How AP writer who reported Lincoln's death might have fared in sports

How AP writer who reported Lincoln's death might have fared in sports
Kirk Gibson's home run was by far the most notable moment of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. (Joe Kennedy / Los Angeles Times)

Wednesday marks the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln's death, the result of his being shot while attending a play at Ford's Theater in Washington D.C.

Poor Lawrence Gobright, rest his soul, is still taking grief for it.


Gobright was the Associated Press correspondent who, um, buried the lead in his original accounting of the shooting.

Gobright's first mention of Lincoln's assassination did not appear until the third paragraph of his story.

His lead: "WASHINGTON, APRIL 14 — President Lincoln and wife visited Ford's Theatre this evening for the purpose of witnessing the performance of 'The American Cousin.' It was announced in the papers that Gen. Grant would also be present, but that gentleman took the late train of cars for New Jersey."

Hey, it can happen. As a writer who has worked on big stories, I know what it is like to become paralyzed under pressure. I once gaffed the final score of an important high school football game.

I wondered, for fun, how Gobright might have handled some of our most memorable sporting finishes:

Oct. 3, 1951: (AP) Brooklyn Dodger reliever Ralph Branca said he had three of his four pitches working during a mandatory "extra" game on 1951 schedule against the New York Giants.....

Sept. 10, 1972 (AP) Alexander Belov scored on a layup in the final second to lead the Soviet Union to an exciting one-point, gold-medal basketball victory over the United States at the Munich Olympics.

Sergey Belov led all scorers with 20 points. U.S. guard Doug Collins finished with eight points, including two free throws near the end.

With the loss, the U.S. men's all-time Olympic basketball record fell to 63-1.
Jan. 10, 1982: (AP) San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana overcame three interceptions to help lead his team to a 28-27 win over Dallas in the NFC title game played at Candlestick Park.

The winning score was set up by a six-yard, second-down run by Lenvil Elliott to the Dallas 12.
Dwight Clark led the 49ers with eight catches for 120 yards.

Oct. 15, 1988: (AP) Four pitchers scattered seven hits as the Dodgers edged the Oakland A's, 5-4, in Game 1 of 1988 World Series. Oakland reliever Dennis Eckersley took the loss.

Feb. 11, 1990: (AP) Heavyweight champion Mike Tyson lost, but then found, his mouthpiece during the 10th round of his title fight against Buster Douglas at the Tokyo Dome.

Tyson's mouthpiece became dislodged during the round but, after dropping to a knee, he was able to relocate it and continue the fight. The exact origin of the mouthpiece is unclear, although in 1890 a London dentist named Woolf Krause, reportedly first fashioned a "gum shield" to protect boxers from lip lacerations.