Through nearly four decades, five presidential administrations and seemingly countless Super Bowls and World Series, NPR listeners could depend on at least one thing in the ever-unpredictable world of athletics: Frank Deford. A mainstay on Morning Edition, the Hall of Fame sportswriter was public radio’s scholar of sports for some 37 years before hanging up his cleats earlier this year.
Deford died Sunday at the age of 78 at his home in Key West, Fla., his wife confirmed to NPR. He leaves behind an astonishing 1,656 commentaries for NPR.
“The wonderful thing about delivering sports commentary on NPR was that because it has such a broad audience, I was able to reach people who otherwise had little or no interest in sport — especially as an important part of our human culture,” Deford said upon his retirement earlier this year.
“Nothing made me happier than to hear from literally hundreds of listeners who would tell me how much the commentaries revealed about a subject they otherwise had never cared much for. I’ll forever be grateful to NPR that they gave me such extraordinary freedom. … It was 37 years of a fond relationship.”
This post will be updated.