There were a lot of things that turned little Rob Neyer into medium Rob Neyer, but one of those things was a book wrapped in a bright yellow cover, with no dustjacket:
I believe my mom presented me with that exact book when I was six or seven years old. I would love to report that I spent my entire summer between the second and third grade memorizing every word. I did not do that. But the book did serve as my entrée into the world of sports information, a world that I found (and still find) immensely comforting.
Wednesday, the author of that wonderful tome left us ...
Bill Mazer, who was a voice and face of sports coverage in New York for decades, pioneering sports-talk radio and becoming a television fixture while earning the nickname the Amazin’ for his encyclopedic recall of sports facts and figures, died on Wednesday in Danbury, Conn. He was 92.
When Mr. Mazer retired in 2009, he had spent more than 60 years in broadcasting — 20 of them as a nightly sports anchor and the host of the weekend roundup "Sports Extra" on WNEW-TV, Channel 5. Before then he had been a host of sports-talk radio when the very idea of the format was new.
I grew up in the Midwest and never knew any of that. I just knew him as the guy who did the yellow book. Keith Olbermann didn't grow up in the Midwest, and knew Mazer as much more. From Wednesday night's show:
Man, I hope I die before Olbermann and he's willing to say nice things about me.