A celebrated journalistic for 50-plus years, Dick Schaap’s
media were radio, television, newspapers, magazines and
books. Upon his sudden passing, ESPN, The Magazine wrote:
Dick Schaap was known "for his humorous, often brutally
honest approach to sports".
Among Schaap’s major media assignments: he was editor of Sport
Magazine 1973-77; featured on NBC’s “Nightly News” and “The
Today Show” 1971-80; and was an ABC-TV theater critic for several years.
His broad journalistic expertise resulted in his being the only person qualfied
to vote for both Tony (theater) and Heisman (college football) awards.
As host of "ESPN Magazine's Sports Reporters" and ESPN Classic's "Shaap:
One on One", he was seen internationally on cable TV. He was also heard
on ESPN Radio's "The Sporting Life" (with son Jeremy), and was a
frequent contributor to ESPN The Magazine.
The journalist who once coined the term “Fun City” in describing
Manhattan began the career he called a “fantasy” as a high school
junior, writing a weekly sports column Scanning the Sports Scene for the Long
Island Leader. He also found time to work at the Nassau (NY) Daily
apprenticing for future Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Jimmy Breslin.
From 1959-63, Schaap was a writer/senior editor for Newsweek Magazine, editor
at Parade Magazine, city editor-then columnist at the New York Herald Tribune and World
Journal Tribune 1964-66.
He authored 33 books (mostly sports-themed), including the seminal sports best-seller
Instant Replay (with Jerry Kramer). His “As told to Dick Schaap” autobiographies
include: baseball stars Hank Aaron and Tom Seaver, basketball star Dave DeBusschere,
football icons Joe Namath, Joe Montana and Bo Jackson (the best-selling autobiography
ever, Bo Knows Bo), and actor-comedian Billy Crystal. Schaap’s non-sports
books include “RFK”, the biography of Robert F. Kennedy, “.44”,
with Jimmy Breslin, about infamous Son of Sam serial killer David Berkowicz,
and “Turned On”, about upper middle-class drug abuse.
Schaap’s autobiography, Flashing Before My Eyes: “, was published
shortly before his death.
His honors were many. Schaap’s profiles of Olympian Tom Waddell and comedian
Sid Caesar for ABC’s “20/20” series earned him television
Emmys in 1983 and 1988. He won an Emmy for sports reporting in 1986 for four
features that aired on ABC’s “World News Tonight”. And, he
won Emmy Awards for writing in 1991 and 1994. Schaap was awarded a CableACE
Award as Best Commentator/Analyst for his work on ESPN, and the Women’s
Sports Foundation honored him “for excellence in covering women’s
Dick Schaap graduated from Cornell University in 1955 and attended the Columbia
University Graduate School of Journalism on a Grantland Rice Memorial Fellowship.