Friday, January 10, 2003

Will McDonough's legacy. He was a crank. He was a legend. He was both. Globe sports columnist Will McDonough died last night at the age of 67, depriving Boston of one of its most cantankerous and original voices. The news is just starting to break, so there's not much out there yet other than this Associated Press report. He died with his boots on, watching ESPN's SportsCenter.

I would imagine the place to be for McDonough fans today is Mike Barnicle's 10 a.m.-to-noon show on WTKK-FM (96.9 FM), where McDonough was a regular Friday guest. A couple of years ago McDonough officially retired from the Globe, although he continued writing his column on a freelance basis. Talk about having your cake and eating it too: McDonough was able to work out a sweet deal, continuing to draw a paycheck from the Globe while taking potshots at the Globe's young, liberal newsroom during his stints on the air.

As recently as last week McDonough swung hard at Red Sox president Larry Lucchino, who's embroiled in a feud with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Steinbrenner appears to hate Lucchino so much that he's willing to spend even more of his money than usual (not an easy trick) in order to keep the Red Sox well out of contention. McDonough endorsed Steinbrenner's characterization of Lucchino as a "chameleon," adding:

Lucchino has a face for all occasions, but, unfortunately, very little knowledge of baseball. He was slotted into the Red Sox job by his good friend, Bud Selig, the commissioner of baseball, who wanted to ensure that he would have Boston's vote in his pocket whenever he needed it.

The Globe also ran an excerpt from the McDonough-ghosted Bill Parcells autobiography last week to shed light on Parcells's decision to become head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

One of the raps on McDonough was that he talked only to owners and to the biggest of bigshots, such as Parcells and Red Auerbach. But the flip side was that, more often than not, they talked only to him, giving him a steady stream of exclusives. In an era of bland, faceless journalism, McDonough offered personality and vitriol, making him one of the most consistently readable columnists in the Globe.

Here's an interview McDonough did a couple of years ago with Teen Ink, a website for teenagers.

And here's an archive of his recent Globe columns.

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