L.H. Gregory

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William Lair Hill Gregory (May 18, 1886 – August 15, 1975) was the longtime editor and sports writer for the Portland Oregonian from 1914 until 1973 (editor from 1921). From around 1927 until his career ended, Gregory wrote a column in the Oregonian which appeared six days a week called "Greg's Gossip." Gregory usually covered the local sports scene, and whatever national events that were drawing the attention of sports fans.

Gregory was born in Portland to local attorney William M. Gregory and Lenore Sparks Gregory in 1886, Gregory attended the University of Washington before returning to Portland. He began his sportswriting career for the Oregon Journal, and moved to The Oregonian in 1914 when they offered him a $5 a week raise over his $25 a week salary at the Journal.

Gregory was a master at coming up with nicknames, a legacy that carries on to this day in Oregon sports. Amongst the nicknames credited to him are:

  • Webfoots and later Ducks which became the nickname for the University of Oregon
  • Tall Firs for the 1939 NCAA Basketball Championship Team at Oregon.
  • Black Tornado for Medford High School sports teams, after he wrote, "From out of the south, Medford swept over the field like a Black Tornado ..."
  • Iron Immortals for the 1933 Oregon State Football Team that held #1 ranked USC to a tie at Portland's Multnomah Stadium
  • Old Salt his nickname for West Coast boxing man Joe Waterman, a nickname that he coined in the late '20s that stuck with Waterman throughout his career.
  • Johnny Pesky, the name he created for local Portland Beaver baseball star John Paveskovich, prior to his moving on to a succesfull career with the Boston Red Sox.

Gregory would usually cover Portland's big boxing matches, deferring to other writers for minor fights. He would cover the sport much more extensively during Joe Waterman's stint in Portland during World War II. His column frequently would catch up with old fighters after their careers were done, whether it be a club fighter or a popular headliner like Leo Lomski.

In 1983, Gregory was inducted into both the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame and Oregon Newspaper Hall of Fame.

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