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Christmas 1968

December 25, 2008 | 10:00 am

The Pueblo crew arrives in San Diego.
Note the bylines: Chuck Hillinger and Bob Rawitch!

My good friend Eric Malnic, retired reporter who's now recovering from surgery, often talks about the other distinguished rewrite folks at The Times and their techniques. One of the people he respects the most is the late Dial Torgerson, who was killed covering the war in Nicaragua.

Eric often talks about using a "Dial Torgerson graph" that appears high in a long roundup (usually a fire story or a weather story) as a capsule of what's ahead. At left, here's a perfect example from Torgerson's 1968 Christmas story. --lrh

1968_1225_sports The Times' Bob Oates thought he found the perfect man to become the next commissioner of baseball: Vin Scully.

Oates, a longtime football writer, seemed a surprising choice to write what basically was an opinion piece. The story should have been labeled as a commentary, but the reader was left a bit confused. Why was this a story? Maybe he had some inside info? Despite all that, it's hard to argue with the endorsement. Scully certainly would have been a wonderful spokesman for the game.

"He would bring to the commissioner's office a first-class mind as well as the self-confidence to act when necessary and the self-control to abstain from action in other circumstances," Oates wrote.

--Keith Thursby