RIP, W.C. Heinz

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by WildBillyCrazyCat, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. Just saw this one move. RIP.

    Death of a race horse was great reading.

    W.C. “Bill” Heinz, sportswriter who chronicled Ruth, World War II, dies at 93
    BENNINGTON, Vt. (AP) — W.C. “Bill” Heinz, a sportswriter and author who witnessed the Normandy invasion on D-Day, covered some of the greatest sports events of the 1940s and helped write the book “MASH,” has died. He was 93.
    His daughter, Gayl Heinz of Amesbury, Mass., said he died early Wednesday in Bennington. The cause of death was not released.
    A New York native, he attended Middlebury College in the 1930s and then went on to become a reporter at the New York Sun.
    During World War II, he reported from Europe. After the war he covered sports, including Babe Ruth’s emotional last appearance at Yankee Stadium in 1948. In the mid-60s, he helped Maine physician H. Richard Hornburger write the book about a mobile army surgical hospital in the Korean War.
     
  2. Ace

    Ace Active Member

    Damn. RIP to one of the giants.
     
  3. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    The WC Heinz Tribute Thread

    We've lost one of our best. Please post your thoughts on his work and what it meant to you here. I'd like to collect and share them with his family.

    For those wishing to send a card or letter of appreciation or personal condolence, the address is:

    9 Bartlett's Reach
    Amesbury MA 01913

    In lieu of flowers, the family asks a donation be made in Bill's name to:

    The Residents Fund
    Vermont Veteran's Home
    325 North St.
    Bennington VT 05201

    Thanks.
     
  4. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

  5. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    I've reposted "Death of a Racehorse" over in the Workshop.
     
  6. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    Death of a Racehorse makes me tear up every time I read it. RIP to one of the greatest journalists the world has ever known.
     
  7. Highway 101

    Highway 101 Active Member

    RIP

    Sniff... please pass the box Kleenex.
     
  8. In Exile

    In Exile Member

    Oh man. Sad day, but he had not been well for a long time, and I've often wondered how hard it must be for a writer to be unable to write any more. Bill Littlefield did a lovely spot on him on his NPR program a few years back in which Heinz stated that writing was like a piece of classical music, and at the start he always sought out the right chord, because everything else depends on that chord, on its sound.

    If I track back my career as a writer, part of it starts when I first read Langston Hughes, and part of it starts when I first read Jack Kerouac, and part starts when I first read Heinz in the old Best Sports Stories anthology - "The Rocky Road of Pistol Pete," in particular, which I read when I was about ten and never forgot, and never stopped looking for his byline.

    Got a personal note from him once and he wrote some very very nice words about something I wrote. That's enough for me - the only kind of award that ever matters, the respect of your peers. It's framed and on my wall.

    FYI, David Halberstam's intro to the first edition of BASW, which was primarily about Heinz will be reprinted in an anthology of Halberstam's short form sportswriting which will appear in May.

    Check out his collections - What a Time It Was, and American Mirror.

    What a legacy.
     
  9. GBNF

    GBNF Active Member

    Forget the workshop, JMac, repost it here, too...
     
  10. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    Death of a Racehorse

    by

    W.C. Heinz


    They were going to the post for the sixth race at Jamaica, two year olds, some making their first starts, to go five and a half furlongs for a purse of four thousand dollars. They were moving slowly down the backstretch toward the gate, some of them cantering, others walking, and in the press box they had stopped their working or their kidding to watch, most of them interested in one horse.

    "Air Lift," Jim Roach said. "Full brother of Assault."

    Assault, who won the triple crown ... making this one too, by Bold Venture, himself a Derby winner, out of Igual, herself by the great Equipoise ... Great names in the breeding line ... and now the little guy making his first start, perhaps the start of another great career.

    They were off well, although Air Lift was fifth. They were moving toward the first turn, and now Air Lift was fourth. They were going into the turn, and now Air Lift was starting to go, third perhaps, when suddenly he slowed, a horse stopping, and below in the stands you could hear a sudden cry, as the rest left him, still trying to run but limping, his jockey -- Dave Gorman -- half falling, half sliding off.

    "He broke a leg!" somebody, holding binoculars to his eyes, shouted in the press box. "He broke a leg!"

    Down below they were roaring for the rest, coming down the stretch now, but in the infield men were running toward the turn, running toward the colt and the boy standing beside him, alone. There was a station wagon moving around the track toward them, and then, in a moment, the big green van that they call the horse ambulance.

    "Gorman was crying like a baby," one of them, coming out of the jockey room, said. "He said he must have stepped in a hole, but you should have seen him crying."

    "It's his left front ankle," Dr. J.G. Catlett, the veterinarian, was saying. "It's a compound fracture; and I'm waiting for confirmation from Mr. Hirsch to destroy him."

    He was standing outside one of the stables beyond the backstretch, and he had just put in a call to Kentucky where Max Hirsch, the trainer, and Robert Kleber, the owner, are attending the yearling sales.

    "When will you do it?" one of them said.

    "Right as soon as I can," the doctor said. "As soon as I get confirmation. If it was an ordinary horse I'd done it right there."

    He walked across the road and around another barn to where they had the horse. The horse was still in the van, about twenty stable hands in dungarees and sweat-stained shirts, bare-headed or wearing old caps, standing around quietly and watching with Dr. M.A. Gilman, the assistant veterinarian.

    "We might as well get him out of the van," Catlett said, "before we give him the novocaine. It'll be a little better out in the air."

    The boy in the van with the colt led him out then, the colt limping, tossing his head a little, the blood running down and covering his left foreleg. When they saw him, standing there outside the van now, the boy holding him, they started talking softly.

    "Full brother of Assault." ... "It don't make no difference now. He's done." ... "But damn, what a grand little horse." ... "Aint he a horse?"

    "It's a funny thing," Catlett said. "All the cripples that go out, they never break a leg. It always happens to a good-legged horse."

    A man, gray-haired and rather stout, wearing brown slacks and a blue shirt, walked up.

    "Then I better not send for the wagon yet?" the man said.

    "No," Catlett said. "Of course, you might just as well. Max Hirsch may say no, but I doubt it."

    "I don't know," the man said.

    "There'd be time in the morning," Catlett said.

    "But in this hot weather--" the man said.

    They had sponged off the colt, after they had given him the shot to deaden the pain, and now he stood, feeding quietly from some hay they had placed at his feet. In the distance you could hear the roar of the crowd in the grandstand, but beyond it and above it you could hear thunder and see the occasional flash of lightning.

    When Catlett came back the next time he was hurrying, nodding his head and waving his hands. Now the thunder was louder, the flashes of lightning brighter, and now rain was starting to fall.

    "All right," he said, shouting to Gilman. "Max Hirsch talked to Mr. Kleberg. We've got the confirmation."

    They moved the curious back, the rain falling faster now, and they moved the colt over close to a pile of loose bricks. Gilman had the halter and Catlett had the gun, shaped like a bell with the handle at the top. This bell he placed, the crowd silent, on the colt's forehead, just between the eyes. The colt stood still and then Catlett, with the hammer in his other hand, struck the handle of the bell. There was a short, sharp sound and the colt toppled onto his left side, his eyes staring, his legs straight out, the free legs quivering.

    "Aw ----" someone said.

    That was all they said. They worked quickly, the two vets removing the broken bones as evidence for the insurance company, the crowd silently watching. Then the heavens opened, the rain pouring down, the lightning flashing, and they rushed for the cover of the stables, leaving alone on his side near the pile of bricks, the rain running off his hide, dead an hour and a quarter after his first start, Air Lift, son of Bold Venture, full brother of Assault.



    -30-​
     
  11. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    I think it was SI that had a great heinz feature a few years ago. My dad cut it out and sent it to me with a note that NOW he understands why I and my friends have chosen this profession, and what it means to us.

    Sad day. RIP to a spectacular journalist.
     
  12. Jones

    Jones Active Member

    My favorite writer in the world. I'm very sorry he's gone.
     

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