When I first dove into the field of journalism some 31 years ago, one of the first lessons I was taught was this: Once the paper was put to bed at night, always check the wire one last time.
Because Ted Williams might have died.
Growing up, both personally and professionally, in the heart of Red Sox Nation that would have been a “stop the presses” moment.
I was living in New Hampshire in the summer of 2002 when Ted Williams finally passed away. It was morning when I found out as I was driving to get my morning coffee and I heard the news on WEEI, which is simply the greatest all-sports talk radio station in the world.
But I digress.
After Ted’s passing, I still checked the wire, but I didn’t really know who I was looking for. It had become habit, I suppose. One last final look at the day’s world of sports.
When I relocated to Fairfield County, Connecticut, which for all intents and purposes is a bedroom community of New York City, I had my legend once again.
Yogi Berra of the New York Yankees.
And every night, one last check of the wire would be making sure that Yogi didn’t pass away. Or, if the paper was wrapped up before deadline and the staff went home early they went home knowing that if Yogi passed away when we had hours ahead of us, it was playing with fire.
This morning I woke up to the news that Yogi had passed away at the age of 90. The news didn’t break until two in the morning, more than three hours after our deadline had passed.
But, in honor of Yogi, I think it’s fair to say the region where I now work has lost a living legend.
Who’s next? Who knows.
I’ll be checking the wire every night (but let’s face it, Twitter is going to have everything before the Associated Press, so why I am even checking? … Like I said, habit), hoping I don’t see the name that comes to my mind.
Muhammed Ali, if you’re out there — live long and prosper, champ.