Saying goodbye to a legend: Ted Silary

Former Temple great tight end Colin Thompson talks about Ted Silary covering him at Archbishop Wood.

Found out Thursday morning that Ted Silary passed away.

That’s Ascension Thursday in the Catholic religion.

Fitting because Silary no doubt he took the fastest track to Heaven because as good a writer as he was he was a better person. He also had the best sense of humor of any guy I’ve ever met in this business.

This one hit particularly hard for me because Ted and I spent many late afternoons roaming the sidelines together at places like 29th and Clearfield, 10th and Bigler and 67th and Woodland, watching high school football games, having fun and “working” if you could call it that.

Channel 10 was the only TV station to cover his passing.

Like Ted, I got my start in the high school sports department of the Philadelphia Bulletin, then moved to the Doylestown Intelligencer before accepting a job in the same building Ted worked in (The Inquirer building) for 15 years. We crossed paths many times over the years traveling in the same circles.

Silary was “the Man” and gave a lot of these players their nicknames. His was Teddy Ballgame and it fit because nobody told the story of a ballgame better than Teddy. He was such a good writer that he was offered every big beat at The Daily News and turned them all down.

“I never wanted that,” Ted said. “To me, there was nothing as satisfying as chronicling the achievements of young people.”

Silary’s connection to Temple football is tenuous but there is a thin thread. Ted went to Temple but dropped out to take his first professional job. Every Temple player from the Philadelphia Catholic, Public or Inter-Ac League at least knew of and admired and respected Ted.

There were plenty of them, from the Ray Haynes’ (Dobbins), to the Anthony Russos and Colin Thompsons (both Archbishop Wood), to the Adam Kleins (Episcopal Academy) and really too many to mention.

Whatever publicity Silary gave them probably contributed in small part to Temple offering the scholarship.

And those Temple players knew and appreciated Ted and he them, rooting for them throughout their college careers. His lasting gift to them is a website,, that lists what they did and the records at their particular schools. High school sports will stand still now because I doubt anyone will continue to compile the detailed records and stats that Silary did.

For every amusing anecdote Ted put in the paper, there were at least a few he left out.

A week after the Edison football team lost its 40th-straight on the way to 58-straight losses, I ran into Ted on the sideline of a Wood-Ryan football game.

“I wish I could have used this,” Ted said. “The snap sailed over the Edison punter’s head. He didn’t even go after the ball. He walked off the field and headed straight home, saying, ‘I ain’t chasing that damn bleeping ball ever again.’ He quit right there and walked home in full uniform. Funniest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Ted left the world in the same unassuming way he arrived, requesting no services. He was born in a hospital for unwed mothers in 1951 and adopted by the Silary family a year later.

If there is a Twitter in Heaven, I hope Ted got a chance to see this.

The rest is a history like only he can write it.

Now he’s in another world and I hope in that one he sees how much he meant to the people he left behind.

On Thursday, national Twitter blew up with #RIPTed and people who didn’t know him were freaking out thinking it was Ted Lasso or Ted Cruz not knowing that a high school sportswriting legend could have such an impact.

He did because he was the best and no one ever will match what he did or even could. #RIPTed, indeed.

Friday: The G5 Magna Carta

Monday: Temple Cleanup Day