Books | Sports

February 5, 2008

'All You Have To Do Is Open a Vein'

Red Smith and his biographer, fellow sportswriter Ira Berkow, shared that unique mix of joy and dread when a deadline was approaching.

Carl Bialik

There may never be another Red Smith. Today when sportswriters become famous, they sign with ESPN, become brands unto themselves, and stop writing. Smith, a columnist for several papers including the New York Herald Tribune and New York Times before his death, was read by Bing Crosby, Robert Frost, and Ernest Hemingway. His name was on billboards around New York City, alongside a testimonial from a boxing champ. And yet he kept writing up to six columns a week, tapping out his final piece five days before his death, in 1982, at age 76.

Post a comment

Comment Rules

The following HTML is allowed in comments:
Bold: <b>Text</b>
Italic: <i>Text</i>
<a href="URL">Text</a>


- Sports
- posted on Apr 27, 08
Jeff Siegel

How can I get in touch with Ira Berkow. My name is Jeff Siegel I went to Sullivan High School in Chicago 68-72 and Pitched with Dewey Robinson he was Number 1 and I was number 2.
I am also writing a book and have read full swing recomended by another Jewish writter Named Huey Freeman who is alos from Chicago.
I am moving to NY City in November and I would like to get in touch with Ira Berkow. My phone number is 678-595-1931 and my e-mail is
Jeff Siegel

- Sports
- posted on Feb 21, 10
Bill Casteel

Am I wrong or did Mr. Smith make the statement that "writing isn't fun; having written is fun?" If not, to whom should that quote be attributed? Thanks.

Article by Carl Bialik

Contact this author