Roger Treat

Roger Lamport Treat (1906 – October 6, 1969) was an American sportswriter and novelist. As a newspaper columnist, he was a vocal critic of segregation policies in baseball and American football. Treat also edited a major reference work on football, first published in 1952.


Treat began his newspaper career as sports editor of the Washington Daily News in 1943 and moved to the Chicago American in 1947.[1] His first published article was a piece for Esquire about boxer Wesley Ramey.[1] He also worked at the Washington Post, Baltimore News-American, The News-Times, and Republican-American.[2]

Treat was an advocate for racial integration in American sports. He helped Jackie Robinson get a tryout with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947,[1] and reportedly was involved in the decision to admit Robinson into the National League.[3] In 1946, he helped to start an integrated baseball academy for young men.[4] In 1947, he was let go from his position at the Washington Daily News following a number of columns in which he criticized the Umpires' Association for refusing to referee games featuring racially integrated teams.[5] He also spoke against segregation in amateur baseball and boxing in Washington, DC.[6] Another of Treat's 1947 columns concerned integration efforts at the Chicago Cubs.[7] In 1948, noting that the Chicago White Sox only had one quality infielder, he suggested that the team place Art Wilson, a shortstop for the Birmingham Black Barons,[8] on their roster.[9]

In 1944, in the midst of World War II and its associated shortages, Treat wrote a widely circulated satirical editorial in which he criticized various organizations, including Brown University and Columbia University, for wasting paper by sending out throwaway press releases to newspaper offices.[10]

In 1949, boxer Steve Mamakos sued Treat for libel after Treat published an article titled "Eddie Eagan No. 1 Butcher in Mental Murder of Steve Mamakos".[11]

Football encyclopediaEdit

The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (first edition, 1952).

In the early 1950s, Treat launched an effort to document the history of American football. That work culminated in the 1952 publication of The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League. The book represented the first attempt to document the score of every game in the league's history and every player who had appeared in a game.[citation needed]

A 1952 review of the first edition in the Chicago Tribune called it a "touchdown".[12] Frank Litsky, reviewing the sixth edition in the New York Times in 1969, described it as "monumental" and a "labor of love".[13] A 1969 review of the seventh edition called it "an essential volume for the serious football buff, or already-knowledgable fan, or for the writer".[14]

Treat oversaw the publication of six revised editions before his death in 1969. Thereafter, his daughter-in-law Suzanne Treat became the book's editor, publishing nine more editions between 1970 and 1979.

Other worksEdit

In collaboration with Page Cooper, Treat wrote Man o' War, a biography of the racehorse Man o' War, which was published in 1950.[2][15] The Washington Post called it "first-rate".[15]

Among Treat's other books were a pulp novel called Joy Ride and a biography of his close friend Bernard J. Sheil entitled Bishop Sheil and the CYO, about Sheil's involvement with the Catholic Youth Organization in Chicago.[16] A 1951 review of Bishop Sheil observed that "Treat, obviously, is a sincere admirer of the bishop".[17]

Treat wrote three books for children: Walter Johnson, King of the Pitchers (1948), Duke of the Bruins (1950), and Boy Jockey (1953).

Treat's final book, published after his death, was a novel called The Endless Road. It tells the story of a Chicago newspaperman struggling with alcoholism.[2] The Guardian called it "a heartfelt boost for Alcoholics Anonymous".[18] The book was banned under Ireland's Censorship of Publications Act 1946 for being "indecent or obscene".[19]

Personal lifeEdit

Treat married his first wife, Eleanor, in June 1935. She filed for divorce in May 1949, alleging desertion.[20]

Treat and his second wife Gerda Dahl Treat, an actor and salesperson, had two sons, John Treat and Peter Treat.[21]

Treat died of lung cancer in Danbury, Connecticut.[2]


  1. ^ a b c "Roger Treat, 64, Sportswriter". Newsday. October 9, 1969. p. 90. ProQuest 915150949.
  2. ^ a b c d "Roger Treat, Sports Expert and Author, 64". The Boston Globe. October 7, 1969. p. 39.
  3. ^ "Sport Expert Roger Treat Dies at 64". The Washington Post. October 7, 1969. p. D4. ProQuest 147619437.
  4. ^ Henderson, Edwin B. (May 11, 1946). "Not the AAU or DAR: No Color Line at Baseball College". New Journal and Guide. ProQuest 567748016.
  5. ^ Henderson, Edwin (June 21, 1947). "Dismissal of Treat Scored: D.C. Writer Was Jim Crow Foe". Chicago Defender. p. 11. ProQuest 492731417.
  6. ^ "White Umpire Quits Body in Protest Against Anti-Racial Baseball Policy". Baltimore Afro-American. June 21, 1947. p. 12. ProQuest 531563043.
  7. ^ Matney, Bill (September 6, 1957). "Jumpin' the Gun". Michigan Chronicle. p. 15. ProQuest 2395758006.
  8. ^ Lester, Larry (2001). Black Baseball's National Showcase: The East-West All-Star Game, 1933-1953. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. p. 283. ISBN 978-0-8032-8000-7.
  9. ^ "Black Barons to Meet Champion Buckeyes May 1". Atlanta Daily World. March 12, 1948. p. 2. ProQuest 490850438.
  10. ^ "Sports Editor Reveals Reasons for Paper Famine". The Boston Globe. July 16, 1944. p. D18. ProQuest 840008550.
  11. ^ "Mamakos Sues Treat for Libel". The Washington Post. May 6, 1949. p. B7. ProQuest 152185113.
  12. ^ Condon, Dave (November 9, 1952). "The Football Encyclopedia—a Touchdown!". Chicago Tribune. p. B14. ProQuest 178422441.
  13. ^ Litsky, Frank (February 7, 1969). "End Papers". The New York Times. p. 35. ISSN 0362-4331. ProQuest 118659121. Monumental is the best description for this labor of love …
  14. ^ Pollack, Joe (December 7, 1969). "Off the Bench". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 7MA. ProQuest 1888172939.
  15. ^ a b Smith, Ellen Hart (November 12, 1950). "That Big Red". New York Herald Tribune. p. E37. ProQuest 1325303257.
  16. ^ "Bishop Sheil and CYO Work Subject of Book". Los Angeles Times. January 13, 1952. p. D8. ProQuest 04583035.
  17. ^ Cromie, Robert (December 9, 1951). "Bishop Sheil's Fine Service to Humanity". Chicago Tribune. ProQuest 178238009.
  18. ^ Richardson, Maurice (July 10, 1959). "The Endless Road". The Guardian. p. B7. ProQuest document ID 480441576.
  19. ^ "Censorship Board Bans 14 Books". The Irish Times. October 19, 1963. p. 14. ProQuest 524133485.
  20. ^ "Wife Files for Divorce from Sports Columnist". Chicago Tribune. May 19, 1949. p. B4. ProQuest 177724585.
  21. ^ "Gerda Dahl Treat". The Washington Post. June 5, 1994. p. B7. ProQuest 307797984.