I realized recently that while I did put together a book of the best business writing I've read through 2014, I hadn't done any compilation on best writing not about business since my Jan 2014 post covering stories from 2013. So... here's my favorite sports writing read and posted on in 2014:
"‘OMG. You’re So Much More Than Awesome’" by Michael Powell for the New York Times - on time he spent in rural North Carolina with Kevin Bumgarner, who was proudly watching his son Madison Bumgarner make history with his World Series pitching performance against the Royals.
"The right thing to do vs. the state of Florida" by Michael Kruse for SB Nation - on the death of 18-year-old Devaughn Darling during a 2001 Florida State University off-field practice and what's occurred since. Darling's family sued the state of Florida over the circumstances of Darling's death and agreed to a $2M no-fault settlement, with $1.8M of it still not paid to them as it's up to the discretion of the Florida state legislature whether they actually pay the settlement money. It was a maddening piece to read at times due to both the money and details around and after Darling's death, but Kruse wrote the story incredibly well.
"The Umpire's Son" by Lisa Pollak for the Baltimore Sun from 1987 - a Pulitzer Prize winning story on MLB umpire John Hirschbeck and his family. In 1992 they learned of the rare genetic disease Adrenoleukodystrophy, or ALD, that would claim the life of eight-year-old John Drew Hirschbeck and leave his younger brother Michael afflicted with the disease, along with his two sisters as carriers that could pass it along to any males they might eventually give birth to. It's an empathic story from Pollak that becomes even more profound with the Hirschbeck family's tragic news from April 2014.
"A Long Journey to Spring" by Chris Jones for ESPN The Magazine - on Kansas City Royals coach Mike Jirschele, who Jones writes of having endured enormous family tragedy with three brothers dying from muscular dystrophy and this season has his first big-league job after 36 years in the minors.
"Precious Memories" by Tommy Tomlinson for ESPN - on former North Carolina men's basketball coaching legend Dean Smith and powerful reading on the toll that Dementia takes on people and their loved ones.
"Lockerbie: A story beyond tragedy, a story of curling and Olympic pride" by Jeff Passan for Yahoo Sports - on a town, it's painful past, current Olympic heroes and a writer wanting to tell it's story.
"Eggs and wisdom" by Chris Jones for ESPN The Magazine - on the late college basketball coach Rick Majerus and his former player, Keith Van Horn.
"The writer and the puzzle: Richard Ben Cramer couldn't crack A-Rod" by S.L. Price for Sports Illustrated on the late writer and his attempt to write about Alex Rodriguez and boy, does Price ever write it well.
"Crews, Olin families persevering 20 years later" by Anthony Castrovince for MLB.com - the piece was written as a letter to the Cleveland Indians pitchers Tim Crews and Steve Olin who died 20 years ago in a boating accident during Spring Training. It was really well done and covers both the lives of Crews and Olin and what's occurred since with their respective families.