My Fifty Years of Headlines, Heroes, and Heartaches
Publication: May 21
6 x 9
Ray Didinger on following his dream from the bleachers to the Hall of FameRead the Introduction (pdf).
Ray Didinger opens his lively memoir Finished Business with the Philadelphia Eagles’ upset win in Super Bowl LII. When the Eagles finally hoist the Lombardi Trophy, Didinger does his best to straddle the emotions of a working reporter and a long-suffering Philly fan. His ability to do so is why he has built up such a loyal following.
Didinger began rooting for the Eagles as a kid, hanging out in his grandfather’s bar in Southwest Philadelphia. He spent his summers at the team’s training camp in Hershey. It was there he met his idol, flanker Tommy McDonald. He would later write a play, Tommy and Me, about their friendship and his efforts to see McDonald enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Didinger has been covering the Eagles as a newspaper columnist or TV analyst since 1970. Over the years, he wrote sports for the Philadelphia Bulletin and the Philadelphia Daily News. He later produced Emmy Award–winning documentaries for NFL Films before transitioning to sports talk radio and TV analysis.
In five decades, across multiple media platforms, he has interviewed everyone from Hank Aaron to Wayne Gretzky, Muhammad Ali to Julius Erving, Jack Nicklaus to Mike Schmidt, and has written film scripts for Hollywood stars such as Bruce Willis and Alec Baldwin. He went to the White House with the U.S. Olympic team and even explored the bizarre world of professional wrestling.
His stories, told in his familiar, breezy style, capture his enthusiasm for sports and his affection for the Philadelphia fans who still mourn the pennant that eluded the Phillies in 1964. Didinger has become synonymous with Philadelphia sports, and his memoir is as passionate as an autumn Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
" Sports fans will enjoy the stories Didinger tells in his book. His accounts go beyond a mere tally of wins and losses and provide a glimpse of the personalities of the players on the field and the owners in their offices as they strive to generate enthusiasm and support of their teams. Anyone who follows sports, not just in the Philadelphia area, should find this book of interest."
“I couldn't put the book down. You will laugh, you will cry. . . . You will understand why I feel Ray Didinger is the most respected Philadelphia sports journalist of my lifetime."
—Kevin Negandhi, ESPN SportsCenter anchor and Philadelphia native
“For longer than most Philadelphians have been rooting for the Eagles, Ray Didinger has been writing about them better than anyone else. . . . In his work, football becomes a metaphor for life.”
—Mark Bowden, best-selling author of Black Hawk Down
“Ray’s literary skills combined with his integrity, due diligence, and work ethic opened the door for him to enter any and all sports sanctuaries.”
—Dick Vermeil, Eagles Hall of Fame coach and Super Bowl–winning coach with the St. Louis Rams
“Ray Didinger captures what the city of Philadelphia is about.”
—Edward G. Rendell, former Governor of Pennsylvania
Table of Contents
1. The Bottomless Well
2. Ray's Tavern
3. "That's for the Players"
4. The Broad Street Bullies
5. High School Harry
6. The Big Doolies of the World
7. "It's All Gene Mauch's Fault"
8. March Madness, Indeed
9. The Peddler's Son
10. Clown Show
11. The Good Doctor
12. Michael Jack
13. Butterflies and Raging Bulls
15. Tell Me a Story
16. Time's Yours
17. Tommy and Me
18. The Philly Special