“For when the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name/He marks, not that you won or lost, but how you played the game.”
The words of Grantland Rice echoed thoughout his time, and will continue to resonate for as long as sport is played. Rice was the most prolific and influential sports journalist in history. From his beginnings in Nashville in 1901 to his nearly forty years as a syndicated columnist, magazine writer, radio host and confidante to athlete and team owner alike, Rice painted golden word pictures of Golden Age athletes like Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey, Bobby Jones, Red Grange and the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame. America came to see its athletes as mythic heroes and its athletic contests tinged with poetry and gallantry because that was how Grantland Rice portrayed them.
Rice’s life story is the story of American sport’s rise in the first half of the twentieth century. From Christie Mathewson and Jack Johnson to Willie Mays and Rocky Marciano, Rice knew and wrote about them all, alongside a hall-of-fame pressbox that included the likes of Ring Lardner, Heywood Broun, Damon Runyon, and Red Smith. “Grantland Rice is the greatest man I have known,” wrote his great friend Red Smith, “the greatest talent, the greatest gentleman.”