It Was A Merry Christmas in 1974

Dan-Hruby-Merry-Christmasby Dan Hruby, Sports Editor, San Jose Mercury News, December 25, 1974

During his time as a sports editor at the San Jose Mercury News, our friend Dan Hruby wrote a Christmas Poem each year. In honor of celebrating family, friends, and annual traditions, we’re sharing his poem from 1974.


Christmas is here and the chilly wind sings,
‘Tis time to reflect on people and things;
Of games and athletes – all battlin’ inflation,
And non-elected leaders guiding the nation.

The Raiders are emitting Super Bowl feelers.
Let’s not let Pittsburgh become the Stealers;
Quarterback’s the key – we mean Mr. Stabler,
At falling down while passing, no one’s abler.

If Nolan’s Niners can pick their QB by June,
Next time they’ll escape such early ruin;
Ali wowed the world, not to mention Zaire,
He numbed Foreman with a punch and a stare.

Secretariat went to the farm on romantic hire,
His virility in doubt (but now call him Sire);
The Shrine game’s set at Standford, quite near,
The West has to do better than last year.

S.J. Staters “welcome back” Darryl Rogers,
Forget all those Huskies – rain dodgers;
A 8-3-1 season gave SJS backers a boost,
Now for a new stadium in which to roost.

Santa Clara Broncos will open their new arena,
A thrill to Malley, Williams and Taormina;
Christiansen loved that Big Game field goal,
But he prefers a rose-filled and sealed bowl.

California’s Bear eleven rose from the ashes,
On Bartkowski’s aerials and Muncie’s dashes;
SJCC Jaguar footballers and Awalt High,
Triumph after triumph – it was do or die.

The Warriors – reaching from doormat to throne,
Keep Barry healthy and watch enemies moan;
Mieuli took a backseat and Vertlieb the wheel,
Attles has them playing with fire and zeal.

The Giants will bring in Thomas and Murcer,
And pray attendance doesn’t get worser;
Catfish has Finley in lots of hot water,
As he tries to make more loot than he oughter.

Give Charlie credit – he won the ball of wax,
Those mouthy Dodgers were given the ax;
San Jose Speedway’s for sale, but ’till it’s sold,
Wheels will be turning, and raking in the gold.

Hail the Quakes, behind Mandaric the Magician,
Berg did a job, like a turned-on electrician;
They proved they were not off their rocker,
Predicting full stadiums to see soccer.

Gal’s sports – no longer on prayer and a wing,
Thanks to Libbers and Billie Jean King;
The Crosby has moved to January 23rd,
(Sans the weatherman’s okay would be absurd).

To sports publicists Degnon, Cook and Cavalli,
Helpful to the press, radio and “teli”,
To trainers, equipment men, just plain jocks,
A hello to referees and timers with clocks.

So Mercury-News sports writers do carol,
Of yuletide greetings (hear Duino and Merrill);
And Lindblom, Tuckwiler, Stockton, Payne,
Covering games and courthouses – it’s insane!

From Mathin, Merrick, Crawford and Pedigo,
Making those deadlines – steady as you go;
And Richardson, Errota, Street and Guzman,
Sober lads all (don’t pass the booze, man).

Dearing, Rowen, Feist, Wood, Deisenroth,
Deftly writing – be it of avalanche or rising moth;
Hoos and Stallings, lay out those pages,
Cracolice recording basketball’s sages.

To printers, postmen, subscribers – we call,
Father Time (’74 version) is due for a fall;
Raise the glasses with your drink of cheer,


Dan Hruby, who has been a loyal customer to GH Sports almost since the day it opened (and its predecessor, Hind Performance as well), is a retired sports editor and columnist of the San Jose Mercury News. During his 45-year career in San Jose, he covered eight Olympics–summer and winter. He wrote of the exploits of such athletes as Mark Spitz and Don Schollander in swimming, Tommie Smith and Bruce Jenner in track and field, Joe Montana and Jim Plunkett in football, Willie Mays and Reggie Jackson in baseball, Rick Barry in basketball, Mohammed Ali in boxing  and Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus in golf, to spotlight just a few among hundreds of sports stars. Plus covering a ton of Super Bowls, U.S. Golf Opens, World Series, Wimbledon for tennis, Kentucky Derbys and many national collegiate championships.

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