Wednesday, July 15, 2015

American Sports Cartoonists

Sports cartoons were once the centerpiece of the American daily newspaper's sports page. These clever drawings conveyed a story or highlighted a sports star in a compact, simple illustration. Lucky sports fans had one person who could synthesize, inform, and visually illustrate a game and players for them – the sports cartoonist! During the first two-thirds of the Twentieth Century most daily newspapers featured a cartoonist who did sport (and political) cartoons on a regular basis. In the days of competitive journalism, a city like New York with its dozen-plus daily newspapers had an equal number of competing sports cartoonists. It was not unusual to have “yesterday’s game” portrayed with a cartoon in the morning paper. Unfortunately this form of entertainment is now becoming a dying art with the decline of print journalism. But in it heyday, sports cartoonists drew action-packed pieces with a brief storyline summarizing (and often commenting on) a person, team, or a sport itself. Many sport cartoonists rendered striking portraits of star athletes as part of their drawings. These originals not only capture a piece of history, but are incredible works of art as well. Below are shown original sports cartoons about athletes, teams and events during the American "golden age of sports" a half-century ago. Here is a short list of America's top sports cartoonists and the papers they worked for: Willard Mullin, N.Y. World Telegram and Sun ("The Rembrandt of the Sports Page") Lou Darvas, Cleveland Press, Karl Hubenthal, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, Bill O'Brien, Chicago Tribune, Dick Mayer, Detroit Free Press, Dick Dugan, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Murray Olderman, NEA News Service and Palm Springs Life Magazine, and Burris Jenkins, New York Journal-American and Hearst newspaper chain.