The 1920s in America has most often been described by many historians as the Golden Age of Sports. While the extraordinary athletes of that era, the Jack Dempsey’s, Babe Ruth’s, and Bill Tilden’s of the world, had a say in this being so, a lot has been attributed to the inspirational and heroic writings of sportswriter Grantland Rice.
Through his own unique way, Rice was able to make games feel like ancient/Roman combats at the Colosseum while the athletes involved are presented like demigods. He was known to have consciously set out to make heroes of athletes who impressed him and also defended the right of those who sought to make a living as professionals. His work was a huge hit among sporting fans that it appeared in newspapers nationwide and was also broadcast on the radio.
Born on the 1st of November, 1880, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Grantland Rice began his journey to the top of the sportswriting world at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville. He subsequently enrolled at Vanderbilt University where he was a member of both the school’s football and baseball team, as well as a brother in the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, before graduating with a classics Bachelor of Arts degree in 1901.
After having spent a few years as a coach, Rice began writing about sports. He first worked with the Atlanta Journal and the Cleveland News before joining the Nashville Tennessean. Following his stint with the Tennessean, he began writing sports columns for the New York Tribune. These columns were later nationally syndicated, which sent his popularity through the roof as he earned the nickname “Dean of American Sports Writers”.
After suffering a stroke, Grantland Rice passed away on July 13, 1954. His remains were then interred at Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York. Following his death, the Football Writers Association of America established the Grantland Rice Memorial Award, which was given annually to an outstanding college player selected by the group. For his meritorious contributions to baseball writing, The Baseball Writers’ Association of America posthumously awarded him the 1966 J. G. Taylor Spink Award. Another notable thing that was done in his honor is the naming of a four-year scholarship at his alma mater for students intending to pursue sportswriting.
Below is a list of the books, essays, articles and literary works written by Grantland Rice.
Grantland Rice Books, Essays, Articles & Literary Works
1. “The Four Horsemen” New York Tribune Article
Using the biblical reference of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse which Grantland Rice wrote, he has been described as the most famous football lead of all-time. The article, which appeared on the New York Tribune paper on the 18th of October, 1924, is about a game between Notre Dame and Army where the former was able to pull off an upset victory over the strong latter team.
Following the publishing of the article, the Notre Dame offensive backfield line that included players like Harry Stuhldreher, Don Miller, Jim Crowley, and Elmer Layden became known as The Four Horsemen of Notre Dame, one of the most noted groups of collegiate athletes in football history.
2. Songs of the Stalwart (1917)
This book included a number of poems on sports, especially baseball. Rice received rave reviews for this work as he was hailed as being one of the sports writers at the time that could use literature properly.
3. The Tumult and the Shouting: My Life in Sport (1954)
In the way he knew best how to write with elegant prose, Grantland Rice was able to paint vivid pictures with his words about sports, war and loved ones in this book that was published three weeks before his death. He did not hold back as he wrote about men he loved and the deeds he admired, characteristics that made him the man he was known around the world as.
4. Casey’s Revenge (1906)
Grantland Rice wrote this baseball-inspired book as a sequel to Ernest Thayer’s “Casey at the Bat.” In the story, the character Casey is on his way to glory and about to win it all when he suddenly loses everything. In his own story, Rice gives Casey a chance to redeem himself against the pitcher who struck him out in the original story.