Scenes From More Than a Century of Sports

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As journalists from the Sports desk began other assignments across the newsroom — and, in a few cases, roles at The Athletic — Times Insider took a look back at the history of the desk. New York Times Sports has been home to a distinguished lineup of columnists — among them Arthur Daley, Red Smith, Dave Anderson and Selena Roberts — as well as reporters like Alan Schwarz, whose reporting on the deadly effects of concussions in the National Football League led to reforms at all levels of the game.

Here are five occasions when Times sportswriters and columnists went the extra mile for a story.

Walter Fletcher joined The Times’s staff in 1927 soon after graduating from City College of New York, where he was the campus correspondent for The Times and The New York Post. At The Times, Fletcher, a lifelong dog enthusiast, turned his interest into a beat: covering the dog-show world.

Over the more than 40 editions of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show he covered in his more than 60 years writing for The Times, he demonstrated a knack for, well, being right — correctly predicting the Best in Show winner in each of the seven years leading up to his retirement in 1995 (take that, Paul the Octopus).

“He cared about the sport and knew about it,” Roger Caras, the president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, told The Times in 2000. “He had a sense of humor. I once called him the Walter Lippmann of the hydrant set, and he loved it.”

Red Smith wrote for The New York Herald Tribune for 21 years and was a nationally syndicated columnist before he arrived at The Times in 1971, at age 66. So when he took over the Sports of The Times column, he essentially had carte blanche to cover whatever he wanted.

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