Courtesy of Pueblo Chieftain
PUEBLO, Colo. (December 27, 2017) - The mark of a great storyteller is that he leaves everyone with a story to tell.
Dave Socier was the master. He spent nearly four decades sharing his wit through the sports section of The Pueblo Chieftain. Anyone who was around the man for more than 30 seconds has a tale to share.
Some actually are printable.
If he invited you to lunch, he paid.
He said gravy was its own food group. Chocolate, too.
He thought the elevator was the greatest invention in the history of mankind.
If it didn't have a ball, he mused, then it wasn't a sport. Of course, he didn't actually believe that, but it got such a rise out of people, he repeated it often.
And he loathed those who took themselves, or sports, too seriously.
"Babe Ruth is dead," he would grumble at college and high school pitchers. "Throw strikes."
For 37 years at The Chieftain, "Sosh" was more of a sports icon than sports journalist. He died on Christmas morning at the age of 78.
Born in Michigan, Socier attended Pueblo Catholic High School, Pueblo Junior College and the University of Colorado. He earned his degree in speech but thought getting paid to write about sports had to be the best gig in the world.
His first assignment at The Chieftain was a high school baseball game between Central and Wasson — in 1968. That started a career that included traveling with the Denver Broncos and visiting 30 states and seven foreign countries, all while on assignment.
Colorado State University-Pueblo was special to Sosh. He thrived when covering the Indians, and then the ThunderWolves. He often shared stories of old about Harry "The Chief" Simmons and the men's basketball team. Former sports information director Tim Simmons (also Harry's son) was best man in Sosh's wedding.
"Sosh had such a gift to connect with people," Simmons said. "People he never met warmed to him. One of the reasons why is that he did his homework. He would do as much research as he could. And, remember, this was before Google. But he spent the extra time because he loved what he was doing."
Joe Folda, CSU-Pueblo athletic director and former men's basketball coach, said Socier was one of a kind.
"He was our sportswriter when I took over as coach and he loved the Indians; then, of course, the ThunderWolves," Folda said. "What I appreciated was that he tried to be as positive as he could when it came to writing about our kids.
"We went on a lot of road trips together. And he always knew the best places to eat."
The school named the press row at Massari Arena after Sosh.
"I see it every time I walk into Massari," Folda said. "Now it will spark some more special memories."
Sosh felt getting jeered was better than being applauded. He welcomed hate mail like Christmas cards. He would poke fun at anything and everyone. He would throw out politically incorrect one-liners, consequences be damned.
Because it was all in fun.
In the mid-1980s, he created "Dr. Know," who took anyone and anything to task.
As Sosh once said with a laugh, "The more people you (ticked) off, the better it got."
The tennis courts, baseball diamonds and football fields were the perfect playgrounds for Sosh's words. His copy wasn't the cleanest, but his wit was as sharp as any.
Like one of Sosh's favorite sayings:
"You know what the pope says?" he would ask.
"Make your free throws."
As news holes and deadlines and budgets tightened, Sosh appreciated that he worked in a great era for sportswriters. He retired in 2005 with zero regrets.
Montgomery & Steward Funeral Directors is handling the arrangements. A celebration of life will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Jan. 6 at the Montgomery & Steward banquet hall.