff can be found in this article by Rachel Stone from the Oak Cliff Advocate (be sure to click the link to see the full 1906 promotional brochure on “the Southwest’s greatest playground” (it’s “Clean, Cool, Delightful”)).

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Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

A Flooded Sportatorium

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Boys gotta do what boys gotta do… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Imagine it has flooded around the Sportatorium: what would you expect seven boys and their dog to do? Well, here they are doing about what you’d expect. (The image above is a detail from the undated photo below, by Squire Haskins — see this photo really big on the UTA website here.)

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Another photo, this one with a Huck-Finn-meets-Iwo-Jima-Memorial vibe (full-size on the UTA site here):

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My closer-up detail (click to see larger image):

sportatorium_flood_squire-haskins_UTA_boys-2_det

Another view (original full-size image here):

sportatorium_flood_squire-haskins_UTA_no-boys

Closer up, with a Grand Prize Beer billboard, cars (on Industrial?), and a sign for the next-door Plantation nightspot:

sportatorium_flood_squire-haskins_UTA_no-boys_det

No wrasslin’ tonight, y’all.

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Sources & Notes

All photos by Squire Haskins, from the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries, Special Collections. More info can be found on the first photo here, the second photo here, and the last photo here.

The Sportatorium was located at 1000 S. Industrial (now Riverfront), at Cadiz (see map here). Maybe a little too close to the Trinity….

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Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved

 

Dallas Football Through the Decades

football_tom-landry_cowboys_texas-stadium-under-construction_UTA_051671Tom Landry, Texas Stadium, 1971… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Here are a few football-centric Dallas images to enjoy on this football-centric day.

Above, Dallas Cowboys’ coach Tom Landry in 1971, surveying with wonderment the then-under-construction Texas Stadium (via UTA Special Collections).

1905: Early days of local football. In 1905 there were hopes of getting up a “heavyweight team.” Prospects were iffy. (All images are larger when clicked.)

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Dallas Morning News, Sept. 3, 1905

This was at a time when football injuries — and DEATH — were not uncommon.

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DMN, Oct. 13, 1905

1911: The Dallas High School team at Gaston Park (a popular sporting field which is now the site of the Dallas Music Hall at Fair Park). This photo was taken on December 16, 1911 — that day they defeated Fort Worth High, 15-5.

football_dallas-high-school_gaston-park_1911_cook-collection_degolyer-library_SMUGeorge W. Cook Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU

1918: The Love Field eleven was made up of military personnel based at the airfield during World War I. They played other military teams in the area, venturing as far as at least Waco.

football_love-field_camp-team_wwi_cook-collection_degolyer_SMU_1918
George W. Cook Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU

1920s: The “State Fair of Texas” stadium predated the Cotton Bowl. This aerial photo shows what was probably the University of Texas vs. Vanderbilt game, which took place on Oct. 13, 1928 during the State Fair of Texas. (Vanderbilt won, 13-12.)

football_state-fair-of-texas-stadium_UT-vs-vanderbilt_1920s
From “Dallas As a City In Which To Live” booklet, SMU

1920s: The SMU Mustangs took on the University of Missouri Tigers at Ownby Stadium.

football_ownby-oval-smu_SMU-vs-missouri-university_1920s
From “Dallas As a City In Which To Live” booklet, SMU

1932: Speaking of the SMU Mustangs, then-local sports superstar (and Olympics medalist) Babe Didrikson — who was proficient in every single sport she tried — was given the opportunity by SMU coach Ray Morrison to give football the old college try: he coached her in passing and receiving and even allowed her to suit up in an official uniform. She tried out her football moves for the pubic during a scrimmage in Ownby Stadium on September 18, 1932.

One of the most interesting features of the program from a football fan’s standpoint was demonstration of several of the Ponies’ famous scoring plays, in fast and slow motion. Babe Didrikson, Dallas’ famous feminine athlete, took part in the slow motion exercises and proved herself somewhat of a polished gridder — adding more fame to her long list of athletic achievements. (DMN, Sept. 18, 1932)

didrikson-babe_football-SMU_boston-globe_092332        didrikson-babe_football-SMU_pottsville-PA-republican-and-herald_092832
Boston Globe, 9/23/32; Pottsville [PA] Republican, 9/28/32

1933: The stadium which would eventually be named the Cotton Bowl looks a little otherworldly in this Lloyd M. Long aerial photo.

cotton-bowl_fair-park-stadium_lloyd-long_foscue-library_SMU_1933
Edwin J. Foscue Map Library, SMU

1940s: Dal-Hi Stadium (later P. C. Cobb Stadium) was the home field for six Dallas high schools.

dal-hi-stadium_cobb-stadium_postcard

dal-hi-stadium_cobb-stadium_postcard_caption

In December, 1949, Dal-Hi served as the practice field for the University of North Carolina team while in Dallas for the January 2, 1950 Cotton Bowl match against Rice University (which Rice won, 27-13). I like this snapshot — downtown looms like a ghost in the background.

dal-hi-stadium_cobb-stadium_uc-practice-for-cotton-bowl_dec-1949via “Dismal Day in Dallas”

1950s: Dallas had a pro team before the Cowboys — the Dallas Texans. Here’s their ticket office, at 1721 McKinney Avenue. (From the article “Gone and Forgotten, The Dallas Texans of 1952” by Thomas H. Smith, from the Spring, 2005 issue of Legacies.)

football_dallas-texans_ticket-office_legacies_spring-2005
via Legacies

1950s/1960s: Dallas high school football coaches who were all connected at one point (either as players or coaches) with Booker T. Washington High School: the legendary Raymond Hollie (head coach at both Booker T. and Roosevelt), Marion “Jap” Jones, and Sam Briscoe.

football_booker-t-washington_coaches_patton-papers_DHS
John Leslie Patton Papers, Dallas Historical Society

1960s: A quaint Dallas Cowboys locker room.

dallas-cowboys-locker-room_pinterest
via Pinterest

1981: In the tradition of other comic-book heroes appearing in Dallas to save whatever needed saving (here and here), Spider-Man and the Hulk stopped by to help with some football-related issue. The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders appear to have been involved.

football_cowboys_comic_spider-man_hulk_cheerleaders_1981

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Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

“Pickle Brine Ryan” — 1968

baseball_nolan-ryan_pickle-juice_1968_corbisBrining the blisters away….

by Paula Bosse

I give you a 21-year-old Nolan Ryan soaking his pitching finger in pickle juice. As one does.

Years before the future Baseball Hall of Famer made it to DFW, young Nolan was the star pitcher of the New York Mets. He was prone to blisters on the middle finger of his pitching hand, so Mets trainer Gus Mauch put him on a strict pickle juice regimen of soaking the affected finger between innings to toughen the skin and prevent blisters from popping up at inopportune moments. And, of course, this weird pickle juice thing became really big news in May, 1968. Sportswriters jumped all over it, and a few began calling him “Pickle Brine Ryan,” because it sort of rhymes.

The delicatessen where Ryan’s pickle juice of choice was purchased tried to cash in on what they hoped would become a fad by placing jars of the brine in the window with a sign proudly proclaiming that they were the source of the famous “Mets’ Pitching Juice.” According to a UPI story, when another pickle company offered the Mets five gallons of their pickle juice, trainer Mauch responded, “Gosh, you could embalm a whole swimming team with five gallons!”

And the rest, as they say, is history.

pickle-brine-ryan_may-1968

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Photo ©Bettmann/CORBIS, from May 6, 1968; it appeared in newspapers with the following caption:

While teammates relax before a game, using anything handy for a pillow, New York Mets’ pitcher Nolan Ryan (left) soaks his pitching fingers in pickle juice. That’s right — pickle juice! Ryan says the juice toughens his fingers so that he doesn’t get blisters.

I wonder if he kept it up? By the time he got back home to Texas and signed with the Rangers, I’d love to know that he upped his brine game by using pickled jalapeño juice.

An earlier Nolan Ryan-related Flashback Dallas post — “Nolan Ryan’s Celebratory Pancake Breakfast — 1972” — is here.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Dallas Clippers: Early Dallas Baseball

baseball_dallas-clippers_cook-coll_degolyer_smu

by Paula Bosse

The Dallas Clippers were one of the city’s earliest baseball teams — their games were covered in local papers as early as 1888, and they appear to have played through at least 1905.

I’m not sure what’s going on in this photo. Tryouts? Practice? The stances are interesting — the way they’re holding their gloves (especially the catcher) — the gloves themselves. Cool photo. Here are a few details, a little closer up.

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clippers_2

clippers_3

Those gloves are interesting — similar styles can be seen in the Wikipedia entry, here.

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Many early baseball games in Dallas were played at the “base ball park” located in Oak Cliff Park (the park now known as Marsalis Park). A fantastic article on early sports in Dallas (“Gradual Development of the Scope and Popularity of Sports in Texas” — no byline — Dallas Morning News, Oct. 1, 1910) can be read here.)

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Dallas Morning News, Jan. 28, 1888

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DMN, Feb. 3, 1888

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June, 1888

And this interesting little bit of early sports reportage appeared in the pages of the Dallas Herald in 1884, covering both black and white teams:

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Dallas Herald, Aug. 26, 1884

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Sources & Notes

Photo “Dallas Clippers Baseball Team” from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more information on this photo is here.

Click pictures to see larger images.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved

Thanksgiving, 1891: The First Turkey-Day Football Game in Dallas

thanksgiving-card_pinterest_sm

by Paula Bosse

Thanksgiving is a holiday known for eating until you’re full as a tick and football — the highlight for many is the traditional Dallas Cowboys game. But when was the very first Thanksgiving Day football game played in Dallas? 125 years ago — in 1891. It was played on November 26, 1891 in Oak Cliff (…which wasn’t strictly part of Dallas at the time, but… yeah, 1891). The game was between teams from Dallas and Fort Worth, teams which had been organized only a few months previously. The sport of “rugby football” had been gaining popularity around the United States, particularly as a college sport. One of the biggest games of the young sport was the university game played on Thanksgiving Day. In 1891, the Yale-Princeton Thanksgiving game was played in New York before thousands and thousands of spectators. Yale won that year, 19-0 (see the exciting illustration below in which helmets for players are non-existent, but a man who appears to be the referee is wearing a stylish bowler hat). (Click for larger image.)

thanksgiving__football_yale-princeton_1891_lost-century

This Ivy League game was almost more of a society event than a sporting event. To get a feel for the atmosphere of these university games, read this really great contemporary article — “The Man of Fashion, We Observe Thanksgiving Day with Great Eclat” by Albert Edward Tyrrell — on the fashions and behavior of these generally well-heeled crowds (it also contains an interesting look at how Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1891, by the swells as well as the non-swells). My favorite piece of minutiae was that young ladies were not above sneaking flasks of liquor into games, hidden in their fashionable hand-warmers. I give you “the loaded muff”:

football_thanksgiving_loaded-muff_dmn112291

But I digress. However much those early Texas football enthusiasts might have hoped for similar large, flask-sipping crowds, the first Thanksgiving football game held in Dallas (and possibly in Texas) attracted a smaller crowd of hundreds rather than thousands (including “about 100 ladies”). Though the crowd was miniscule compared to the one up in New York that day, it did not lack in boisterousness and excited appreciation.

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Dallas Morning News, Nov. 25, 1891

Dallas and Fort Worth had met twice before their matchup in Oak Cliff — both times with Dallas emerging victorious, and … not to be too anti-climactic, but the big inaugural Thanksgiving Day game on November 26, 1891 resulted in another Dallas win (24-11). (This shouldn’t be too surprising, seeing as the overwhelming majority of the players on the Dallas team of 15 grew up playing rugby in rugby-playing countries: 7 were British and 5 were Canadian —  only 3 were native-born Americans. Still. Whatever it takes.) (The dullish play-by-play of the game can be read  below.)

So what else was going on in Dallas in the Thanksgiving season of 1891? Here are a few morsels.

Men might have contemplated getting a new $12.50 suit from M. Benedikt & Co. (a suit which would cost about $335.00 today) — especially after seeing this eye-catching Uncle-Sam-riding-a-(scrawny)-turkey ad. (Click pictures to see larger images.)

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DMN, Nov. 21, 1891

Ladies were kept up-to-date on the millinery, dress, and hairstyle fashions of the season by reading newspaper articles such as “What Is Really Worn, The Fashions That Find Favor at Thanksgiving” (which can be read here).

thanksgiving_milinery_dmn_112291
DMN, Nov. 22, 1891

And stores that sold cookware, bakeware, and china took out ads to inform Dallasites that they really needed some new items in order to properly prepare for the big day — one’s guests shouldn’t be forced to be served a feast from tacky serving dishes or eat from chipped plates.

ad-thanksgiving_dmn_112591
DMN, Nov. 25, 1891

If one wasn’t spending Thanksgiving Day attending one of the city’s many church services, feeding the children at the Buckner Orphans Home, feeding one’s guests and one’s family, visiting friends, or trekking over to Oak Cliff to see that football game, he or she might have considered attending a matinee at the Dallas Opera House — Maude Granger (“The Peerless Emotional Actress”) was back in town and raring to emote.

thanksgiving_theater_dmn_112491
DMN, Nov. 24, 1891

Almost everyone had the day off from work, but, oddly enough, most postal workers had to work at least part of the day. Neither rain nor sleet nor tender turkey breasts and cranberry sauce stayed those couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds, I guess.

thanksgiving_post-office_dmn_112591
DMN, Nov. 25, 1891

At least no one was dreading/eagerly anticipating Black Friday back in ’91.

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Back to football. First, a friendly D-FW practice run before the Big Game.

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DMN, Nov. 14, 1891

The pre-game article.

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DMN, Nov. 25, 1891

The post-game article.

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DMN, Nov. 27, 1891

And an article from a proud Canadian newspaper, boasting of the number of Queen Victoria’s faithful subjects playing for the Dallas team.

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The Manitoba Free Press, Dec. 11, 1891

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Sources & Notes

Thanksgiving card found on Pinterest.

Illustration of the 1891 Yale-Princeton game is from the Lost Century of Sports website, here. (I’m not really a sports fan, but if I were, this website of 19th-century sports might be one of my favorites!)

For more on how Thanksgiving finally came to be celebrated in Texas in 1874 (it took a long time for the Southern states to agree to celebrate what many thought was a “Yankee abolitionist holiday”), see my post “Encouraging Dallasites to Observe Thanksgiving — 1874,” here.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Most pictures and clippings larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Bowling In the Sky — 1964

bowling_american-airlines_encylopedia-britannica-yrbk_jan-1964Sylvia Wene battles Dick Weber and turbulence… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

It’s a bowling alley. …In an airplane.

As publicity stunts go, this one was pretty good. It even had a cutesy name: Operation AstroBowl. American Airlines wanted to promote their great big Boeing 707 cargo planes, so someone came up with the idea of putting a bowling alley in one of them. Happily, a company that manufactured bowling alley equipment — American Machine and Foundry (AMF) — was keen to jump on the promotion bandwagon. They installed the regulation 79-foot lane — complete with automatic pin-setting equipment and gutters — in one of the American Airlines jet freighters. It took 4 days. Looking at the photos, it resembled a very large MRI tube.

Since they had the lane and the equipment in there, they pretty much had to get a couple of champion players on board to bowl a few mid-air frames. As luck would have it, the National All-Star Tournament (aka “The World Series of Bowling”) was — hey! — to be held in Dallas at Fair Park Coliseum a week after the stunt. Serendipity! Champions Dick Weber and Sylvia Wene were roped in to play a 5-mile-high game in the sky.

So much to promote!

Operation AstroBowl took place on January 6, 1964 at cruising altitude between New York’s Kennedy International Airport and Love Field. Sylvia won. Barely. But this story made it into countless newspapers across the country the following day, so, really, it was the publicists who won. Drinks, I’m sure, were on them.

bowling_american-airlines_AP-story_010764-photo_dick-weberDick Weber bowling at 500 miles an hour


bowling_american-airlines_AP-story_010764
AP story which appeared all over the country, Jan. 7, 1964

bowling_american-airlines_weber_wene_ap-wire_010764

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Sources & Notes

Top photo appeared in the Encyclopedia Britannica Yearbook and was brought to my attention by Steve Dirkx (thanks, Steve!).

Story and photos by the Associated Press.

If you’re on Facebook, a tiny bit of film footage can we watched here.

Hold the presses! I’ve been translated! Check out this bowling post in Portuguese (!), on a Brazilian bowling site, here.

All images larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Blackie Sherrod: “The Most Plagiarized Man in Texas” — 1919-2016

blackie-sherrod_dmn-video

by Paula Bosse

Legendary sportswriter Blackie Sherrod died yesterday at the age of 96. My father was not a follower of sports, but I remember he read Blackie Sherrod’s columns because, along with other great, larger-than-life, and exceptionally talented DFW sportswriters such as Bud Shrake, Dan Jenkins, and Gary Cartwright, Blackie was — for want of a better word — a “literary” journalist whose style transcended his subject matter. His writing appealed to everyone who enjoyed and appreciated well-written and caustically funny forays into, around, over, and under the world of sports. Sports fans — and other sportswriters — loved the guy. And so did everyone else.

In the December 1975 issue of Texas Monthly, Larry L. King (forever known as the man who made more money from the best little whorehouse in Texas than any of the girls who plied their trade there) wrote a fantastic profile of Blackie (“The Best Sportswriter in Texas”), in which he described Blackie Sherrod as being “the most plagiarized man in Texas.” Sportswriters around the state routinely stole all of Blackie’s best lines and inserted them, unattributed, into their own columns. King himself admits he was one of the worst offenders. The lengthy profile is great. Great. Read it here.

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Sources & Notes

Watch a Dallas Morning News-produced video tribute to Blackie Sherrod from 2013.

The Dallas Morning News obituary — “Legendary News Sportswriter Blackie Sherrod Dies at 96” — written by Kevin Sherrington, is here.

Several of Blackie’s Sherrod’s books can be purchased online, here.

Moments after I posted yesterday’s photo of the Dallas Times Herald lobby, I read that Blackie had died. He must have walked through that lobby thousands of times. That was an odd bit of synchronicity.

Thanks, Blackie.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

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