The press credential: A story

Weldon ticket
Ticket printed in Fort Smith, Ark., to 1934 college football game

My friend Mike Burrows in Denver finds and sends out all sorts of sport-related photos and news stories he comes across.

Mike and I worked together at the Southwest Times Record in Fort Smith back in the late ’70s. Today, he is retired from the Denver Post, and I’m retired from The Oklahoman.

Anyway, this morning Mike sent out a photo of a ticket to an Alabama-Mississippi State football game from back in 1934. What caught my eye was the name of the Fort Smith company that printed the ticket, which was in small type at the very bottom.

The ticket and the name of the printing company brought back a vivid memory from my SWTR days.

One day in roughly 1982, the paper’s editor, Jack Moseley, abruptly called me into his office and shut the door behind me. I was the paper’s Sports Editor at the time.

“Did you give someone a press credential to a recent baseball game in Houston between the Astros and St. Louis Cardinals?” he asked.

Why, no I didn’t. Why?

Turns out that someone with a press credential from the SWTR showed up in the press box and disrupted a radio broadcast at the Cardinals-Astros game in the Astrodome.

Apparently, the SWTR “reporter” helped himself to the free beer served to reporters. And overindulged, to be nice.

Then he decided he wanted to meet Cardinals announcers Jack Buck and Mike Shannon.

So, he wandered around the press box level until he found a door that led into the radio booth from which the St. Louis announcers were calling the game.

The “reporter” burst into the room unannounced and caused a commotion. During the game. While Buck and Shannon were attempting to call it.

Needless to say, security was called and the guy was escorted out of the stadium.  Astros officials called Moseley demanding to know why he sent this guy to cover the game.

That’s when Moseley summoned me into his office.

Since neither of us knew what happened, an investigation began and soon revealed the SWTR “reporter” actually worked at the Fort Smith firm that printed the press credential. He merely added his own (real) name on the credential and showed up at the Astrodome.

Comedy ensued, I suppose.

It’s a funny story today, but there was nothing funny to me about this cringeworthy story 40 years ago.

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jimstafford

I'm an Oklahoma City-based freelance writer with interests in Oklahoma startup community, Apple Inc, OKC Thunder & Texas Rangers.

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