About Furman

Furman Bisher, a well-regarded sportswriter and editor, has been the Atlanta Journal-Constitution sports editor, a Sporting News columnist, and the contributor of hundreds of articles for Sports Illustrated, theSaturday Evening Post, and many other national magazines. Author of several books, including a biography of baseball great Hank Aaron, Bisher was named in a 1961 Time article as one of the nation’s five best columnists. He has covered the Masters Tournament in Augusta, every Kentucky Derby since 1950, and every Super Bowl but the first. He watched the first NASCAR race as an editor in Charlotte, North Carolina, and he is credited with helping to bring the Braves baseball team, Atlanta’s first professional sports team, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Atlanta. Bisher chronicles the Braves acquisition in his second book, Miracle in Atlanta(1966).

James Furman Bisher was born on November 4, 1918, in Denton, North Carolina, to Mamie Morris and Chisholm Bisher. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he began his career at theLumberton Voice in North Carolina in 1938. In 1954 he married Montyne Harrell, with whom he had three sons. Eventually the couple divorced, and Bisher married Lynda Landon in 1991.

Bisher became an editor in 1940 for the Charlotte News, where he worked for the rest of the decade, excepting four years of military service during World War II (1941-45). In 1950 he left the Charlotte Newsto become sports editor for the Atlanta Constitution. In 1957 he joined the Atlanta Journal and the Sunday Journal-Constitution as sports editor and columnist, and he continues to write for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He also became a columnist for theSporting News

Over the years Bisher scored a number of memorable journalistic coups. His first occurred in 1949, when “Shoeless” Joe Jackson gave Bisher andSport Magazine his only interview since 1919, the year Jackson was ousted from baseball in the “Black Sox” scandal.

Bisher played golf with Bobby Jones and Gene Sarazen, among many others. Covering the Masters in 1954, he watched in awe as amateur Billy Joe Patton “laughed his way” through the course, shooting a hole in one on his way to nearly snatching the green jacket from Sam Snead. Patton lost by one stroke, and Bisher later recounted the golfer’s wistful comment, Bisher’s favorite golf quote in all his years of writing about the sport: “I could have handled the fame, I could have handled the money. But I doubt if I could have handled the women.” 

Bisher’s many awards and accolades include membership in the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame, the International Golf Writers Hall of Fame, and the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame, as well as the Red Smith Award for contributions to journalism. His work has been anthologized in Best Sports Stories of the Year twenty-three times; he won the PGA Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Award in 1996.

Responses

  1. At 67, I appear to be catching up to you in age.
    And I’m just wondering if you would happen to remember a young copy boy at The Journal in 1959 who covered some sports on the side for Jackie Flowers, your prep guy then. Gene Asher was there, and Jim Minter. I can’t recall the others. It was hectic time in Atlanta for all of us in those days.
    Since I had no journalism degree, I couldn’t work for you (although I was a fairly capable sportswriter at 19). Returning to Arizona (did a summer stint at Brunswick GA News first, became sports editor at The Yuma Sun, then prep and college sports at The Arizona Republic (saw you at first Fiesta Bowl event but had a bad cold and didn’t visit with you), same at The Tucson Citizen for eight years, then The Phoenix Gazette for 16 years (12 seasons covering the Phoenix Suns) and finished with Republic after Gazette folded.
    Never did get to college.
    Retired to Sun City Texas (Georgetown TX) now, near the grandkids.
    Seems like only yesterday that political cartoonist Erickson (first name?) got me that copy boy job for $40 a week.
    But what a great business newspapering used to be (before Al Neuharth got ahold of it).
    Best wishes and good health to you.

  2. Just got around to your message today, Steve, and it’s always good to hear from one of our distinguished “copyboys”. (I used the word the other day, and one of our present-day sports editors said, “What’s a copyboy?”) It never occurred to me that copyboy refers to another age, but then I told him this: One of our copyboys is vice-president of Coca-Cola; another is publisher of The Sporting News; another became sheriff of DeKalb County and there are other successful grads in other fields.
    So, you see, you are in distinguished company, and I’m pleased to hear from you. —furman bisher

  3. I love your site. Keep it up !

  4. Furman, here goes ……for what it’s worth!
    Yesterday afternoon I heard that you had written your final column for the Atlanta Journal. I will miss reading your columns very much. I grew up in Little Five Points (Bass High 63) and spent my summers playing sand lot baseball with neighbor kids in the afternoon and working at Ponce de Leon Cracker games at night. I sold popcorn, peanuts, then graduated to selling Cokes once I was strong enough to haul around a case of Cokes – selling Cokes paid a lot more. I can remember seeing you at Ponce De Leon many times and I believe one day you pitched pennies with some of the vendor boys and Beans Hadley down on the field before the game. One summer I was thrilled to become a ball boy for the Crackers! I got a lot of balls and they gave me broken bats that I took home and taped with black tape. Those were sure happy days growing up in Atlanta. From the time I was about 8 or 9 years old I went to the corner store and bought a paper so I could read the baseball box scores on the Crackers and the other Southern League teams and your columns, Jesse Outlar, Jim Minter, Ed Miles and more. I now live in Thomasville, GA and I heard some time ago you were coming down here to speak at Glen Arven Country Club. I am a member at Glen Arven and I was looking forward to seeing you again. Something came up and you didn’t make it down here and I was disappointed. I will continue to search your site for your writings and I wish you all the best in your retirement. The Journal will never be the same.

  5. This site is bookmarked — please fill it as often as possible with fresh prose.

  6. hello,

    thanks for the great quality of your blog, each time i come here, i’m amazed.

    black hattitude.

  7. hello,

    thanks for the great quality of your blog, each time i come here, i’m amazed.

    black hattitude.

  8. Hi Furman As a 70 year old long in tooth devotee, I cannot tell you how I have enjoyed you over the Many years. I’ve got to be in Brunswick sometimes over the the next couple of weeks, any chance we can get together for a drink? I once saw you at a place on Northside Drive called Saccone’s and really wanted to say hi but due to my refusal to bother people who are eating I didn’t!

  9. Hi Furman,

    I wrote a little something when I heard your last AJC typewriter ribbon had run out of ink. I showed what I had written to the editor of our local paper and he ran it as a guest editorial. I also sent a copy it to Minter and David Davidson and they liked it. If you send me your email address I’ll pass it on to you.

    Al the best.

    Allen

  10. Mr Bisher,

    For almost 10 years I was golf shop mgr@ Kenny Perry’s Country Creek Golf Course in Franklin ,Ky. I am still amazed by the following story which you are the main character. I was behind the counter. You walked in and much to your amazement, I recognized you. You were on the way to the Derby. Kenny had always invited you to take a look his golf course. I am sure that you were surprised that someone would call you by name in Franklin,KY (other than Kenny). Almost a year later on the tenth fairway at Augusta during the Masters I walked up beside you. I said hello to you and said I was the one you talked to at Kenny’s course. You said ” yes you”re John aren’t you?” Your fantastic memory blew my mind. Hope to see you again at Augusta. I have enjoyed reading your work for years. I am a long time Braves fan.

    Sincerely,

    John Jackson

  11. Furman — I just learned that you recently “retired” (at least from the Journal-Constitution), and I wanted to send best wishes to you. You probably don’t remember me, but I was a sportswriter for the Atlanta Constitution from 1974-77 but left the business in 1980 and have been a lawyer since I graduated from law school. I grew up reading you in The Sporting News and although Jesse Outlar was the columnist at the Constitution when I was there, I always read your column in the Journal. I’m sorry to hear that the offices are moving from downtown, and even more sorry to see the demise of so many newspapers, including the paper I went to when I left Atlanta, the Rocky Mountain News.
    I wish you nothing but the best and will look forward to reading your blogs.

  12. A recent article in Gwinn daily Post says that you were present when the race at the Charlotte speedway was being held.
    MY brother and others were with us.
    At that time the track as well as our 60 chev were in the stage of completion. The thing that stand out most relating to the track were that only the turns were paved. The straightways had a limerock subsurface on them.
    We were new to Nascar. I can recall finding a spot to weld shock supports. The spot was very, very close to a truck that dispensing gasolene. I voiced my concern to that danger after being told to “keep welding.” The car had no number on it(later 2). I thought the info might be of interest to you.
    thanks!

  13. Mr. Bisher , I have enjoyed your work for many years , especially the Thanksgiving columns . I was a member at Snapfinger long ago and recall seeing you , Norm van Brocklin and many Braves .I am curious . Do you know who Piney Woods Pete actually was ? Regards , Jim Hope

  14. Mr. Bisher-

    I loved your book “Strange But True Baseball Stories” when I was a kid. I just bought a used copy for my son (8 yrs. old., about the same age I was when I read your book) who plays a lot of baseball and loves reading about baseball history. Looking through it brought back a lot of memories. Thanks for making the game I love so much come alive.

    Regards, Greg Clarke

  15. Furman, you will always be the best. I started watching the Braves in 1972 on TBS, and read everything you wrote. I emulated your style and wished I could maintain your mental clarity and professional insight on a daily, regular basis. People like you are my hero.

    Mingo

  16. Furman, You are the best. Because of you and your writing for the Atlanta Journal/Constution during late 50′s and 1960, I became an All American in football at Auburn. Everything that I am today is because of you and Auburn. There is no way I could ever repay you and Bill Beckwith, Bill is gone now so to you I can only say THANK YOU AND MAY GOD BLESS YOU DURING THIS EASTER SEASON. kEN RICE. 10619 Big Canoe, Big Canoe, Ga. 30143.

  17. Valuable information. Fortunate me I found your site by chance, and I’m shocked why this coincidence didn’t happened earlier! I bookmarked it.

  18. This morning, I read of the death of Furman Bisher. One of the greatest sportwriters of all time. I grew up with his articles. His Thanksgiving columns were one of the things I was always thankful for.

    He will be missed.

    Selah…

  19. “About Furman Bisher Unleashed” definitely
    got me simply hooked with your web site! I personallydefinitely will wind up being back again significantly more frequently.
    Thanks ,Lyle

  20. “About Furman Bisher Unleashed” ended up
    being a superb post. If only there was a lot more blogs just like
    this specific one in the actual word wide web.
    Anyway, many thanks for ur time, Helen


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