Clark Nealon: Houston Sportswriter DeLuxe.

Clark Nealon: He wrote what he saw.

The late Clark Nealon was a Houston sportswriter back in the time of honest reporting on the games themselves. He didn’t write to gain his readers’ accolades or ire. He wrote to tell us what he saw – what we would have seen, had we been at the particular game he was covering. The difference between Clark Nealon and today’s “pay attention to me” writers was the proverbial difference between night and day. Clark didn’t hit the pings on his typewriter keys just to get people writing into the editor about his wiseacre commentary. He wrote to give us as accurate and down-to-earth an account as he could about the specific game in progress.

I missed the privilege of ever meeting Clark Nealon in person during his lifetime, but it’s hard to have grown up having breakfast with his writings without feeling as though he were a member of the family, anyway. I grew up going to Buff Stadium as often as possible,  The rest of the time, I got to fill in the blanks from radio accounts by broadcaster Loel Passe and by the game stories in the Houston Post written by Clark Nealon. Those two men talked and wrote their way into the kitchen table conversations of Buff fans all over Houston.

There is a nice exhibit on the late Clark Nealon at the new and revived Houston Sports Museum at Finger Furniture on the Gulf Freeway. Check it out when you visit the place. I’m not for sure by any specific dates when Clark Nealon started, when he retired, or when he passed away. I only know that he did a great job while he was here and that he is sorely missed today. It was fun reading the work of someone who actually knew something about the sport he was covering – and who could write on sports without throwing his ego in the way of everything he did, as is more often the case in today’s fast-food mentality of Internet electronic sports coverage.

We also have Clark Nealon to thank for being the significant mentor to the funniest, most literate and educational  writer to ever cover sports in Houston, the great Mickey Herskowitz. The fact that both men later found honor by admission to the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame comes as no surprise. Both were consummate professionals as everyday beat writers and each is richly deserving of our fondest Houston Buff memories. Today the attention is simply focused on Nealon.

Thank you, Clark Nealon, for teaching me much about baseball – and for making breakfast about yesterday’s sports action an interlocked experience for as long as I can remember.

Addendum: I just discovered at mid-morning that David Barron has written a nice account of the Houston Sports Museum reopening at Finger Furniture on the Gulf freeway for today’s Sunday, May 2, 2010 Houston Chronicle Sports Section. Way to go, David!

Check it out.

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8 Responses to “Clark Nealon: Houston Sportswriter DeLuxe.”

  1. Bob Hulsey Says:

    Bill: According to the link below, Nealon passed away on November 30, 1992 at age 83, The brief obit said he worked for the Houston Press for five years before joining the Houston Post, from which he retired in 1974, It does not say what year he joined the Post or how long he worked there but one can use math to figure he was probably born in 1909.

    I’m surprised there was no Wikipedia page for him. Perhaps you can create one.,3955427

    • Bill McCurdy Says:


      Thanks for the additional info on Clark Nealon. I remember that he first worked for the Houston Press, but he was a Post writer when he covered the Yankees game against the Buffs in the spring of 1951. With your help, let’s put together a Wikipedia page for Clark. I too am surprised there isn’t one already.

  2. David Munger Says:

    Mr. Nealon had a memory that was second to none. I was lucky enough to have had a sit down in, it was like reliving the PAST. He was really a SPECIAL PERSON.

  3. Bill McCurdy Says:

    E-Mail Message from Mickey Herskowitz, Sun, 05/02/10, 1:03 PM:

    “Hello, Bill — Lovely piece on Clark Nealon. And thanks for the very generous mention. He certainly was my mentor, a point of strong pride to me, and instilled whatever sense of fairness and objectivity my writing may have reflected. Hope Jeff Cohen is on your distribution list. Every good wish, Mickey.”

  4. Leona Schroeder Says:

    I never met Clark Nealon, but as a young girl remember reading his
    sports reports on the Houston Buff. My dad was a huge fan of baseball
    and we lived a block from Buff Stadium in the early 50’s. We went to
    ever so many Buff games because of Buff players’ families sharing tickets. It was a great time in my life as a teen-ager.

  5. tom murrah Says:

    Back in the late 70’s/early 80’s we put together an annual
    Clark Nealon Award which went to the top high school baseball player
    in the Houston area. My guess is that during our years down
    in Victoria it probably was discontinued. I could certainly be mistaken.
    He was a fantastic person.

  6. larry joe miggins Says:

    Clark Nealon award went to Craig Reynolds from Reagan High School and was named Houston’s Top High School Athlete of 1971. In 1972 it went to John Madden from St.Thomas high school recipient of the coveted “Houston’s Outstanding Athlete” award for 1971-72 by the Athletic Committee of the Houston Chamber of Commerce. There is still a defensive award to high school football players in his honor by the Touchdown club but the Houston outstanding athlete award required that the athleter played more thank one sport. Great story and that award should still be given but muliti-sport athletes like those that played both ways in football are a dying breed. I could not even find a link for the Houston Chamber of Commerce but every other one is listed..

  7. Anthony Cavender Says:

    Bill: My brother, my Dad (who was almost as old as Clark Nealon) and I spent some time with Mr. Nealon after one of the early Houston Baseball Dinners. I believe that he covered almost every sporting event in Houston, and would be sent–usually to New York in those days–to cover the World Series. As I recall, all of the baseball writers and broadcasters who worked in that era were pretty special. We were fortunate that three daily newspapers were publishing then.
    I’d bet that the Texas State Historical Society’s quarterly journal would welcome an article along these lines. A few years ago, the journal published an article on minor league baseball in Austin.

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