2009 Archives

Farewell, Furman Bisher

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Furman Bisher just retired. I don't have a lot of nice things to say, so I'm not going to say much. He's 90, but unlike, say, 81-year old Vin Scully, I don't think there are a lot of people in Atlanta begging him not to retire. He's an old guy whom baseball's internationalization and technology long since left behind -- who nearly outlived paper journalism itself -- but who nonetheless continued to write, week after week. A dogged purist, without question. He gave his professional career to Atlanta, and in his prime he styled words with grace. Past his prime, he remained an almost matchless institutional memory of sports, having personally witnessed nearly a century's worth of happenings.

Other elegies will be more complimentary than mine; I came of age long after Bisher's prime, and am part of a generation whom Bisher never seemed fully to understand or to feel comfortable with. In my opinion, he hung around for far too long. Yet I envy him his long life and his success in spending his life doing what he loved: writing about sports. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is a shell of the newspaper it once was, the paper I grew up reading, the paper Bisher wrote for decade after decade, and his retirement diminishes it yet more.

Enjoy the sunset, Furman. You got to go out your way.
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