Sunday, June 22, 2008
Shirley Povich Media Center Dedication
There are Greats in any Sport. And there are Greats in the Journalists that cover the games we love. Some would say, there were not many Reporters better than the late Shirley Povich. From 1924 to the very day before he passed away in 1998, Mr. Povich worked for The Washington Post. At the ripe young age of 20, Shirley Povich became the youngest Sports Editor of a Major U.S. Newspaper. From those early days of the roaring 20's continuing for SEVEN CONSECUTIVE DECADES, Mr. Povich covered and reported on some the greatest sporting events in American History--including GAME 7 of The 1294 World Series. The only Champion of Baseball to ever call Washington, DC it's home.
Shirley Povich was a GREAT MAN, well respected and dedicated to his work. His biography alone is worth your read. So is the tribute given by his beloved Washington Post upon his passing. Elected to the Sports Writers Wing of The National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975, Mr. Povich was also elected to The Sportswriters Hall of Fame in 1984. This man covered the famous 1927 Jack Dempsey--Gene Tunney Prize Fight; Lou Gehrig's Famous Farewell Speech in 1939; Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in The Major Leagues; even Don Larsen's World Series Perfect Game. Covering the gamut of baseball--Mr. Povich also was on hand on that famous night in Baltimore at Camden Yards when Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's Consecutive Games Streak in 1995.
That my friends was a man on a mission. He cared about sports. He loved reporting on them. And he loved being a professional. How else can you explain a man that worked well past retirement age (92 upon his death) covering 60 World Series and 20 Super Bowls. Mr. Povich called Walter Johnson--his friend.
And Shirley Povich called Washington, DC his home.
This morning on South Capitol Street, Our Washington Nationals honored this man and his family by formally dedicating The Media Center at New Nationals Park as The Shirley Povich Media Center. Many of Mr. Povich's extended family were on hand for the ceremonies. His son's Maury & David, his daughter Lynn. Also on hand were Maury's wife--Connie Chung, as well as a countless number of Grand Children and Great Grand Children. This was a dedication at New Nationals Park Obviously Never Seen Before.
And it was very touching.
Team President Stan Kasten Lead off the Ceremony.
“We couldn’t think of anyone we could name the Media Center (at New Nationals Park) for more than Shirley Povich with his long tradition of excellence in this town. I know that all of you who grew up following sports in the newspaper did so by all the things that Shirley Povich taught you about sports. On behalf of The Washington Nationals. On behalf of The Lerner Family—we are thrilled, excited and proud to formally dedicate this Media Center after the Great Shirley Povich.”
Then, Mr. Kasten introduced Maury Povich to formally accept the dedication for his family.
“My sister Lynn and brother David are also here with me. We are just so delighted to be here. We know how much Dad would be so appreciative of everything The Lerner Family has done. I would think that this would not be the most appreciative about what The Lerners have done. What he would really be glad about is that The Lerner’s brought baseball back to Washington. And that is what he would dearly LOVE. That would be number one in his heart. That would be the great debt of gratitude he would owe Ted (Lerner) and The Lerner Family.”
“He (Shirley) would be very humble. He would feel undeserving of this honor. He would say this is not what he is about. What he really thought was when he walked into that Press Box/Media Center—that, that was his sanctuary. It was his ground. It was in effect for so many years—his office. And he knew what that meant from the very first time he went in there (The Press Box)—to write the very best he could. And like so many of the great writers, it was a struggle. And that is why George Solomon (Washington Post) so accurately described in the paper today—he (Shirley Povich) was always the last person to leave the press box. It would be him and the telegrapher. Then the lights would go out. That is the way it was for him every single day.”
So, we (The Povich Family) thank you so much. I think you get a good feeling about [Shirley Povich]. Frank Ceresi has done a marvelous job here (finding the artifacts and building the display). What you see here of my father is what he loved the most. Whether it be his typewriter, or his fedora or the dozens of World Series Pins. So, I wanted to thank you, Stan (Kasten) and I want to thank everyone connected with The Nationals. We are so appreciative for it. Thank you so very, very much (tears in his eyes).”
After Maury Povich finished his remarks--he along with his sister Lynn and brother David unveiled a special englassed legacy to their father. Included in the case are Shirley Povich's famous Fedora, his manual Royal Typewriter, his personally scored scorebook from The 1924 Champion Washington Senators World Series, Baseball signed by Shirley Povich, Walter Johnson and the entire 1924 Championship Team, 1948 Clark Griffith (Senators long time owner) Tribute Program and a personal letter form President Dwight D. Eisenhower showing admiration for Mr. Povich's work. This is a GREAT CASE OF WASHINGTON MEMORABILIA.
Only this dedication got even better, when Maury Povich unveiled a specially framed work containing many of his fathers famous World Series Press Pins--including a special medallion given to The World Champion 1924 Washington Nationals (Senators). Sorry folks, but being in the media--that was very touching. There was a huge cheer from those in attendance. And a few moist eyes also.
The Povich Family was quite touched with the honor. And as I am sure few of you are aware--The African Queen worked with Maury Povich at WTTG-TV here in Washington, DC for many years--dating back nearly 25 years. They are colleagues and Maury took a few moments after the dedication to speak with Sohna about this day.
“This is just a great capping off of everything my father would have ever dreamed," Maury said to Sohna. "Of course, most of all, Baseball back in Washington, DC would have pleased him more than anything. He never got over the fact that Washington did not have a Big League Team. And the very fact that his friends, The Lerner Family brought baseball back—and for them to honor him like this is just too much to ask. We (The Povich's) are very proud. I have no doubt my Dad is just a pleased."
June 22nd, 2008--Our Washington Nationals Honor A Great Man. From now and for years in the future--The Press Box at New Nationals Park will be named The Shirley Povich Media Center. This was a memorable day for Washington Sport. Our Nation's Capital has a rich history that many need to get reacquainted with. A history Shirley Povich reported on for over 70 years.