Allison Lucas participated in a facilitated discussion about the illustrious career of her late husband, Ed Lucas, a renowned baseball writer. This insightful conversation occurred at the William Paterson University Society of Professional Journalists chapter on Oct. 23, 2023.
One of the most memorable days in Ed Lucas’ life was Oct. 3, 1951. On this day, he had the privilege of witnessing Bobby Thomson’s legendary home run for the New York Giants, an iconic moment known as the ‘shot heard around the world,’ which clinched the National League pennant for the team. However, the joy of that day took an unexpected turn. Following the game, while playing baseball with his friends, Lucas was struck in the face by a ball, losing his sight at the age of 12.
“Baseball took my sight but also gave me my life,” Lucas said in a 2021 ESPN documentary.
In the face of adversity, Lucas’ passion for baseball triumphed over his disability, ultimately serving as the cornerstone for his enduring career in sportswriting. Lucas’ journey commenced when the iconic New York Yankees shortstop, Phil Rizzuto, affectionately known as ‘the scooter,’ provided a pivotal opportunity for the then 18-year-old Lucas to conduct interviews with Yankees players.
“If you earn a baseball player’s trust, you’re part of the team,” said Allison Lucas.
This marked the genesis of a profound and enduring friendship between Lucas and Rizzuto, setting in motion what many consider one of the most extraordinary careers in sports reporting.
Lucas exemplified an unparalleled understanding of the game, dedicating nearly six and a half decades to covering the New York Yankees and the New York Mets. His expertise won the admiration and profound respect of some of baseball’s most famous names.
Despite having no sight, Lucas’ keen sense of hearing enabled him to know where a ball was hit on the field just by the sound of it.
“The sound of a bat hitting a ball is something special to me,” said Lucas.
Guided by a sighted companion, fortified by his expertise of the game and fueled by an unwavering passion for baseball, Lucas embarked on a journey that led him to create content for Philadelphia’s WOBM radio station and written work for the Jersey Journal, The Hudson Reporter and Baseball Digest, among other publications.
Lucas’ journey to success was not without its challenges, especially from some fellow journalists who struggled to comprehend his capacity to report on a sport he couldn’t physically witness. His skepticism led to what Lucas humorously referred to as ‘Irish whispers’ — a constant undercurrent of doubt and questioning about his place in the press box. But, with the unwavering words of Rizzuto, “never listen to the naysayers, do what you want to do” became his mantra.
“He always focused on his passion, and baseball wasn’t just his passion, it was his life,” said Allision Lucas
It’s this rhetoric that pushed Lucas to continue on the path of reporting, amplifying the message to others to relentlessly follow their dreams. Lucas’ career was marked by a significant milestone in 2009 when he received a New York Emmy Award for his outstanding contributions to YESnetwork.com, a moment he held among his proudest achievements. In addition to his professional success, Lucas dedicated himself to various charitable causes, including his very own, the Ed Lucas Foundation, to assist the less fortunate in their pursuits.
Lucas passed away on Nov. 10, 2021, yet his profound passion and enduring love for baseball continues to cast a legacy that will live on throughout generations.