About That Palindromic Byline…

The late Mark Kram never intentionally desired to be spelled the same backward as forward.

Last Sunday, Mark Kram Jr. shared a wonderful essay about his dad, the late sportswriter Mark Kram. Per the article title (“Bearing My Father’s Byline), the piece was mainly about being mistaken on the page for dad.

Kram Jr. also touched on the fact that “Mark Kram” is spelled the same backward as forward. A week after his explanation of how George Melvin at the Baltimore Sun became Mark, there is on this Father’s Day in the Times a sweet follow-up from Kalamazoo, Mich. reader Ben Jones:

The New York Times piece took me back to my early teenage years, when, as an enthusiastic subscriber to Sports Illustrated, I reveled in the senior Kram’s lyrical writing. Inspired by one of his pieces, I even wrote a letter (unpublished) to the magazine, praising the story and asking if the palindromic moniker was his real name. (A complicated question, it turns out, which his son answered in droll style.)

In honor of SI’s recent 60th anniversary, the publication re-posted a Kram article about the third and final Ali-Frazier fight in Manila. You can read it here.

P.S. Somewhat surprisingly, the 2002 NYT obit for Kram made no mention of his assumed name.