A Front-Row Seat with the Sportswriters Who Sat There

Sit down with host Todd Jones and other sportswriters who knew the greatest athletes and coaches, and experienced first-hand some of the biggest sports moments in the past 50 years. They’ll share stories behind the stories -- some they’ve only told to each other.

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Hal McCoy: The Big Red Machine and a Baseball Life

Hal McCoy: The Big Red Machine and a Baseball Life

Hal McCoy is synonymous with the Cincinnati Reds. The Hall of Fame writer for the Dayton Daily News has been covering baseball’s oldest professional franchise since 1973. Hal tells about the egos, talent, and inner workings of the Big Red Machine. Learn why the great Sparky Anderson was fired, and how Vern Rapp learned his same fate. Hear about Pete Rose’s return to Cincinnati and his ultimate downfall. Hal explains why Joe Morgan quit talking to him, why Eric Davis was his all-time favorite player, and why Lou Piniella once forgot to fill out a lineup card. And Hal explains how a pep talk from Aaron Boone kept him writing after he lost nearly all his eyesight. You’ll feel like one of baseball’s great writers is taking you out to the old ballgame.

McCoy was honored by the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002 as winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, which is awarded annually “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing.” He has covered more than 7,000 Major League Baseball games and chronicled the day-to-day news of three World Series championship teams (1975, ’76 and ’90) and nine Division winners. Hal has been chair of the Cincinnati chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America 22 times, and he served as the BBWAA national president in 1997. He has won 52 Ohio and national writing awards and was the first non-Cincinnati newspaper writer to be elected to the Cincinnati journalists Hall of Fame. Hal is a member of the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame, as well as the Irish-American Baseball Hall of Fame. Dayton honored him with a stone on the city’s Walk of Fame, and the press box at Dayton’s Howell Field is named after him.

Hal officially retired after the 2009 season after making nearly ever road trip with the Reds for nearly four decades, but he has never stopped writing about the team. He still covers Cincinnati’s home games from the ballpark for “The Real McCoy” blog on the Dayton Daily News website and for HalMcCoy.com. His “Ask Hal” columns appear in the paper’s Sunday print edition. Hal writes about the Reds’ games from the road off television – and weighs in on other sports topics – for his “Observations from the Man Cave” column on his own website. Hal also covers University of Dayton basketball and football for PressProsMagazine.com.

McCoy’s career began at the Dayton Journal Herald in 1964, two years after the Akron native graduated with honors from Kent State University’s School of Journalism. Hal played college baseball (first base) on a partial scholarship and was a teammate of Gene Michael, a future player and general manager for the New York Yankees. In 1966, Hal took a job at the Detroit Free Press to cover Michigan and Michigan State football, but he returned to Dayton in ’67 to work for the Daily News. His original beats were Dayton Flyers basketball and auto racing. He also covered the Cleveland Browns, the defunct NBA Cincinnati Royals, golf, the University of Miami (Ohio) and high schools. By the late 1960s, he was the paper’s backup Reds’ writer. In 1973, his editor asked him to choose a fulltime beat: Reds or Bengals. He picked baseball and has never left the game. Hal lives in Englewood, Ohio, with his wife, Nadine.

Follow Hal on Twitter: @HalMcCoyHOF

Make sure to check out his book: “The Real McCoy: My Half Century with the Cincinnati Reds.”

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