February 5, 1999
John Klein began his career in journalism by covering high school sports while a student at Perry high school. Today he is sports editor of the Tulsa World, and he has just been named Oklahoma's sportswriter of the year. His selection was announced by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. At the same time, Dean Blevins of Oklahoma City was named the state's top sportscaster.
John is the son of George Klein and his late wife, Mary Lou. The awards will be presented to John and Mr. Blevins at a banquet on April 26 in Salisbury, NC. John has been a sports columnist for the Tulsa newspaper since 1995, and he became sports editor in 1997. He began at the World as a sports writer in 1978; he also was a sports writer for the Houston Post for five years. He has won numerous state and regional sports writing awards. He's written for several national publications. He was named the state's top wrestling writer seven times in seven years and was named the top college baseball writer in the nation for the decade of the 1980s by Collegiate Baseball magazine. Not too bad for an old country boy from Perry. Some very accomplished journalists still call this their hometown. Another who comes quickly to mind is Ed Kelley, managing editor of the Daily Oklahoman.
John recently had a column connecting two of Perry's sports legends, Danny Hodge and Billy Pricer. Both were state champion wrestlers and outstanding football players at Perry high school in the mid-1950s, and both wound up at the University of Oklahoma. Billy went on to stardom as a blocking fullback and placekicker for Bud Wilkinson's OU football dynasty, and Danny was a national champion and All-American for Coach Port Robertson's wrestling squad. Danny later was a Golden Gloves boxing champion, a two-time medalist for the U.S. Olympic wrestling team and a champion pro wrestler, while Billy starred for the Baltimore Colts in the National Football League.
Elroy Goe continues to be a familiar figure as he walks all over this town even on days when the weather has not been all that great. From his home on the south side of Perry he strolls regularly to Perry Plaza and other places even more distant than that. He is a fixture at the piano in the Cherokee Strip Restaurant, where his only remuneration is the tips that folks drop into a nearby bowl. What amazes me is the great amount of music that is evidently stored in his head. Name a tune, any tune, and he plays it. Iíve never seen a sheet of music spread in front of him on the piano. Once asked if he knew a particular favorite of mine, George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue." He did, and now the first chords I hear upon entering the Strip's dining room are the unmistakable introduction to that song. Thanks for the music, Elroy.