Oscar Madison is dead and every ink-stained wretch should raise a glass to the great man’s memory, or change a typewriter ribbon, or recite a few lines from “The Odd Couple.” We never saw Oscar hammer out a game story on deadline for his newspaper, the New York Herald. But he was a sportswriter’s sportswriter. You could tell. He was messy, crude, and grumpy. He cracked wise. He wore a Mets cap and mustard stains.
He came in one day wearing golf shoes. Felix Ungar, the fastidious roommate, was horrified. “Oscar! Take your golf shoes off in the house!”
Hearing Felix’s plea, Oscar did a tap dance in the hallway.
Oscar was our patron saint, our role model, our excuse. I once made a perfect full swing with a 54-degree wedge, only to hear, at the top of my powerful follow through, the sound of a living room light fixture cracking into teeny-tiny pieces that floated to the carpet like a glittering snowfall. Sportswriters do these things.
Like all of us, Oscar could go on about his significant other.