A graduate of Notre Dame, Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith began his career in journalism as a news reporter with the Milwaukee Sentinel in 1927. After turning to sportswriting, Smith's legendary career made stops at the St. Louis Star and Philadelphia Record, before settling in New York City in 1945. There he wrote for the Herald-Tribune, World Journal Tribune, and the New York Times.
Gifted with a startling memory and an unparalleled storytelling ability, Red Smith was, according to Ernest Hemingway, "the most important force in American sportswriting." A Pulitzer Prize winner in journalism for "distinguished commentary," Smith had a fine sense of the absurd in human conduct and a penetrating perception of detail for accuracy.
Shirley Povich recalled: "Those, of all persuasions, who had an appreciation for the written word were attracted to him and his facility for using the language. He raised the sportswriting trade to a literacy and elegance it had not known before."