Thursday, May 12, 2011

Bill Gallo (1922-2011)

If you've read the New York Daily News over the years, chances are you've run across the artwork of sports cartoonist/columnist Bill Gallo, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 88 after a lengthy illness.

Gallo famously characterized the late Yankee owner George Steinbrenner as a Prussian officer named General Von Steingrabber, because Steinbrenner was forever grabbing back page headlines. He once drew an out-of-shape Muhammad Ali pushing a wheelbarrow to balance his exaggerated belly. Ali used that as a motivational tool for a fight vs. Larry Holmes. Gallo also created the everykid, Yuchie, who represented the younger sports fan, and Basement Bertha, a symbol of the bleaker years of the Mets.

Gallo also covered boxing for the Daily News for several years before passing that baton to other writers. On Sundays, he'd write a column that would appear under one of his famous cartoons, often writing from personal experiences, such as his service in the Marine Corps during World War II.

On Wednesday, the Yankees paid tribute to Gallo with a moment of silent prayer prior to their game vs. Kansas City. The Steinbrenner family had held Gallo in high esteem through the years, proving that George did have a sense of humor after all, to laugh at his own alter-ego. Today, Heaven is getting a new portrait artist, 10 months after George Steinbrenner passed away.

Rest in peace, Bill. You'll be missed.

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