Shirley Povich (1905-1998)

Sportswriter Extraordinaire
He called it a “joyride”—his journey from an Orthodox Jewish home in Bar Harbor, Maine, to his unparalleled 75-year-career at The Washington Post. He won every conceivable honor and was even elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. But Shirley Povich was most proud of his Jewish heritage. He was a longtime member first of B’nai Israel and then of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington.

By 21, Povich was the youngest sports editor on any metropolitan newspaper. For decades, he was the most popular columnist at The Washington Post. He covered nearly every major sporting event of the 20th century, and he spent the last three decades of his life crusading to regain a baseball club for his city.

The Post didn’t have a whole lot going for it when my father bought the paper….But we did have Shirley—an original, authentic voice, who combined, for the first time, rigorous reporting, incisive analysis, brilliant writing and all the excitement, passion and pride that Americans bring to sports.

Katharine Graham

photo of Povich at typewriter
Large photo of Povich

1924-1998: Except for the six months when he served as a war correspondent in the Pacific, Povich wrote a daily column six days a week for 50 years. After he officially retired in 1974, he wrote another 600 columns before his death in 1998.

Copyright The Washington Post.

photo of Povich at typewriter
Large photo of Povich