Former Journal News sports editor Mark Leary passed away last night, losing a long battle with cancer. This isn’t an obit, but a mention of thanks.
I was one of his first hires, with him bringing me here from Baltimore to cover the Yankees. I was working for a small-market paper at the time that was beginning to cut back and I was worried about my career. I remember sitting in my hotel room in Ft. Lauderdale during spring training with the Orioles and him asking, “Will you cover the Yankees for me?”
I couldn’t say yes fast enough.
The beat itself was a lot of responsibility, but he also had me doing the Sunday notes and covering the postseason. That was a lot of work, but I relished it.
Mark wasn’t much of a hands-on editor with me, meaning there weren’t a lot of phone calls telling me what to do. But, I always felt his presence. I am a better reporter and writer for having worked for him, and will always be grateful for the opportunity he gave me.
I wish nothing but the best for his wife Lynn and their children.