by Jim Riggs
May 26, 1984
Gone, But Not Forgotten
One month later I was working for him. And I soon discovered how wrong first impressions can be.
After sending out tons of resumes and receiving tons of rejections. I was told that Frank Hyde wanted to see me. I was fresh out of college and had been looking for a position at The Post-Journal as a photographer. The editor told me there were no openings in photography, but there was one in the sports department. I said I wasn’t interested.
Even though I was a sports nut, I had no desire to spend my time writing up high school games. I was a hot shot out of college and wanted to cover the pros.
After receiving rejection after rejection in the mail for other jobs, I decided it would be worth hearing what The Post-Journal had to offer. Frank said he needed a sports writer and he pointed out he didn’t like college graduates who thought they knew it all. Though I wasn’t too excited, I decided to give it a try. Now I thank my lucky stars every day that I didn’t pass up the chance.
After a month of working at night and never seeing Frank, who worked during the day, I began joining him in the morning to learn about laying out the sports pages. I also learned about a lot of other things.
Mainly I learned the real facts of the newspaper business and I discovered half of the things taught in journalism school were garbage. I discovered why Frank always gave local sports priority over national sports. Frank explained that the sports fan could always read about the Dodgers somewhere else, but The Post-Journal could provide news about Johnny Smiths’ home run in the Little League. And Johnny’s parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles would want to read it. As Johnny moved through high school ball and then, perhaps, softball leagues, his name would still appear in The Post Journal; and those relatives, friends and his wife would want to buy the paper to read about it.
Journalism taught me how to write the best story possible according to textbook style. Frank taught me reality. I had to write the best story possible so people would want to buy the paper to read it. Just like any business, we are here to make money.
Though I learned something every day about sports writing and editing, the thing I enjoyed most was listening to Frank tell stories. At times I thought I was out with one of my best friends instead of a man in his late sixties. Frank told some stories that made me blush! But mainly they made me laugh. And I thought this fellow had looked gruff.
From that point it was smooth sailing with Frank at the controls. He kept filling me in on tricks of the trade that have been invaluable to me. He was always there to help and even after he retired and I took his place, he was always available to help. But of course Frank could never completely retire. He still wrote his weekly column and he wrote a New York-Pennsylvania League record book.
But more importantly than Frank’s expertise was his support. You can sometimes get pretty down in the dumps when you’re the sports editor. That is probably why he looked gruff to me the first time I saw him. Like most jobs, you never hear what you did right, but you always hear what you did wrong. Just ask an umpire or referee.
But Frank would call to discuss his column and would lead off with, “You’re doing a hell of a job, the pages look great” or “You’ve sure been busy running around covering games and taking pictures. Keep up the good work.”
Compliments are nice, but when they come from an expert, they are extra nice.
I was also nice to have an expert to call on and I called Frank often. And he was always happy to help out. Sometimes I took it for granted that I could call on Frank. When I heard of his death, I felt sad to lose a friend and an advisor. Friday morning I discovered what it’ll be like without him.
Jackie Moore had been named the new Oakland A’s manager and I knew that name rang a bell. I knew Moore had something to do with Jamestown in the old PONY League. I thought, “Frank will know.” But then I remembered I couldn’t call him.
Earlier in the week George Zaharias died. I recalled Frank saying he covered one of the world class wrestler’s matches and came up with the nickname “The Crying Greek from Cripple Creek.” That nickname stuck throughout Zaharias’ career.
I was going to call Frank and confirm the story for a column note, but suddenly remembered I couldn’t.
Frank Hyde will be missed, but with the impact he left on this area, he will never be forgotten.
But why not make sure Frank will be remembered for future generations? Second to his desk at The Post-Journal, Frank spent most of this time at College Stadium covering Jamestown’s minor league baseball games, and high school baseball and football games. Now the stadium is being renovated and it will have a new look, so why not a new name… Frank Hyde Stadium.
The only other stadium that I know of in the nation named after a sport editor is Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego. Murphy was honored because he helped San Diego become a major league sports city. Why not honor Frank Hyde because he gave the Jamestown area major league coverage?
Because he meant so much to the league, it would be nice to see the June 19 NY-P League opener between the Jamestown Expos and the Erie Cardinals played in Frank Hyde Stadium.
The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.