Ken Murphy was the sports editor of the Pioneer Press, St. Paul's morning newspaper, in 1970. I was a 24-year-old in my second year at the newspaper when informed in the summer that Ken was considering retirement and there was in need to start grooming a replacement.
The idea was that "Murph'' would spend a couple of years training me in the job, and I would be fully prepared to replace him when he retired. There was the potential for a raise, so I was willing to go through this - even if it meant more exposure to Murph's cheap, stinky cigars.
And then early that fall, Murph died of a heart attack early one morning at home and they gave me the job.
This was a recipe for failure, since it put me in charge of my drinking buddies on the night shift. Plus, even a small degree of management responsibility isn't a good idea for an inexperienced kid who had a hard time managing himself.
I held the job for three years, before Bob Fowler left for the Minneapolis Star in the fall of 1973. I asked for the chance to replace him on the Twins' beat for both the Pioneer Press and the afternoon Dispatch.
Arno Goethel, the executive sports editor, approved the idea. I'm thinking it was based as much on Arno getting the chance to name a more-competent morning sports editor as it was confidence in my ability to handle the baseball beat.
One item that did come out of my three years as the morning sports editor was a Sunday column. There were names for all the columns back then - for instance, Don Riley's highly read sports column in the Pioneer Press was "The Eye Opener.''
I named my Sunday column "Reusse at Random.'' It was long on opinion and short on storytelling. Reusse at Random succumbed late in 1973, when I took over the Twins beat.
It was February 1979 when I gave up the covering the Twins and became the sports columnist for the afternoon Dispatch: Monday through Friday, 25 inches of copy down the left side of the sports front - no more, no less, you had to hit the hole.
By then, columns had started to carry the name of the writer, without the need for wry names. On the Monday the "Pat Reusse'' column was to kick off in the Dispatch, the editors decided to give it a big splash by carrying the promotion over the masthead for the newspaper.
That could have been quite an ego boost, if the promotional headline did not read, "Pat Ruesse's column starts today in sports,'' for all editions.
The Reusse and "Random'' alliteration was put to bed for over three decades, until April 12, 2010. That was when this radio station officially became 1500ESPN, and this website, 1500ESPN.com, debuted under the leadership of Tom Pelissero.
I had been writing occasionally for the former website. Now, I wrote more frequently - blog-style columns - and went back to my friend Random, for the title: "Random Reusse.''
When I'm writing a column, I can make a few detours while trying to make a point. Readers of the Star Tribune can attest to that. I'm still producing two of those dissertations per week for the Strib, a task that always reminds of how deep runs my love for newspapering.
Over here, on 1500ESPN.com, I've come to realize that dissertations are more out of place. For that reason, today once again we announce the death of Reusse and Random as an alliterative duo.
You will be able to find occasional, quicker hits from me on the "Sports Wire'' here at 1500ESPN.com, and those essays and feature columns on Thursdays and Sundays in the Star Tribune (unless the boss over there, Glen Crevier, thinks there are better days for them).
So, here's my note to an old pal ...
So long. It's been a hoot.
Pat (or Patrick)
Reusse (or Ruesse)