The Reds are honoring Hall of Fame beat writer Hal McCoy (right) prior to tonight's game in Great American Ballpark, even letting him throw out the first pitch. You may not know him in Buffalo but he's a legend in our business. McCoy is retiring following the season after 37 years with the Dayton Daily News (truth be told, his cheap paper decided to stop covering the Reds even though they're only 45 minutes away but that's another issue for another time).
Here's a terrific tribute from Dayton columnist Tom Archdeacon (a good friend of Sully's by the way).
I love McCoy's blog, which is filled with from-the-heart stories every day. Bear with me. If you appreciate writing as a craft, take a few minutes and check out some of these McCoy links:
Here's what he thinks about tonight's ceremonies in his honor and what other teams have done. It's widely known among baseball writers that McCoy was quitting in 2003 because of eye trouble until Aaron Boone had a heart-to-heart with him in the Reds' clubhouse during spring training. So McCoy was particularly warmed by Boone's return from heart surgery, as he wrote Monday.
He can be hysterical, like he is here ripping the Reds for playing a split DH last month against the Pirates. ("There are perhaps 250 fans in the stands. There were more people in the Media Dining Room this morning. I’ve seen more people in a bar at 10 a.m.").
He can tear at your heart, as he did in announcing his departure ("the hammer fell today and it hurts like hell."). Bud Selig was so moved he made sure McCoy stopped in his office during a trip to Milwaukee.
But you want to read some beautiful writing? Check out McCoy's post Sunday as he prepared to walk out of Wrigley Field for the last time. We all should strive to paint a picture with words like this.
I have never actually talked to McCoy but I've always respected his work. I've seen him, of course, in the crush of media at countless All-Star Games and World Series. But I plan on shaking his hand if he's at the Fall Classic this year. I'm sure I won't be alone.
---Dayton Daily News photo: McCoy in the Cincinnati press box