The tribute to Blackie Sherrod in the Dallas Morning News began like this:
“Blackie Sherrod, the greatest Texas sportswriter of his generation or any other, now and forevermore, died Thursday afternoon at age 96.”
The person who penned those words was a sportswriter himself: Kevin Sherrington. He says Sherrod’s a legend because of his distinctive style. He was named the best sportswriter in the state 16 times, by a vote of his peers.
“He’s right up there, nationally, with Jim Murray, Red Smith, Jimmy Cannon,” he says, “the likes of those guys.”
Sherrod’s experience as a tail gunner in World War II informed his writing style, Sherrington says. After his plane was downed in the Pacific, Sherrod had to cut himself out of his harness and the plane sank 45 seconds after he got out.
“I think when you live that kind of life – he was just wanting to have fun,” he says. “He didn’t mount any soapboxes…. He was funny and he wanted to have fun.”
Sportswriters that Sherrington has talked to all say they miss Sherrod’s Sunday scattershot column, which was a catch-all for all of his miscellaneous ideas.
“All they are, it’s about 24 tweets,” Sherrington says. “He was very clever in that as well – there wasn’t one that you couldn’t pick out and it wouldn’t draw a smile from your face.”