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Heavyweight Championship of the Word
Jeff MacGregor
September 25, 2000
In an era when America's great sportswriters were as big as the athletes they covered, W.C. Heinz may have been the best of the bunch
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September 25, 2000

Heavyweight Championship Of The Word

In an era when America's great sportswriters were as big as the athletes they covered, W.C. Heinz may have been the best of the bunch

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"I think," one of them said, "that the worst writing that appears on the sports pages is done during the football season."

"No," Harry said. "Don't forget the baseball training camps."

"You win," the other said.

"As for myself," Harry said, "I will read an account of a football game until I come to the word 'out-statisticked.' Then I quit."

"Well," somebody else said, "sports have contributed new words to the English language."

"Like 'decisioned'?" Harry said.

"I can give you another," another said.

"Once we had a hockey story and the man writing it was trying to say that the Stanley Cup is emblematic or symbolic or something of the hockey championship. So he used the word 'emblastic.' I like that."

"I like it, too."
—THE SUN, 1949

The newspaper business was changing after the war. Undermined by television and declining circulation, the Sun was one of the first papers to fold in what would become a decades-long series of desperate press mergers and foreclosures. It disappeared from newsstands on Jan. 3, 1950. Heinz got the news from a friend as he walked through Grand Central Terminal. He was offered star columns in other papers, but he wanted to do longer pieces. No more would he say to Betty on New Year's Eve, "Well, I have to write 250 columns again before this time next year."

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