The Obit For Joe Durso

Longtime sports writer Joseph Durso dies at 80

January 3, 2005, 9:30 AM EST

NEW YORK (AP) _ Joseph Durso, a sports writer who worked for The New York Times for 51 years and wrote many books on sports history, died at 80.

Durso, who lived in Nissequogue on Long Island and retired in 2001, died of cancer on Friday at University Hospital in Stony Brook, his wife, Margaret, told the Times.

Durso regularly covered the Mets, the Yankees and the Kentucky Derby. In the last decade, he wrote on thoroughbred racing.

In 1995, he was recognized by the Baseball Writers Association of America for his contributions to baseball writing with its J.G. Taylor Spink Award. He is among the writers and broadcasters honored at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Durso co-authored "My Luke and I" with Eleanor Gehrig, the widow of Yankees Lou Gehrig. The book was made into a television film in 1978, starring Blythe Danner, Edward Herrmann and Patricia Neal.

He also wrote biographies of Casey Stengel, Joe DiMaggio and John McGraw; a memoir of the Yankees years, with Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford; histories of Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden.

Born in New York City and raised in upstate New York and Pennsylvania, Durso went to work for The Newark Evening News in 1947. He then did radio in New York and left in 1950 for the Times, becoming a sports writer in 1964.

Years later, he did sports commentary that was syndicated by a Times-owned radio station. He also was a visiting professor at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism for many years.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by sons Peter, David and Christopher from his first marriage, stepson Joseph Darnell and stepdaughter Elise Boehm.