Cy Kritzer

The Buffalo News Sportswriter

Though Joe Dimaggio and Ted Williams played decades ago, baseball fans still speak of them in awe. Fans everywhere still remember Dimaggio’s grace and style. They still recall Williams’ sweet swing and determined individuality. Most of all they remember how the “Yankee Clipper” and the “Splendid Splinter” made it look so easy, hitting in 56 straight games and batting .406 for a season. Records that may never be equaled.

Cy Kritzer was the “Yankee Clipper” and the “Splendid Splinter” of his day. His fresh, personal style and his insight into the game won him numerous awards and made him one of the most respected baseball writers in the nation.

Kritzer’s love for baseball began in Avoca, Pa., a small town in Pennsylvania’s eastern coal mining region, where he played sandlot ball as a kid and later semi-pro ball. At St. Bonaventure, Kritzer won three letters in baseball and was captain of his team in his senior year. At Bonaventure, Kritzer also had a chance to meet some of the legendary greats of baseball when John McGraw brought an all-star team to the campus for an exhibition game. Kritzer pitched for the Bonnies against future Hall of Famers like Rogers Hornsby, Travis Jackson, Mel Ott and Bill Terry as well as some of the era’s other great stars.

After graduation from Bonaventure in 1928, Kritzer worked for the Binghamton Sun for six months until he joined the Buffalo News as a general assignment reporter, covering everything from the police beat to writing an outdoor column. In 1939 Kritzer became the News’ permanent baseball writer as well as covering Little Threee basketball and football, professional boxing, bigtime college football and other sports and, of course, the World Series each year. Kritzer’s stories and columns often sounded like personal letters to his readers. He won numerous local and national awards for a wide array of stories ranging from interviews with the likes of Ted Williams to a feature on how a tip from the dugout helped a Buffalo Bison hit a home run. He served for two terms as president of the Baseball Writers Association of American and as the first president of the International League Baseball Writers Association. He was a sports writer’s writer, especially when it came to baseball where he knew the sport, the owners, the managers, the coaches and the players, who universally held him in high regard. He also served for 10 years as ghost writer for the publisher of the Sporting News. When he retired after 44 years at the Buffalo News, he left behind a standard of excellence that, like the records of Dimaggio and Williams, may never be equaled.