Much more shocking than a stupid England football loss is when a young, very talented man passes unexpectedly. I’ve linked to articles written by the great sportswriter Ralph Wiley numerous times, including just the other day. I have many yellowing Oakland Tribune articles he wrote back in the late 70s and early 80s pasted in my Raider scrapbooks. Ralph wrote a lot about the A’s during those amazing Billy Martin years as well, and coined the phrase, Billy Ball. I always looked forward to reading him. I was surprised to learn that he was even as old as he was (52). He wrote ‘young’ and, to use a cliche, had his hand on the culture’s pulse. When I read the headline about his death, I thought….must’ve had cancer or something and kept it out of the public. But no, it was heart failure. Makes ya think….when is it your time? Happened to Len Bias – happened to Ralph Wiley. Ralph worked out and was fit. Len Bias was a monster athlete and just 23.
I’m sure Ralph was looking forward to seeing those funk soul brothers in Detroit beat LA when he sat down to watch Game 4. He’ll be watching the rest of the series in a much better place than here. I’ll miss his writing and I pray for his family.
Who better to eulogize Ralph than the people who worked with him. This is from Mike Lupica…
He had a wonderful mind. His voice was his own. His opinions were his own. His passion was real. You didn’t have to scroll back to the top of the page to know who you were reading.