Perhaps you've seen Joe Posnanski's story in Sports Illustrated about Nick Charles. but if you haven't, and remember Nick from his days in Baltimore and Washington, you owe it to yourself to read it.
Nick was diagnosed with Stage IV bladder cancer in 2009, and just over a full year later, after much chemo, has reached the point where there's little else that he can do to prolong his life.
If you missed Nick when he was local, you surely will know his name from covering boxing on Showtime and Top Rank, or from his years at CNN. I first encountered him when he was sports anchor at WJZ-TV in Baltimore. He was, in the words of my wife, the best-looking man on television. Later, he moved on to Channel 4 in Washington, but then was replaced by the legendary George Michael. Nick was between jobs, so to speak, when he was hired by WTOP Radio to do morning drive sports in the all-news format. This was in 1980, and I was hosting the evening sportstalk show, wrapped around the broadcasts of the Orioles, Bullets, Capitals, and University of Virginia basketball. I also did the afternoon drive sportscasts, and Bernie Smilovitz would join me on the front end of the talk show. Bernie had previously done the afternoon sportscasts, but had switched over to Channel 5 and their sports anchor gig.
WTOP decided to do some advertising of their sports guys, so Nick, Bernie and I came in early one day and a photographer took a few dozen photographs of the three of us together. It was entirely memorable, because Nick kept up a constant stream of one-liners that ensured none of us weren't smiling on camera.
Nick's stay at 1500AM was brief. I remember him stopping by the studio one night when I was on the air to say he'd accepted a position in Atlanta at CNN. I didn't have cable TV at the time - neither did many of my friends - so CNN seemed like a step down from a 50,000-watt all-news radio station in our nation's capital. I think I almost felt sorry for him.
Anyway, it's always to difficult to hear such sad news about a former colleague, though Nick seems incredibly upbeat in Posnanski's piece. He has a 5-year-old daughter with whom he's spending every available minute. He derives great satisfaction from what he accomplished in his career. He knows he made an impact on a lot of people, and that's really one of the true measures of a life, is it not?
Nick Charles, one of the real good ones.