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Frank Deford

Frank Deford is dead at 78. He was “Sports Writer of the Year” 6 times. This will be bad news for some folks who got sports information from Frank Deford.

It will be worse news, though, for folks who appreciate great writing. I have absolutely no interest in sports coverage or sports writing – unless the writing does what we like to think that sports does – bring out the best in us.

Frank Deford from Wikimedia Commons

No doubt there are folks who love sports and love great waiting too and they will have different favorites from me.

My favorite commentaries, since I am a sports skeptic, were the ones where he took on the persona of the “sports curmudgeon”. Those pieces weren’t angry or mean, just insightful.

On one occasion, Frank Deford suggested that hockey should stay in Canada. This seemed a bit too much anti-sports even to me at the time, but who is to say whether the subsequent descent of American politics into brawling wasn’t inspired by professional hockey?

I hope for you, Frank Deford, that your literary heir is smart enough to gather those beautiful essays into a book and find a publisher.

Goodbye and thank you Sir; You will not be forgotten while I live.


John Buffington

May 29, 2017