CHARLOTTE, NC: One of my favorite writers was a man named Jim Murray. Anyone under the age of 60 or 65 has probably never heard of him, but for over three decades Murray was the premiere LA Times sportswriter.
No one in sports has ever been better at a ready quip or turning a phrase than Jim Murray.
The LA Times Sportswriter Jim Murray
In 1978, Murray was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame. Today it is known as the National Sports Media Association (NSMA). During the 12-year span from 1966 to 1977, Murray was named National Sportswriter of the Year.
In 1990, he won a Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for his 1989 columns. In 1990, at a banquet in Beverly Hills to honor his winning the Pulitzer Prize, Murray smiled and said with typical Murray-esque style,
“I never thought you could win a Pulitzer just for quoting Tommy Lasorda correctly.”
What do Jim Murray, Father’s Day and ALS share as a common denominator?
Not all, but most, fathers are interested in sports to some degree or another. Murray was a “Renaissance man of sport” because he had a way of writing about the humor of the games people play in terms for which even non-sports fans could relate.
As a lover of quotes, kindly allow me to share some of Jim Murray’s most delicious phrases and some of his best insights:
- “Show me a man who is a good loser and I’ll show you a man who is playing golf with his boss.”
- “For those who know golf, no explanation is necessary. For those who don’t, no explanation is possible.”
- “Any guy who would pass up a chance to see Sam Snead play golf would pull the shades driving past the Taj Mahal.”
- “Golf without mistakes is like watching haircuts.”
- “Actually, the only time I ever took out a one-iron was to kill a tarantula…and it took a 7 to do that.”
- “Don Quixote would understand golf. It is the impossible dream.”
- Frank Bruno has a chin of such pure Waterford crystal; it gives rise to the old adage that people who live in glass jaws shouldn’t throw punches. The biggest danger in fighting Bruno is that you might get hit by flying glass.”
- “When Mike Tyson gets mad, you don’t need a referee, you need a priest.”
- “I’d like to borrow (Cassius) Clay’s body for 48 hours. There are three guys I’d like to beat up and four women I’d like to make love to.”
- (On Sonny Liston vs Cassius Clay): “One hundred and eighty million people will be rooting for a double knockout.”
Basketball:“Giving Magic the basketball is like giving Hitler an army, Jesse James a gang or Genghis Khan a horse.”
- “Gentlemen, start your coffins!”
- “Baseball is a game where a curve is an optical illusion, a screwball can be a pitch or a person, stealing is legal and you can spit anywhere you like except in the umpire’s eye or on the ball.”
- “Willie Mays’ glove is where triples go to die.”
- “Sandy Koufax’s fastball was so fast, some batters started to swing while he was on his way to the mound.”
- “The only trouble with Spokane is that there’s nothing to do there after 10 o’clock in the morning.”
- “They still haven’t fixed the freeway. It’s Kentucky’s turn to use the cement mixer.”
- “Its principal export is soot.”
- “Baltimore is a great place if you’re a crab.”
Golf resort in Brookline, Massachusetts:
- “I won’t say this place is stuffy, but if you ever want to play here, bring your monocle.”
- “Merlin Olsen went swimming in Loch Ness and the monster got out.”
And so it went. There were hundreds upon hundreds more. Each column was a gem that left readers with a smile on their faces.
Jim Murray was unique…one of a kind.
As for the link to ALS, toward the end, Jim Murray continued to write even though he was blind when he died. In fact, Murray wrote a column the night before he passed away.
Murray’s blindness did not stop him, however, nor did it diminish his marvelous perspectives on the world and sports. He never lost his sense of humor and, he shared it daily with anyone who read his stories looking for something to make their day a little brighter.
Jim Murray died in 1998 at the age of 89 doing what he loved to do best, writing.
Jim Murray and Father’s Day
And so on this Father’s Day, a day in which we celebrate dad’s and their love of little boys games and competition, a day where sports are frequently a passion and a day when beating the odds are all just part of the system, we thank people like Jim Murray who always reminded us that life is, indeed, an adventure to be savored.
Be it blindness, ALS or any other mysterious debilitating condition, never forget to enjoy each day as it comes. Jim Murray did and he made us look at the world from a different perspective.
Jim Murray may have been blind, but he was truly a man of vision. At the time of his death, he was survived by his second wife, three children, two grandaughters and a stepson.
Happy Father’s Day Mr. Murray.
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
Editors Note: Support Bob’s GoFundMe to give him a hand up