Legendary sports columnist Blackie Sherrod was the first honoree named to the Texas Newspaper Hall of Fame who was known primarily as a writer.
From his first job with the Temple Telegram following his return from World War II until his retirement from the Dallas Morning News in 2008, William Forest “Blackie” Sherrod not only was one of the greatest writers in the business, but he was a mentor of great writers.
In a 2012 column in the Dallas Morning News, Kevin Sherrington wrote: “Blackie Sherrod isn’t Texas’ most famous sportswriter. Dan Jenkins holds that distinction. But Jenkins will also tell you that Blackie’s the best…” As an editor, Sherrod hired Jenkins, Bud Shrake, Jerre Todd, Gary Cartwright and a host of other pressbox heavyweights. And in the opinion of some editors, sports wasn’t even what Sherrod did best.
Sherrod attended Baylor University for one year (1937-38), but transferred to Howard Payne University, where he graduated in May 1941 with a BA in English. He served in the United States Navy during World War II as a torpedo plane gunner in the Pacific,
completing 22 missions and earning three medals. Following the close of the war in 1945, he returned to Texas and began writing for the Temple Telegram in 1946.
The following year, he took a job at the Fort Worth Press, where he stayed until 1957.
“In 1958 (Times Herald publisher Felix) McKnight made the master stroke that transformed Dallas’ newspapering, bringing sports columnist Blackie Sherrod to Dallas from the Fort Worth Press,” Dick Hitt wrote in Texas Monthly in 1992. “Sherrod, revered for his witty writing, had an equal talent for management and journalistic insight.”
While his primary occupation was covering sports, his work as a journalist also included national events. For example, Sherrod reported on the 1960 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and the 1969 Apollo moon landing.
Then in 1985, Sherrod jumped again, this time to the Dallas Morning News.
Former News publisher Burl Osborne called the hiring, “one of the symbolic events that occur in the history of an institution. That was a turning point.”
Sherrod continued his writing there until his 2003 retirement. He wrote regular columns, including his Sunday “Scattershooting” section, as well as authoring several books.
A 16-time winner of the Texas Sportswriter of the Year Award, his lengthy list of honors includes the national Red Smith Award for lifetime achievement, a National Headliners Club Award, inclusion in the National Sportscasters-Sportswriters Hall of Fame, and an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Howard Payne.
Sherrod was inducted into the Texas Newspaper Hall of Fame during ceremonies in San Marcos in 2011 as one of four members of the Hall’s fifth class of honorees.