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Bert Sugar, 1937-2012

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I know I haven’t written here in more than five months. I’ll try to pick back up with this blog once baseball starts. But today, I had to post something. That’s because today, Bert Sugar died. He was 74 years old.

Everyone  can go on and on about Sugar’s tremendous writing, both in quantity and quality. I believe the man, the legend, wrote more books than I’ve read. But more than what he did as a journalist, he had the look. The cigar, the weathered face, the gruff tone — It was if he never left the 1950s.

But, most of all, he had the hat. Oh, the hat! The classic fedora. The cherry on top. It was perfect. Tom Landry and Indiana Jones and all old-time gangsters can get outta here; the fedora, for me, is synonymous with Sugar. When I wanted to be a sports writer, I saw Bert Sugar once on TV and knew I had to get that accessory. He made the fedora seem more important than your media badge. It looked like you belonged in the press box. Every scribe used to sport one back in the day while on the job, but as it had gotten lost over time, Sugar kept wearing it like a rightful crown. So when I was covering sports in college — and hopefully in the future — I made sure I took my fedora with me to every game I covered. Today, I have about seven of them in my closet.

Yeah, I guess you could say Bert Sugar’s headwear meant more to me than his historic writing. In a sentimental way, it did. The fedora should have never left the profession. It oozes class, even though the word “oozes” does not. And the reason why I wanted to try to bring it back in the first place was because of Sugar. I wear it as an homage to him.

To Bert: Wherever you may be, here’s a tip of the felted brim to you, sir.

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