by Latrell Velker and Caroline Smith
During WWII, after America had joined the war, The Sporting News decided to do something special for the American Soldiers going to fight. The Sporting News put together a tabloid edition of their paper to send both to army camps and overseas to the soldiers who had already shipped out. The paper was extremely well received, and the tabloid format was incredibly popular. The Spinks received hundreds of letters thanking them for their tabloid, detailing how news of sports back home really boosted morale. Former WWI soldiers, sports writers, and current paper owners alike commended the tabloid for how wonderful it was for the Sporting News to come up with the Overseas Edition.
On July 8th of 1958, Casey Stengel spoke in front of the Senate about the Anti-Trust and Monopoly subcommittee hearings. The bill was reportedly brought to the Senate by Spink as mentioned in a letter in March of ‘58. Antitrust laws are known for preventing trusts and monopolies and back in the late 50s, the New York Yankees were gradually becoming a monopoly. After the hearing, Spink made sure to have the entire hearing published in The Sporting News. Spink’s ideas are very respected and there have even been letters sent to him stating that his magazine has been wonderful for the sport of Baseball.
Spink wrote to Mr. Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox about a failed plan to have the opportunity to meet President Eisenhower. The letter is dated on August 16, 1960 and Spink has an angry undertone in the letter in question. Mr. Williams was supposed to get an award in a meeting and it had never happened because of scheduling issues and the President had left to go eat lunch. Another figure, Calvin Griffith, talked to spink how Williams, “screwed up,” and explained a congressman had been working with them in order to establish this meeting with the President.
The correspondence that Johnson Spink has with Richard A. Gephardt, the Congressman for his district, occurs in April of 1980. In their conversations back and forth they discuss the changes that planned to occur in an upcoming vote for the removal of postal services on the weekend. In Spink’s correspondence to the congressman he was adamantly opposed to the projected change. Citing that this change would have a negative impact on his business practices as a good amount of his business relied on the shipment by mail of papers on those days. Congressman Gephardt responded to Spink’s correspondence with a generalized response. Stating that while he could sympathize with the effects to local business, he would still be continuing to vote for the postal service removing service days on weekends. It could be considered a general response due to on two separate (which can be seen in the dates provided in the documents) occasions Gephardt sent the same copy of response to Spink. Therefore, this demonstrates that this response was one that was commonly sent out to a lot of people and not a note that was specifically sent out to Spink and the Sporting News. What can be gathered from this based on the documents provided is the importance for the Sporting News, and businesses in general, keeping up with the legal and social changes over time which could have a negative impact on their business.