death of Furman Bisher, longtime journalist with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
While I didn't follow Bisher due to his coverage of the Triple Crown (he covered the Derby up until Street Sense's 2007 win), I remember him as a columnist in The Sporting News (TSN) as a child. My grandfather purchased my first subscription for my 10th birthday (the ones with the newspaper print int the enlongated sizing like the current Thoroughbred Times). He covered baseball in TSN and I was an avid fan of MLB back in my younger days. RIP.
I started thinking about the great old time sportswriters that I loved to read as a young boy enamored with sports. One, who quickly came to mind was the LA Times' Jim Murray. My mother used to leave the Post-Standard Sports page at my spot at the breakfast table every morning before I came down for breakfast. My Cheerios or Wheaties would always taste better if one of Murray's syndicated columns happened to grace the front page of the P-S. So while I was researching some of Bisher's old work last night, I decided to look for some old Murray columns. I knew he wrote quite a bit about horse racing and indeed I found some quality stuff at Brad's Big Race Analysis page devoted to Murray.
His article on a young Bob Baffert was especially intriguing, as was his last official article for the LA Times before his passing in 1998 about the Pacific Classic. While I don't remember exactly his articles about horse racing as a young boy, I do remember the article when he lost his eyesight in one eye in 1979, my sophomore year in high school. If you can spare a few minutes, the man could wax poetic and it's worth the time to read.
From there I decided I'd search for some old Bob Summers articles. Bob, who passed away in September 2010, was the lead racing writer for The Buffalo News and known as the Happy Handicapper around these parts. I've had the daunting privilege of trying to fill the void in The News since his untimely passing and it surely hasn't been an easy task. I discovered an excellent article he wrote for The Blood-horse Magazine about The Joys of the Big A, expanding on his memories of Aqueduct Race Track. That piece was some excellent work, I particularly enjoyed his memories of the subway ride to the track, the meeting spot at the fire hydrant and the horses he was so fortunate to witness.
They don't make 'em like these fellahs anymore, but it sure does make one strive to do your best and have impact in the things you write. Sometimes I feel like mailing it in because I'm tired or pressed for time, but after reading some of the excellent work that gentlemen like the ones I've mentioned above, it makes it easier to select the road less traveled by.