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Ye Olde Cartooner

The Daily Review lost a unique piece of its history when sports cartoonist Clyde Schmidt died Tuesday at 86.

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Beginning in the early 1960s, Schmidt drew caricatures of young athletes for the newspaper’s Prep of the Week feature. He would surround the illustration with little cartoons and text. Athletes drawn by Schmidt in their youth included Doug Henry, Jack Del Rio, Jason Kidd and Eddie House. Here’s the last Prep of the Week he did in late 2001:

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Area sportswriters were memorializing Schmidt in e-mails this week.

From Mike Wolcott of the San Francisco Chronicle, and formerly of the Review:

As a big fan of the many Daily Review legends that were firmly established by the time I came aboard in January 1990, I feel very fortunate to have met Clyde and been around him for a couple of years … when I think of Clyde, I think of the wild-eyed animals he’d work into the drawings. Especially fish. What’s the over-under on how many fish appeared in Prep of the Week drawings? I used to ask him, “Hey Clyde, next week, can you work in a fish for me?” Sure enough, he would. Or it might be a skunk.

From Carl Steward, longtime sports writer and columnist for this paper:

When (sports editor) Jon Becker gave me the sad news about Clyde, I went and took a good long look at a drawing in Prep of the Week format he did of me back in 1987. It’s my most cherished piece of art, and believe me, I never looked so good. I’d rather have an original Schmidt hanging on my wall than a Monet or Picasso.

Clyde was such an incredible portrait artist. He could take the worst, smallest photo imaginable and reproduce the face spot-on, and he always came up with a clever cartoon at the bottom to accompany his caricature. Even more remarkable, he could turn it around in an hour or two. He was never duly compensated for his great work. He should have been getting $500 a week for the kind of quality he turned out instead of $50 (it might have been less) but he didn’t care. He loved doing it, he loved hanging out with the old Review gang whenever we had get-togethers. He probably would have done it for free …

Rest in peace, Ye Olde Cartooner. I can just see you there at your easel right now, sketching the face of God. And I can only imagine what that little wisecrack cartoon at the bottom might say.