Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith (September 25 1905 in Green Bay, Wisconsin – January 15 1982 in Stamford, Connecticut) was an American sportswriter who rose to become one of America's most widely read sports columnists.
After graduating from Green Bay East High School, site of Packers home games until 1957, Smith moved on to the University of Notre Dame. After graduation, he worked for the Milwaukee Sentinel, St. Louis Journal, and Philadelphia Record.
After 18 years, Smith joined the New York Herald Tribune. He cemented his reputation with the Herald-Trib, as his column was widely read and often syndicated. When the paper folded in 1966, he became a freelance writer. He joined the New York Times in 1971 as a contract writer. By this time, his reputation was secured as one of the foremost sportswriters in America.
During his time with the Times, Smith garnered many awards. In 1976, he was the first sportswriter to win the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. He also received the J. G. Taylor Spink Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976. Furthermore, the Associated Press awarded him the first Red Smith Award for "outstanding contributions to sports journalism."
Smith died at the age 76 of heart failure. Red Smith Middle School in Green Bay is named in his honor. Also named in his honor is the Red Smith Handicap, a race for Thoroughbred horses run at Belmont Park on Long Island, New York.
"There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein." [p. 7, No More Rejections: 50 Secrets to Writing A Manuscript That Sells, by Alice Orr, Writer's Digest, Cincinnati, 2004]
Red's son, Terence Smith, went on to be a journalist at The New York Times, CBS News, PBS, and NPR.