Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Remembering Bill Koenig

David Broder, a Presidential and political scholar who wore a press ID in his hat, died this week. His departure extinguishes a generations-wide career in which he precisely informed those who wanted to know and kept a mirror up to reflect of those whose deeds needed monitoring. His back-of-the-section insights were always on the first page of my aggregator.

Bill KoenigHis passing reminds me of my friend, Bill Koenig, who's been gone 11 years now.

I first met Bill on my first day at Baseball Weekly. Over a beer, he told me was thrilled there were no assholes on the new staff. I told him he hadn't known me long enough and we became fast friends. I was his best man at his second wedding.

Bill casually observed nothing. He saw, anaolgized and started writing what seemed like volumes. He understood details and how you responded to his second question formed his third.

On the phone, Bill interviewed people on every minor league team every week. That volume doesn't leave time for more than five questions. Bill didn't need more than five questions; his work was often the best in the book each week.

I didn't see Bill in long form, when he was covering the Red Wings and the Olympics in Rochester, NY. They appreciated him in Rochester; he's in their Hall of Fame.

Fare thee well, David Broder, and I still miss Bill.

Editor's note: Since I wrote this post, the NCAA men's basketball tournament has announced a first-round game between Penn State (my school) and Temple (Bill's) in Tucson. Bill always traveled to see the Owls in the tournmant, regardless of how far he had to fly from his spring training baseball assignment. Well, not even for you, Bill -- go Nittany Lions.

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