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Monday, June 22, 2015

Photos: W. C. Heinz, Ring Lardner, Red Smith join “Mount Rushmore of sportswriters” at Fenway Park

The ceremony for the PEN New England Sports Writing Hall of Fame
at Fenway Park in Boston on Monday, June 15, 2015.
© 2015 Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox

Three Library of America authors were honored on the field at Boston’s Fenway Park on Monday night, June 15, as part of a pre-game public ceremony for the new Sports Writing Hall of Fame sponsored by PEN New England. W. C. Heinz, Ring Lardner, and Red Smith were inducted along with Grantland Rice—forming an inaugural group of honorees that Karen Wulf, executive director of PEN New England, aptly characterized as “the Mount Rushmore of sportswriters.”

W. C. Heinz’s daughter Gayl Heinz was on hand for the ceremony, representing both her late father and Red Smith, the latter at the request of members of Smith’s family. Gayl Heinz later told The Library of America, “I know how hard Dad worked to get it right, and it is so gratifying to know that his work has not only passed the test of time but has risen to the top. I am deeply honored and proud to represent him and his writings.”

The Library of America published The Top of His Game: The Best Sportswriting of W. C. Heinz earlier this spring, and released American Pastimes: The Very Best of Red Smith in 2013. Lardner is represented by the volume Stories and Other Writings, which includes “Tyrus,” about Ty Cobb, and You Know Me Al, his celebrated baseball novel from 1916. (Vintage editions of You Know Me Al are on display at the Sports Writing Hall of Fame—see photo, below.) All three writers also appear in the LOA collection Baseball: A Literary Anthology.

Now established in the Press Room at Fenway Park, the Sports Writing Hall of Fame honors writers who have made lasting contributions to sports literature. The Hall is a collaboration among PEN New England (the local chapter of PEN American Center), the Boston Red Sox, and Kurt Cerulli, the founder and chief executive of the financial services firm Cerulli Associates who is also a noted collector of sports memorabilia. With his wife Mary, Cerulli also founded PEN New England’s Cerulli Award for Excellence in Sports Writing in 2012.

Meanwhile, for those keeping score, after the Sports Writing Hall of Fame ceremony the Boston Red Sox fell to the Atlanta Braves, 4-2, for their seventh loss in a row, on a damp, chilly night at Fenway. Readers can speculate as to whether any Boston fans consoled themselves that night by imagining how Heinz, Lardner, or Smith would have captured the scene in print.

Inductees Red Smith and W. C. Heinz, shown here
on a monitor at the reception for the PEN New England
Sports Writing Hall of Fame at Fenway Park on June 15, 2015.
© PEN New England

Library of America volumes at the reception for the
PEN New England Sports Writing Hall of Fame.
© 2015 Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox

Gayl Heinz with the Library of America collection
of her father's sportswriting.
© PEN New England

A Sports Writing Hall of Fame display case with books, photos,
and memorabilia related to the four inductees.
© PEN New England

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