Robert Crawford was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011.
In the late ’50s, the best part of being editor-in-chief of The Arizona Wildcat was the office. It was in the southwest corner (that’s right, a corner office) of the Student Union’s second floor, with views of Old Main and the mall. Didn’t have any working quarters that could compare until I was with the Diamondbacks and my office overlooked the third-base line at Bank One Ballpark.
Other than that, the newspaper served as an excellent preview of the real world. We had deadlines to meet, union printers to deal with, reluctant sources to milk, and terrific colleagues to lean on.
On Mondays and Wednesdays, Room 115 in the Liberal Arts Building basement morphed into a newsroom, with a 4 p.m. deadline for reporters to submit copy and an 11 p.m. deadline for copy, headlines, art and page dummies to be dropped off at Tucson Printing on South Fourth Avenue. Those sessions inevitably ended at the Santa Rita Hotel coffee shop for some late-night socializing, sugar and caffeine.
Tuesdays and Thursdays were production days, with the editorial staff back at the print shop to oversee the building of the pages and lunch across the street at the L&L Drive-In, which sold excellent enchiladas and cold pitchers, not necessarily in that order.
The Wildcat of that era was a student newspaper in every sense of the word. Each reporter and editor was also a student in the Journalism Department, with work on the Wildcat a required part of the curriculum.
When I think back on some of those people I was fortunate enough to work with — Bob Walker, Gordon Evans, Rosalie Robles Crowe, Pat Gordon, Liz Haas White, Joe Cole, Dave Kohl, Gayle Runke Siroky, Tom Dau, Edith Sayer Auslander, Jim Johnson — one thing becomes abundantly clear.
We learned a lot, we had fun, and for a bunch of kids “playing newspaper,” we were pretty darned good…
Robert L. Crawford has been fortunate to spend a professional career involved with two of his great loves: newspapers and baseball.
After graduating from the University of Arizona — where he was managing editor of the Arizona Wildcat as a junior and editor-in-chief as a senior — he spent several months with The Phoenix Gazette and six years with the Tucson Daily Citizen before returning to The Gazette in February of 1966 for an extended stay that lasted until December 1995, including stints as assistant sports editor, sports editor and assistant managing editor. Most of that time was spent in the sports department, where he won Arizona Press Club first-place honors for best sports story three times and for headline writing once.
After accepting an early-retirement opportunity, he stayed retired for almost a month before accepting an offer to become the first media relations manager for the newly-minted Arizona Diamondbacks, who had received a franchise from Major League Baseball the previous March and would not begin playing until 1998. For the next five years, he served as a liaison between the team and media during the formation of a minor-league system, the construction of Bank One Ballpark, the expansion draft and the team’s first three seasons in the National League.
Part of his duties included writing and overseeing the publishing of two books about those early years: “We’re in the Show” chronicles the story of the franchise, from when it was just Jerry Colangelo’s dream to Opening Day on March 31, 1998. “Diamond in the Desert” is a mostly-pictorial tour of Bank One Ballpark. Released as a boxed set in the late summer of 1998, the books are safely archived at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.
In retirement, Bob continues to work two days a week as an editor at The Arizona Republic and remains connected to his alma mater. He has served on the UA School of Journalism’s Alumni Advisory Board since 1996 and was on the board of directors of the Alumni Association’s Phoenix chapter from 2001-2007, serving as president in 2005-2006.
He has been happily married to Jo Anne since 1965, and cherishes the fact that their son, Bob, daughter, Shauna, and two granddaughters all live less than 15 minutes away.