We are saddened to hear of the death of legendary AJC sports columnist Furman Bisher. Many of us read his work growing up as he painted the picture of sporting events. In fact, Bisher also helped spearhead to effort to bring major league sports to Atlanta. All this talk about is Atlanta a bad sports town? Well, it may not be a sports town without Bisher.
Yes, he was, at times, a Tech homer. But we’ll let that one slide. After all, Furman Bisher was one of Lewis Grizzard’s mentors, as we found in the below selection from one of Lewis’ works.
Behind the horseshoe desk sat the teletype machine that spit out words at an astounding rate. I walked over to the machine. It was typing the current major-league baseball standings. I had no idea as to where the source of this machine was located, but the sound of it gave out a sense of both urgency and energy. This, I reasoned, was the background music for the practice of the big-time sports journalism. Again, that sound it seemed to me, a man could put zest i the words he typed. That sound likely was what set Furman Bisher into his mood to crank out his poetry.
To my left, I saw a glass-enclosed office. The door to it was closed. On th door is said….FURMAN BISHER, SPORTS EDITOR.
This was Furman Bisher’s office! I looked thru the glass. There was a desk, just as cluttered as the ones outside. An obviously elderly manual typewriter sat on a table near the desk. The OVAL OFFICE in the White House could not have impressed me more.
This was it. This was where Furman Bisher wrote. All those columns of his I’d read since childhood came out of this hallowed place. Bisher on riding the train to Little Rock with the Atlanta Crackers. Bisher on Bobby Dodd, the legendary Georgia Tech football coach. Bisher from the World Series. Bisher from the Kentucky Derby. Bisher from the Masters.
I was looking at where Michelangelo mixed his paints, where Edison conceived the light bulb, where Alexander the Great plotted his battles, where Irving Berlin beat out the first notes of “White Christmas…”
I knew I would work in this place one day.
– From If I Ever Get Back To Georgia, I’m Gonna Nail My Feet To The Ground.
E-Version available at NewSouthBooks.com