Jim Murray never had to claim he was the greatest sportswriter of them all. Others did it for him. He was named national sportswriter of the year 14 times, including 12 years in a row. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary. Perhaps most impressive, he did everything without ego or pretension.
"In press boxes Murray would mumble and fuss that he had no angle, sigh heavily and then, when he had finished his column, no matter how good it was, he would always slide back in his chair and say, 'Well, fooled 'em again,' " Rick Reilly wrote in a 1986 Sports Illustrated profile of Murray titled "King of the Sports Page."
Murray was the undisputed king. And it’s not even close. He was Rocky Marciano in a ring, Bobby Fischer at the U.S. Chess Championship, Wilt Chamberlain scoring 100, Secretariat at the Belmont, Bo Jackson on Monday night, Tiger Woods at Augusta and the 2017 Golden State Warriors. All rolled into one prolific, profound sportswriter.
Murray had a 55-year career in journalism that started as a police and federal beat reporter at the New Haven (Connecticut) Register in 1943 and ended as a Los Angeles Times sports columnist in 1998. Along the way, he worked as a general assignment and rewrite man at the Los Angeles Examiner, covered Hollywood for Time Magazine, launched Sports Illustrated and was one of SI’s original writers.
Starting in 1961, Jim Murray wrote four columns a week, every week, for 27 years at the Los Angeles Times. His columns were nationally syndicated in more than 150 newspapers. He was a man of his words. We collected some for you to read.