Even though the Washington Post had a new owner, things were tough financially for the paper in the depth of the Depression in 1933, the last year Washington had a baseball team in the World Series.
The Post, formerly owned by Edward (Ned) McLean, had just been sold at a bankruptcy auction to Eugene Meyer.
The other papers in town including the Times, the Herald and the Star, all hired famous baseball figures like Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and John McGraw to help them cover the Series against the New York Giants.
Actually it was a bit of a ruse. The legendary ballplayers had ‘ghostwriters’ who in fact were sportswriters grinding out copy under someone else’s name. Babe Ruth’s ghostwriter was Ford Frick of the New York American who later became president of the National League and then Commissioner of Major League Baseball.
Though Eugene Meyer brought significant financial backing to the struggling Post, the paper rightly thought that hiring these ‘ghostwriters’ was a waste of money.
Instead, Meyer prevailed on his young sports editor, Shirley Povich, to pen an ad for the paper’s forthcoming Series coverage.
Joe DiMaggio, Shirley Povich, and Yogi Berra
Here’s the ad, as published in the classic “Shirley Povich All Those Mornings at the Post,” the fascinating 2005 update of the original 1969 Povich book by former Post sports editor George Solomon, David Povich, Maury Povich and Lynn Povich:
The Post Takes Pleasure In Announcing Mahatma Gandhi, Aimie Semple McPherson, Col. Lindbergh, The King of England and ‘Machine Gun’ Kelley, Will Not Cover The World Series For The Post…
No Ghost Writers Will Haunt the Pages Of The Post. The Spooks Will Be Missing. But The Facts Will Be There.