Sadly, Bud died Friday at this sad time when even the nation's best newspapers seem to be holding on by a thread. So, I suppose Bud Shrake's as good a representative as anyone of a whole era in sports print journalism.
After all, he worked for the man,
Of course, Shrake had one of those lives that couldn't be restricted to the friendly confines of the sports world. He wrote movies and novels, the last of which was entitled
Bud was tall and laconic and carried something of Texas wherever he went. He was very good indeed with the ladies. He was going out with a stripper at
As Texas as Shrake was, he and Jenkins longed for the big-time, New York. Laguerre brought Jenkins in first, Shrake later, 1965. They fit right in, largely because
Laguerre conducted a lot of business at the bar, and when his favorite closed he chose Shrake for the magazine's most crucial assignment: find a proper new watering hole. Among other things, the chosen joint couldn't have a juke box, and had to give every drinker the fourth one on the house. It took Shrake a couple weeks and a careful testing of about a hundred bars, but, ace reporter that he was, he found the saloon that pleased the boss.
Laguerre always called the last drink of the evening the ABF. That, you see, followed one for the road. It meant: the Absolute Bloody Final. I learned of Bud's death, reading a newspaper on an airplane. I called the flight attendant over and asked for another drink. "But we'll be landing soon," she said.
"I know," I said, "but I have to have an ABF for Bud Shrake."