Edwin Pope, that is. The guy has been writing sports copy for the Miami Herald for a half an m-fing century. Covered 41 Super Bowls, 40 Kentucky Derbys, 18 Wimbledons, a total of eight Olympics (including summer and winter), and wrote 12,564 stories containing about 10,051,200 words.
At least that's what Armando Salguero reports in his entertaining article on the columnist. I have no idea how he came up with those last two facts, but it makes for interesting reading. What comes through most from the story is that Pope is one of those people that seems to have been molded in the womb to work for newspapers, who have ink running through their veins. What also comes through is that Pope has his priorities straight: He drinks the best beer in the world, Heineken, and knows the greatest game of all is football. That alone recommends the guy.
(Dan Le Batard also wrote a tribute to Pope in this morning's newspaper, one that, oddly, nauseated me to the point that I had to click the thing off before I fell
out of my chair. Read it here if you dare).
On the downside of Pope, Salguero writes that he "does not use the pen as a sword very often and cannot recollect ever calling for anyone's firing."
Pity, Pope might have helped save us a year of Wannstedt.
Salguero doesn't tackle Pope's quirky writing style much. I remember a colleague once commenting that he wasn't sure what Pope wrote, but it wasn't quite English. Here's an example of a lede he wrote in 1993 that baffled all comers:
"Mickey Mantle grinned that slow grin, the same kind a screen ape grinned, before he hit 536 home runs and made 20 American League all-star teams.
No offense to baseball's mightiest Mick. So-called screen apes were idolized in northeast Oklahoma, where Mantle grew into one in the same mine his father worked. Screen apes were the only miners who could handle 16-pound sledgehammers and break rocks into small enough pieces to go through screens."
Don't know much about screen apes, but Pope has always had good horse sense. And that came through in his work. I think that, along with his dry humor, is the secret to his success. That and the fact that he was just born to the trade like nobody else on the planet.
Here's to another million words, Mr. Pope.
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