|Covered all the bases for more than 40 years|
Maury Allen '52
Class of 1952
Maury Allen was one of the most prolific sportswriters to take a seat inside a press box. He covered sports for the New York Post for 27 years, then wrote for The Journal News, a newspaper in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam Counties for the next 12 years, and he contributed articles to a web site, Thecolumnists.com, until his death on Oct. 3, 2010 at the age of 78. He was a former chairman of the New York Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America and editor of its national journal. For a while he had a radio program and he was the go-to guy when someone needed a talking head for a sports documentary. While doing all that, Allen managed to turn out more than three dozen books, most of them about baseball. Although he carried a torch for the Brooklyn Dodgers long after they decamped for California, many of his books were about members of the New York Yankees, including Casey Stengel, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Billy Martin, Reggie Jackson, Ron Guidry and Lou Piniella, and, in 2004, “All Roads Lead to October: Boss Steinbrenner’s 25-Year Reign Over the New York Yankees.” He did not, however, neglect his beloved Dodgers. In 2005, Allen wrote “Brooklyn Remembered: The 1955 Days of the Dodgers.” He also wrote “Jackie Robinson: A Life Remembered” and was a contributor to “The Jackie Robinson Reader: Perspectives on an American Hero.”
|Allen (top right) with clockwise: baseball greats Tom Seaver, Casey Stengel and Gil Hodges, circa 1970|
During his career of more than half a century reporting on America’s games, Allen was inducted into numerous “halls of fame” in addition to this one: the Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Fame, the Westchester County Sports Hall of Fame and the Jewish American Sports Hall of Fame. In addition, he won the national Best Sports Stories award in eight different years. From 2000 to 2002, he was president of the Society of the Silurians, an organization of veteran journalists, and in 2008, he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by that group, an honor previously bestowed on such fellow City College alumni as Richard F. Shepard, A.M. Rosenthal and A.H. Raskin. In 2011, he was posthumously awarded a Townsend Harris Medal by the College.
Allen was born in Brooklyn on May 2, 1932. He went to James Madison High School prior to entering City College, where he played on the last football team in the school’s existence and wrote sports for The Campus. He continued writing while serving with the Army in Japan and South Korea, reporting for The Pacific Stars and Stripes. He worked for some small newspapers in Indiana and Pennsylvania before returning to New York in 1959, when he was hired by Sports Illustrated. Two years later, preferring the faster-paced world of a daily publication, he joined The Post, where he covered everything from the World Series, the Super Bowl and college basketball’s NCAA tournament to Wimbledon tennis, Olympic track and field, and even, he once said, a hot game of tiddlywinks.
Allen, a natural storyteller armed with an arsenal of anecdotes about the athletes he covered, was a sports commentator for radio stations WFAN in New York and WFAS in Westchester. He appeared on many national television programs and was a frequent guest on ESPN sports documentaries. He remains a familiar face on reruns of HBO sports specials. In 1968, he appeared in an unbilled cameo as a rumpled sportswriter in the movie “The Odd Couple.” In 2007, however, when ESPN broadcast “The Bronx Is Burning,” a dramatic series about the Yankees and New York City in 1977, one of the characters was a sportswriter named “Maury Allen,” a fellow based on the real Maury Allen of 30 years earlier. Were it not for the time difference, it’s possible that Allen might have been asked to play himself. He might even have written a book about it.