Induction Year: 1971
Atlanta Journal; Cleveland News; The Tennessean, Nashville
New York Tribune;New York Herald-Tribune
A Tennessee farm boy who knew what it was to work 12 hours a day in the fields, Henry Grantland Rice never outgrew his staggering capacity for hard work. He was at his typewriter when death came July 13, 1954. In his career of more than a half century he estimated that he had written 67,000,000 words, including 22,000 columns, 7,000 sets of verse, and more than 1,000 magazine articles, plus radio broadcasts for 32 seasons. But for Rice it apparently was easy because he was combining his two great loves--writing and sports.
Rice was born in Murfreesboro November 1, 1880, and grew up there and outside Nashville where his family owned property. Although he worked in the fields as a youngster, his family was in a position to send him to the best preparatory schools and later to Vanderbilt.
Despite a major in Greek and Latin and a Phi Beta Kappa key, Rice was interested in fields far removed from the classics. He had played football in college and after graduation barnstormed with a baseball team.
But he gave that up at his family's request and joined the sports desk of the Nashville Daily News. After working for a magazine in Washington, the Atlanta Journal, and the Cleveland News, he became the sports editor of the Nashville Tennessean in 1907.
In 1910 he went to the New York Evening Mail and three years later moved to the New York Tribune, later the Herald-Tribune, where he remained until his death. Here he gained his fame as the most notable and most beloved sportswriter of the twentieth century. At the time of his death his column, "The Sportlight," appeared in 88 newspapers. His philosophy left its impact on his craft and his generation.