A. Douglas Brown, 66, sportswriter for Sun

October 21, 1997|By Mike Klingaman | Mike Klingaman,SUN STAFF

A. Douglas Brown, a veteran sportswriter for The Sun and The Evening Sun who covered all of Baltimore's professional teams in nearly four decades of reporting, died Sunday of cancer at his home in Pasadena. He was 66.

Mr. Brown was remembered by colleagues as a consummate professional with a reputation for even-tempered reporting, no matter the subject.

"Doug gave his all to every assignment, whether it was a high school game or the World Series," said Bill Tanton, who was his sports editor at The Evening Sun for more than 20 years. "He'd be the last reporter out of that locker room, and when the story came in to the desk, you knew you had the goods."

Three weeks before his death, Mr. Brown batted out his final story about the Spirit, Baltimore's indoor soccer team.

"His only request was that we allow him to work as long as he could," said Jack Gibbons, assistant managing editor for sports at The Sun. "It was as if we were doing him the favor when, in fact, he was serving others with stories that enhanced the section."

Earlier this month, Mr. Brown reminisced about a 38-year career in which he covered every sport from football to fencing.

"Most of the time, it wasn't terribly serious," he said. "There was lots of room for humor, to poke gentle fun at people."

Once, in describing a rising young tennis star, he wrote that the name Vitas Gerulaitis "sounds like the newest mouthwash."

Mostly, he turned out solid, yeomanlike stories, said Michael Davis, former assistant managing editor for sports at The Evening Sun. Miss a deadline? Never.

"Doug's devotion to his craft, his spotless record of reporting and his firm but compassionate pursuit of truth made him a standout," said Davis. "He wasn't a great wordsmith. He was a great populist."

From 1959 through 1966, Mr. Brown covered the Orioles, earning kudos from players and club officials.

"Doug was a very fair writer. We appreciated that," said Boog Powell, former Orioles slugger recovering from colon cancer.

Born in Lansdowne, Pa., he was a 1949 graduate of Lansdowne High School, where he starred in football, wrestling and baseball. At Dartmouth College, he was a diver on the swimming team and sports editor of the campus newspaper, graduating in 1953 with a degree in botany.

He served in the Army for two years as a lifeguard, then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University. He joined The Evening Sun in 1957 and moved to The Sun in 1991 when the two staffs merged.

Mr. Brown left the paper briefly in 1970 for a high-paying government public relations post. He hated the job. Two and a half years later he was back in sports, returning with a column that began, "As I was saying before I was interrupted "

In 1967, he was named Maryland Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Two years ago, he was inducted into the Maryland Swimming Hall of Fame (writers' annex).

"My only regret is that I smoked cigarettes for 37 years," he said recently.

He is survived by his wife of 21 years, the former Nancy Lang; three sons, Jeffrey L. Brown of Towson, K. Scott Brown of Catonsville and Keith D. Brown of San Diego; five daughters, Elizabeth S. Brown of Catonsville, Jennifer R. Seitz of San Diego, Jill C. Springer of Sykesville, Wendy E. Bradford of Severna Park and Dori L. Krohn of Cape St. Claire; a sister, Jean B. Broadbelt of Greenville, N.C.; and 12 grandchildren.

A memorial service is planned for 2: 30 p.m. Monday at Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church, 611 Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd., Severna Park. Visitation with the family will precede the service, at 1: 30.

Pub Date: 10/21/97

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