May 31, 2020

Dave Anderson, Award-Winning Times Sportswriter, Dies at 89

Mr. Anderson wrote for the newspaper at Xavier High School in Manhattan and became the sports editor of the paper at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass. He graduated from there in 1951 with a degree in English literature.

He was especially remembered for covering golf (he was an avid golfer), boxing, pro football and baseball.

In November 2002, Mr. Anderson and his fellow columnist Harvey Araton submitted columns in connection with a campaign urging Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, home of the Masters, to admit women, something The Times had covered heavily. Both columns were rejected by senior editors.

Mr. Anderson’s column argued that Tiger Woods had no obligation to get involved in the debate by boycotting the Masters tournament, and it took issue in passing with a Times editorial that suggested Mr. Woods do so. (Mr. Araton’s column, which concerned the future of women’s softball as an Olympic sport, questioned the importance of the Augusta debate as it related to women’s sports.)

When word got out that the columns had been rejected, there was a tide of “critical commentary in the news media and resentment in the Times newsroom,” as a news article in The Times reported.

Howell Raines, the newspaper’s executive editor at the time, said that the editors’ objections had been based not on the opinions expressed in the columns but on separate concerns having to do, in the case of the Anderson column, with “the appearance of unnecessary intramural squabbling with the newspaper’s editorial board,” the Times article said. (Mr. Araton’s column, it said, “presented problems of structure and tone.”)

The columns were published soon afterward, with revisions agreed to by Mr. Anderson and Mr. Araton.

In addition to his newspaper work, Mr. Anderson wrote books and hundreds of magazine articles. His books include “In the Corner: Great Boxing Trainers Talk About Their Art”; “Muhammad Ali,” a visual biography with Magnum Photographers; “Pennant Races: Baseball at Its Best”; and collaborations with Frank Robinson, John Madden and Sugar Ray Robinson on their memoirs.

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