Gordon Graham · 1988
Undoubtedly the most popular with the readers of any personality in the history of Lafayette journalism, Graham was with the Journal and Courier from 1928 to 1966 as sportswriter, sports editor and night editor; but after June 5, 1933, he was best known as the author of a daily sports column called “Graham Crackers.” he was possessed of an amazing memory, a tremendous interest in baseball and loyalty to Jefferson High School and Purdue University athletics. He was an expert observer and reporter of virtually all sports at all levels, and his fame was in some measures national in scope. He was a friend and confidante of many top figures in sports. He wrote his first story for the Journal and Courier August 22, 1928 and a year later he dropped out of Purdue as a student to become sports editor. After December 1934 he also was night news editor. Until failing health forced him to miss a Purdue-Miami football game in the fall of 1965, Graham had personally covered 329 consecutive Purdue games home and away, and could recall principal facts of nearly all of them. His Purdue football and basketball coverage alone took him from coast to coast. Despite his loyalties, he wrote with great fairness and insight. Another attribute was a remarkable sense of humor, a trait he appreciated in others. He frequented the Chesterfield, a tavern across 6th from the Journal and Courier where both his drinking and storytelling were legendary. His services were often sought by larger papers but he said he had “the best job in the country.”
Born in Cedarville, Ohio, in 1909. His father was pastor of Central Presbyterian Church. Young Gordon collected sports magazines and record books, settled many an argument. Graham helped organize semi-pro baseball leagues in the 1930s and 1940s in which Lafayette had teams; helped get professional baseball in the 1950s; covered baseball spring training 17 years; helped organize and direct Golden Gloves boxing competition during the 1930s; was a member of the AP football and basketball rankings committee; AP All-American selection committee; was on the nominations committee for the Indiana High School Basketball Hall of Fame.
In January 1950, disgusted with the performance of a promising Purdue basketball team, Graham crusaded for the ouster of head coach Mel Taube, a most uncharacteristic move. Taube called it “a little bit lousier than Pearl Harbor” but did resign after the season.
In 1959 he was honored at a testimonial dinner by 400 townspeople and given a new car. In 1960 and 1966 he was voted Indiana’s top sportswriter and was honored at a national program in Salisbury, North Carolina. He made 10 trips with Big Ten Skywriters. In late May 1966, Graham was made a Sagamore of the Wabash by his friend, Governor Roger D. Branigin, a Lafayette attorney. Graham was a charter member of the Football Writers Association of America.
Many tributes poured in after his death at age 57 on June 20, 1966. His health had begun failing in 1964 when he had a kidney removed. He suffered a severe heart attack June 4, 1965, and was hospitalized the last time on June 4, 1966. Death was attributed to failure of his remaining kidney.