Ye Olde Cartooner

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


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:


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.

  • Carl Steward

    I ran into former ANG sportswriter Joe Lago, now working for Yahoo Sports, at the NCAA Tournament on Wednesday. When I told him about Clyde, he told me about his prized collector’s item — Clyde’s Prep of the Week drawing of Jason Kidd when Kidd was at St. Joseph High in Alameda.

  • Former Review sports editor Ken Silman chimed in with the following:

    “It was only a few weeks ago that I was thinking about Clyde and how he was doing. I really enjoyed working with him in his final years as a dedicated cartoonist. It crushed me when he was no longer able to draw the sketches. I still have the card he drew me from the hospital with his off-hand after he injured his drawing arm. He was a great soul that loved what he did and a loyal veteran.

    His off-color humor would get him fired in today’s world, but it was just who he was and the era he lived in. One of my favorite cartoons was the first time he got a girls golfer as prep of the week: He drew the girl crushing a drive with a bubble in the lower right corner that said “great drive”; in the top left was the ball whizzing past a bird, and the bird says “damn women drivers” It was a classic that was never seen fully by the public, because the top quote was blurred out, but it had me in stitches.

    Clyde was always making sure his drawings (the originals) were being delivered to the athletes who earned them. He would even pay the postage in some cases. There were a few he even had framed for the athletes. The community would always ask for the drawings, and when he first started missing weeks (when he was hurt), the people were genuinely disappointed to win the award that week, knowing Clyde would not be doing the drawing. Over his tenure, he did sketches of fathers and then 30 years later their sons or uncles and nephews.

    He was a very good man, and I missed him when he left. Over the last couple of years I would drive the sketches to his house, because he could not make it up the stairs to my office, and it was great to see him and his wonderful wife.”

  • Bob Herrick

    This past week I read the obituary for Clyde Schmidt. I read where many of the athletes he
    had profiled had been given the original drawings. Having been one of the athletes he had
    drawn I wondered it if it would be possible to obtain the original.

    My drawing appeared in the Tuesday, May 23, 1967 edition of the front page of the sports
    section of the Hayward Daily Review. I recognize it has been a long time, but I would
    tremendousy appreciate and value any help that could be given to me regarding this request
    in Clyde’s memory.

    Thank you,
    Bob Herrick

  • nichole fraser (hartman) beverly schmidt’s daughter

    He was my grandfather,

    And when i saw him in the picture above …
    well, I don’t have the words.
    I remember watching him do those drawings when I was little…it seemed he was barely waving his hand back and forth above the canvas and the picture would suddenly just appear.

    I miss him terribly.

    I too was wishing i new how to find some of his drawings, they don’t have to be the originals.
    Though I did have two of them, he had given me Joe Montana and Dennis Eckersley.
    But sadly they were stolen a few years ago.

    I broke my heart to lose both him and those drawings and want very much to find out if i can look up some of his drawings –
    the older ones from when I was a kid, maybe some of the ones I watched him draw.

    It would mean so much to me to be able to look some up, and would appreciate so much any help doing this.

    I love and miss him every day, and I thank God for letting me have him.

    Thanks so much,