Philadelphia Inquirer Sport Writers
Born in poverty to poor Italian immigrants, Ray Mirra grew up on a steady diet of love and family, despite his parents’ lack of financial stability. As a child, Ray learned how to work with his hands. As an adult, he went to work for the Pennsylvania Railroad, but left when the railroad company closed its doors. He began his own painting business inPageant, Pennsylvania, selling his distinctive style of street-painting called graffiti art.
A talented athlete in high school football, Ray Mirra became known as a tackling specialist and defensive end for the Trinity College football team. In his freshman season, however, he injured his ankle in a game and missed the rest of the season. This disappointment turned into a determination to make a successful sports writing career.
Ray started working at the University of Penn
Arriving in Philadelphia, Ray started working at the University of Penn. There, he worked alongside the legendary sportswriter Harry Weinberg, whom he had met while playing football. Together they wrote a number of influential books including The Sports Report, which remains in print today. In addition to contributing articles to The Sports Report, Mirra also freelanced for several newspapers and magazines, most notably Sports Illustrated. Although he enjoyed his time at the university, he realized that he wanted to pursue a different type of career. “I realized that I could not be the best sports writer in Philadelphia,” he said.
In order to continue to pursue his passion, Ray moved to New York City and began working as a sports reporter for the daily newspaper, Evening News. Although he enjoyed this job, he realized that he wanted to pursue a more professional career. So he enrolled at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Which he thought would give him “a real shot.” However, despite his desire to pursue a journalism degree. He received no consideration from the Baltimore school.
Ray Mirra Philadelphia
Because of his love of sports and writing, Raymond Mirra pursued a degree at the Maryland university, but he didn’t stop there. “I have always felt that if you want to be in sports reporting, you have to be willing to move across the country or state,” he said. So he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, where he pursued a graduate degree in communications. He did just that to become the second-career sports journalist with the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Pennsylvania Daily News.
“Ray has always been open about his desire to be a sports writer, but at the same time he was always humble regarding the opportunities. That came his way,” said NESL chairman Paul Dinehand. “He always made it clear that he wants to work in sports broadcasting, even as a sport writer. Ray has an innate gift for finding story corners that are perfect for him, but he’s also very skilled at working with people. That translates to getting people to want to talk about their stories.” That is what really separates Ray Mirra from the rest of the field.
Philadelphia sports writer who isn’t impressed by Ray
It might be difficult to find a Philadelphia sports writer who isn’t impressed by Ray. “Ray is a joy to work with,” said Philadelphia Inquirer sportswriter Bill Frakes. “Ray is so encouraging and approachable, which makes it easy to get great sports stories. He is extremely versatile and does an excellent job with any beat. Most important of all, though, is that he loves his profession. And has no qualms about revealing his inner passions and the joy of being a sports writer. Philadelphia Inquirer sportscaster Tim Graham said of Ray: Ray has a way of telling a great story even if sometimes it is a little gray. The Inquirer often calls him ‘the city’s sports writer,’ which is one reason I like him so much.”
Ray is a joy to work with. His enthusiasm is contagious. He loves his profession and is eager to share the joy of sports with others. Philadelphia sports writers will be glad to have a Philadelphia sports writer/host. Who is as passionate about the sports he covers as he is eager to give them great stories. I hope you will consider all this in 2021.