Archive for November 1st, 2008

Remembering Studs Terkel

Is there a better name in writing than Studs Terkel? Is there any day sadder than yesterday when Terkel passed away at the age of 96?

If you don’t know Louis “Studs” Terkel or aren’t familiar with his work, now is the time to get to know the 1985 Pulitzer Prize-winner who will be largely remembered for his amazing oral histories. That’s the Studs Terkel I’m eager to get to know more myself.

To me, Studs Terkel was – and will always be – the old sportswriter from the movie, Eight Men Out. It’s one of the best sports movies of all-time.

In the 1988 flick, Terkel portrayed Hugh Fullerton (who discovered Ring Lardner), the Chicago newspaperman who revealed the 1919 “Black Sox” Scandel and plans to throw the World Series by the Chicago White Sox against the Cincinnati Reds. Fullerton’s whistle blowing changed professional baseball forever. Something tells me Shoeless Joe Jackson would agree.

You ESPN faithful will remember Terkel for his cameos on SportsCentury highlighting the lives of Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis and Babe Ruth. He also contributed to Ken Burn’s documentary on Jack Johnson, Unforgiveable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson.

Sports – like for so many of us – was in Terkel’s blood. But life was in his writing. Studs was all about telling a story. It was about the people. It was about getting to know someone and then telling others their tale – their joys, their hardships. That’s real writing.

That’s a story. That’s our story.

“People are hungry for stories. It’s part of our very being,” Terkel once said.

“Storytelling is a form of history, of immortality too. It goes from one generation to another.”

pic via: ryanssmashinglife


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