Sport: This Was How-wud Co-sssell

Speaking in spurts on the passing of a tremendous earache

Year-end compilations of bests and worsts recall a TV Guide poll of 1978 that determined the most disliked sportscaster in America was Howard Cosell and the most liked was Howard Cosell. So when Cosell asked out of his ABC contract a few days ago, completing a sputtering withdrawal from television at 67, it was an occasion of both joy and wistfulness, good news for the national eardrum but bad news for news.

Phenomenon, Cosell's most conservative description of himself, hardly begins to tell it. A homely Jewish lawyer from Brooklyn--the grand slam of network liabilities--achieved a celebrity so enormous and unlikely...

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