Schaap, Richard J.

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SCHAAP, RICHARD J. (Dick ; 1934–2001), U.S. sportswriter, sports broadcaster, and author or co-author of 33 books. Schaap was the eldest of three children, born in Flatbush, Brooklyn, to Leah and Maury, a salesman. His paternal grandparents were of Dutch descent, and his maternal grandparents were from Russia. When asked if he was Jewish, Schaap would joke, "Yes, by birth and by appetite." Schaap was raised on Long Island in Freeport, New York, where at age 14 he began writing a sports column for the weekly Freeport Leader. He moved the following year to the Nassau Daily Review-Star under 20-year-old sports editor and future Pulitzer Prize-winner Jimmy Breslin. Schaap attended Cornell University (1955), where he was the starting goalie for the university's lacrosse team and editor-in-chief of the Cornell Daily Sun. Thereafter he attended Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism while working at the Long Island Press at night. After graduating in 1956, Schaap worked at Newsweek magazine (1956–63), and the New York Herald Tribune and the World Journal Tribune (1964–66), serving as the paper's city editor and also as a columnist. It was Schaap who coined the term "Fun City" for New York. Schaap began writing sports books, became sports anchor for wnbc-tv in New York City in 1971, and was named editor of Sport magazine in 1973. In the 1970s, he was a correspondent for nbc Nightly News and the Today Show, and then moved to abc's World News Tonight and 20/20 in the 1980s. Schaap won five Emmy Awards, for his profiles of comedian Sid *Caesar (1983) and Olympian Tom Waddell (1988); two for sports reporting; and for writing. He was also a theater critic, leading him to quip that he was the only person ever to vote both for the Tony Awards and for the Heisman Trophy. In 1988 he began hosting The Sports Reporters on espn, hosted Schaap One on One on espn Classic, and hosted a syndicated espn Radio show called The Sporting Life with Dick Schaap, in which he discussed the week's developments in sports with his son Jeremy, who was also an espn sportswriter. Among his 33 books are two autobiographies which made The New York Times bestseller list: football star Jerry Kramer's Instant Replay (1968) and two-sport star Bo Jackson's Bo Knows Bo, which was the best-selling sports autobiography ever. He wrote "as told to" biographies of Joe Namath, Hank Aaron, Joe Montana, Tom Seaver, Billy *Crystal, Dave DeBusschere, and others, a biography of Robert F. Kennedy, RFK, and coauthored .44 with Breslin, about Son of Sam serial killer David Berkowicz. Schaap's final book was the autobiographical Flashing Before My Eyes, in which he recounts humorous and poignant memories of a career spanning 50 years. Schaap won the Northeastern Award for Excellence in Broadcast Sports Journalism in 1986, the Women's Sports Foundation Award for Excellence in Covering Women's Sports in 1984, and was the 2002 winner of the Associated Press Sports Editors Red Smith Award. He was the first journalist inducted into the True Heroes of Sport Hall of Fame by the Northeastern University Center for Sport and Society.

[Elli Wohlgelernter (2nd ed.)]