Tuesday, February 08, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: As a Matter of Fact
Take Bob Coyne, for instance. He did sports cartoons for 40-some years in several Boston papers, and he had a pleasant if not terribly glamorous style. He chronicled all the great Boston sports teams from the 1920s into the 70s, and was, I presume, beloved of sports page readers in Beantown in his day. But today if his name was the answer to a cartooning trivia question, we'd all shout, "Unfair -- NO ONE has heard of that guy!"
Anyhow, enough maudlin sentimentalizing. In addition to Bob Coyne's regular sports cartoons in the Boston Post, in the late 20s and early 30's he did this daily sports-oriented Believe It or Not-type feature titled As a Matter of Fact. There doesn't appear to have ever been an attempt to syndicate it, though maybe I'm wrong since they did bother to adorn each one with a copyright symbol. Coyne did a really good job of picking his oddball facts, hitting all the major sports regularly and plenty of the minor ones. And his factoids are entertaining, too, not just a boring recitation of batting averages, rebounds and rushing yards.
I don't know how long Coyne stuck with this feature. My samples are all from 1929-30, but for all I know it might have run for quite awhile. I did do quite a bit of spot-indexing of the Boston Post, but somehow must have glossed over this diminutive feature.
Ten years later the Coyne family had added three more children; they lived at 59 Vine Street. Harold signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918; he was a student at "Holy Cross College" [College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts].
In the 1920 census, the Coynes lived at 59 Preston Road; Harold was an artist working at an engraving company. In the late 1920s Harold signed his cartoons, "Bob Coyne".
Harold married Helen in 1929 according to the 1930 census. The couple lived at 250 Brattle Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His occupation was cartoonist at a newspaper.
Coyne passed away on October 3, 1976. Many newspapers used the Associated Press report.
Harold V. "Bob" Coyne Dies; Boston Sports Cartoonist
Harold V. "Bob" Coyne, of Cambridge, whose sports cartoons adorned
Boston newspapers for 47 years, died Monday at a nursing home after
a long illness. He was 78.
Coyne, who covered a broad spectrum of sports, produced 15,000 pen
and ink drawings, some of them ultimately going to Baseball's Hall of
Fame at Cooperstown, N.Y., others prized by individuals as gifts.
His first newspaper job was with The Boston Globe, but he soon moved
to the Boston Post where his work won him the job of sports cartoonist
In 1955, Coyne came to the old Boston Record where he produced
more than 5,000 cartoons. He retired in May 1975 from the Boston
Herald American and Sunday Herald Advertiser.
He was a Cambridge native who showed an early talent and love for
sports, especially baseball and football.
Coyne leaves his widow, Helen; two brothers and a sister.
A funeral mass was planned Thursday morning at Sacred Heart
Church in Watertown, with burial in Westview Cemetery in Lexington.