Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith

We at the BoFN love names with alliteration. Say it with me. Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith.

While Smith is not a funny name, add a color and you get a whole lot more.

Let’s get the ball rolling. What’s black and white and red all over? The newspaper. Bah dump bump.

There was a time when sports reporter Red Smith was read all over. 275 newspapers in this country and 225 newspapers in other countries around the world.

Young Red grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Not to be confused with Red Green, who is a fictional person played by Steve Smith.

Red graduated from Green Bay East High School in 1923. The original home of the Green Bay Packers until 1957. (Go Packers).

Lambeau Field before the fated Packers vs Bears game. Okay, I needed a picture.

Current home of the Packers. Lambeau Field before the fated Packers vs Bears game, November 4, 2013. Okay, I needed a picture and my better half was there.

He graduated from Notre Dame University in 1927. Possibly leading to a life of sports reporting, but that’s only an assumption.

After graduation, he wrote to 100 newspapers asking for a job. The Milwaukee Sentinel drafted him as a reporter. From there he traded jobs to become a sports reporter for the St. Louis Journal, developing his humorous yet literate writing style. And like Harry “Suit Case” Simpson, traded jobs once again for the Philadelphia Record. Next stop, the New York Herald Tribune for 18 years until it folded.

He freelanced or a free agented if you will . . . not to be confused with a secret agent. But I digress.

By 1971 he was picked up by the New York Times. While reporting for the NYT on baseball, football, boxing and horse racing, he picked up a few awards.

A heavy-weight in sports reporting, he was the second sports reporter to earn a Pulitzer Prize. Now that’s some hat trick.

He hit it out of the park with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame. With no holds bar, the Associated Press got in on the deal and awarded him the first ever Red Smith Award for “outstanding contributions to sports journalism.” Perhaps that one was a slam-dunk.

Because there are no photos of Red in the public domain, here’s a link to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Smith is best known for his quote, “Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed”. We know it better as bleeding on the page.

Smith went the distance. Until he announced on January 11, 1982 he would cut his columns down to three days a week—at age 76—four days later, he went down for the count.

Tracy – Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom

About Fannie Cranium

Writing since she could first hold a pen, Tracy Perkins formed her alter ego, "Fannie Cranium" at the suggestion of her husband. Tracy understands smiling makes people wonder what she’s been up to.
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22 Responses to Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith

  1. ksbeth says:

    he red. he write. ?

  2. Reblogged this on Fannie Cranium's and commented:

    This month’s contribution to the Blog of Funny Names. Sports writer, Red Smith.

  3. Arto says:

    Awards called J.G. Taylor Spink Award are what everyone is aspiring towards. What a prize!

    Red rocked, as they say. Not to be confused with Red Rock, which is a casino. Probably as good a place to watch sports and bleed as any.

  4. Dave says:

    Wow, I’ve never heard of the fella. Awesome research, and he seems like a cool guy. Always a plus when you end it with a boxing reference!!

  5. markbialczak says:

    Red Smith was revered by we ink-stained wretches, Tracy. In 1979, just several months out of the U of Maryland, I got a gig running copy at Baltimore Memorial Stadium during the World Series between the Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates. The national writers would hold up a page of their story, and we young ‘uns hired for the purpose would take it out of their hands and send it to their paper via Telecopier. Red Smith was one of the scribes. I saw no blood on his forehead as I collected his copy and ran to the first-edition fax machine to hustle it to the New York Times. He was gracious to me, too!

  6. wdydfae says:

    Wow, the blurb generator goes a little weird when you input “sports” “alliteration” “W” and “writer.” But for what it’s worth:

    “. . . like a whizzing whirlybird, Fannie whallops those words like it’s Wimbledon . . .”

    ” . . . one wandering sportswriting wordsmith, and one winning BoFN thumbnail! Wonderful! . . .”

    ” . . . Fannie revs up that wicket for a wild, whooping wind-up . . .”

    Look, I’m just punching it in, OK? I’m not responsible for what comes out.

    • I love it. 🙂

      My monitor may not have loved it as much as I did. It ended up wearing a little bit of my favorite morning beverage. Beverage aside, the blurb generator has a wonderful way with words.

  7. kerbey says:

    Mark already had the 411 on him, huh? HOW CAN THERE BE NO PICTURES OF SOMEONE? I am going to go on the hunt for Red October (Smith). There has to be one. I need to know if he was redheaded!!

    Also, it just now occurred to me that (like J.Lo) your abbreviated name would be FanC. Like Fancy. Surely you knew that. Suddenly you are a Reba McEntyre song.

  8. Dave says:

    I like Red’s BMI more than the other one. Body Mass Index is often a bunch of gobbledygook anyway. I suppose it’s decent as a general indicator (if your BMI is 22, there’s a very very good chance you’re healthier than someone with a BMI of 40), and perhaps a good marker of progress (if your BMI goes from 38 to 34, you’re probably getting healthier) but the cutoffs of overweight at 25 and obese at 30 are pretty arbitrary.

    Anyone who disagrees can have a discussion with Sergio Martinez, who often fought at an “overweight” BMI of 25 while looking like this:

  9. Pingback: Lorne Greene | The Blog of Funny Names

  10. Pingback: Redd Foxx | The Blog of Funny Names

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