1977 – Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith
Born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on September 25, 1905, sportswriting legend Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith became one of America’s most widely read sports columnists. Smith’s career began in 1927, at the Milwaukee Sentinel. He then worked for the St. Louis Journal and Philadelphia Record, before settling in New York, in 1945. From 1945-1966, he wrote for The New York Herald Tribune, where he established his reputation and became widely read and syndicated. After the Tribune folded in 1966, he worked as a freelance writer for a number of years before joining The New York Times in 1971. In 1976 while working for The Times, Smith became the first sportswriter to win the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. During his career Smith won a number of other awards including the J.G. Taylor Spink award in 1976, and in 1959 was the first winner of the NSSA’s National Sportswriter of the Year award. He was also honored by the Associated Press as the first winner of the Red Smith award for “outstanding contributions to sports journalism.” Smith died in 1982. He was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame on April 5, 1977.