For forty-one years and three months, to be precise, Frank Dolson was a celebrated sportswriter and columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer . During his four decades of doing what he loved best, experiencing and reporting the world of sports, Dolson saw a number of managers and coaches come and go. “I’ve covered 16 Phillies managers, from Mayo Smith to Jim Fregosi and 14 Eagles coaches all the way back to Jim Trimble,” reported Dolson in his farewell column in the Inquirer on May 31, 1995.
Dolson, a native New Yorker and a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, joined the Inquirer in 1955 and became a columnist in 1960. He covered a half-dozen Olympics, 15 super bowls, 40 Penn Relays and innumerable college games of every sort. His greatest sporting passion was baseball. He covered the 1964 Phillies and their spectacular collapse and the 1993 Phillies and their unlikely journey to the World Series.
Dolson was a fixture at Veteran’s Stadium, where he would arrive hours before the first pitch, carrying a notebook in his back pocket, walking with a purposeful stride to a subject standing beside a batting cage. He had longstanding relationships with hundreds of baseball men, many of whom would share their insights only with Dolson. After retiring from the Inquirer, Dolson was hired by his friend George Steinbrenner as a scout for the New York Yankees where his love of baseball and his keen insights serve him well.
Dolson serves mainly as a “major league” or “advance” scout, someone who evaluates big league players belonging to his own organization, and others whom the club might face or want to obtain in a trade. His observations and advice are much appreciated by the Yankee hierarchy. “It’s nice to have him in my office to kick around ideas and talk to someone who knows as much as Frank does,” states Joe Torre, team manager. Adds Steinbrenner, “He’s been a tremendous help to us. He’s been helpful to me. I love to speak with him about the team, especially on road trips, to see what he’s thinking.”
As a sportswriter or as a scout for the Yankees, Dolson still believes in the overriding credo that has steered his career for nearly 50 years: “There is more to sports than winning or losing,” believes Dolson. “You don’t have to be a winner to be someone worth admiring or supporting.” According to Dolson, it truly is how you play the game, with passion, respect, caring about people, and understanding that above all, “sports should be fun.”