Ode to a Sports Journalist

Bud Shrake, who died Friday from lung cancer, was one the greatest and most imaginative sportswriters of the 20th century. With his Fort Worth, Texas, high-school pal Dan Jenkins, Shrake was a towering figure in the literary heyday of Sports Illustrated, writing about pro football and filing imaginative reports from far-flung destinations across the globe. Years later, in a casual conversation with Harvey Penick in Texas, Shrake discovered that the golf pro had maintained a journal of observations about golf and other athletes on the PGA tour. Shrake negotiated a book deal to publish Penick's journal, and the Little Red Book became the best-selling sports book of all time. Shrake was also the author of several well-regarded novels, including Strange Peaches and Blessed McGill.