By: E&P Staff
Matt McHale, a Los Angeles sportswriter and editor known for his coverage of the Los Angeles Dodgers, died Monday in Norwalk, Conn., after suffering his second heart attack in recent weeks. He was 50. McHale, who was diabetic, had left the Daily News in February due to his health.
“It’s a real loss for all of us,” Fred Claire, the former Dodgers general manager, told the Daily News. “When I think of Matt, I think of his professionalism and integrity. He was going to write what he felt was proper. He was true to himself in that regard. I don’t think he was ever swayed by the thought of maybe ticking somebody off.”
McHale had no journalism degree and was working as a bartender when he called Pasadena Star News sports editor Roger Murray to ask for a job in the early 1980s. After a period of freelancing, McHale was put on the Star News’ Dodgers beat in 1985. He joined the Daily News in 1988 and wrote the game story for that year’s dramatic World Series Game 1, which the Dodgers won on a pinch-hit home run by an injured Kirk Gibson.
“Tom Lasorda knew Kirk Gibson’s knees were shot. It was Gibson’s shoulders Lasorda needed to carry the Dodgers one more time,” went McHale’s lead.
McHale also covered the “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s as well as the Los Angeles Kings hockey team in the 1990s before becoming deputy sports editor in 1996.
“After I interviewed for a job at the Daily News, friends asked how it went,” Daily News Sports Editor Gene Warnick told the paper. “I told them I couldn’t remember a time when I had laughed and smiled as much in a newsroom. That was because of Matt. From the moment you met him, you felt as if he not only was a long-lost friend, but also your new best friend.”