Hall of Famer
Inducted in 1968
News editor of the Moncton Transcript
Sports editor of the Montreal Herald
Elmer Ferguson has often been called the Dean of North American Sports Writers. After pioneering sports coverage in the Maritimes, Ferguson became the most prominent and most respected Canadian sports columnist of the first half of the 20th century. He was recognized as the final authority on any sport argument or question, a testament to his vast knowledge and the esteem in which his colleagues held him. A fine sprinter in his youth, Ferguson claimed numerous cups and medals throughout the Maritimes, but a crippled arm hindered him from achieving greater success as an athlete. Ferguson, therefore, turned his talents toward sports writing and embarked on a legendary career in the newspaper business. Ferguson had dabbled in the newspaper business as a boy, selling papers on the streets of Moncton at the age of six and working as a "newsie" at the Intercolonial Railway. He left school after grade nine, took a business course in shorthand and typing, and got a job as a copy boy at the Moncton Transcript in 1902. From there, he climbed the rungs of the news room ladder, becoming a sports writer shortly thereafter, and news editor in 1910. One of Ferguson's greatest accomplishments was the establishment of a full page of sports news each day, a first for Maritime newspapers. Ferguson headed west and settled in Montreal in 1910. He landed a job at the Montreal Witness but quit in a matter of hours after finding out that the publisher was against printing sports news. Ferguson landed at the Montreal Herald, where he worked as a telegraph editor, city editor, news editor, and even drama critic before becoming sports editor in 1913. He quickly made a name for himself in the world of sports journalism with his informative coverage and witty columns. Ferguson, fondly known as "Fergy" to friends and readers, held his post at the Herald for 39 years and continued to submit his famous column, "The Gist and the Jest of It" until the paper folded in 1957. The Montreal Star continued to print his column until his death in 1972. Nearly as much ink as was used to print his own words over the years was used to print his praises when Fergy stepped down as sports editor of the Herald. Indeed, the Montreal newspaper put out a special edition devoted to him, while letters poured in from fans across the country. Even rival papers featured pieces about the great sports writer. A testimonial dinner held in his honour was attended by such prominent athletes of the time as Leo Dandurand, Jack Dempsey, Jack Sharkey, Ed Strangler Lewis, Jack Adams, Eddie Quinn, Tommy Gorman, and Frank Selke, Sr. Outside the newsroom, Ferguson served in a variety of sports related posts. He was the first secretary of the Athletic Commission, a publicity man for the NHL, and often served as a judge or steward at the Montreal race tracks. He was most famous for his appearances on the "Hot Stove League," a radio program that ran between periods of the Saturday night NHL games.