Hall of Fame sports writer Leonard Koppett dies at 79
Monday, June 23, 2003
(06-23) 16:41 PDT SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Leonard Koppett, a Hall of Fame sports writer and author whose career spanned nearly six decades in New York and the San Francisco Bay area, has died at age 79.
He died Sunday of an apparent heart attack at Davies Symphony Hall, where he and his wife were to attend a concert, according to his son, David.
"He was one of the most innovative, knowledgeable and astute thinkers in the game of baseball," said Ross Newhan, the Hall of Fame baseball writer for the Los Angeles Times. "I think with all of the years he spent writing about the game, he brought a fresh perspective to complex subjects."
Koppett's sports writing career began in New York when Joe DiMaggio was roaming center field for the Yankees and continued when he moved to Northern California in 1973, where he wrote about current stars such as Barry Bonds.
He was elected into the writers' wing of the Hall of Fame in 1992.
Born in the Soviet Union, Koppett moved with his family to New York -- one block from Yankee Stadium -- when he was 5. A 1944 Columbia graduate, he worked for the New York Herald Tribune and New York Post before moving to The New York Times in 1963.
In 1973, he became the Times' first West Coast sports correspondent. Later, he became editor of the Peninsula Times Tribune, after which he wrote a general interest column for the paper. After he left the Times Tribune in 1993, he continued to write columns about baseball for newspapers around the country.
He also was a columnist for the Sporting News from 1965-84.
Koppett wrote 16 books, including "The Thinking Fan's Guide to Baseball" and "24 Seconds To Shoot," a history of the NBA.
Besides his son, David, Koppett is survived by his wife, Suzanne, and his daughter, Katherine.