Region 7 lost a media legend this week when Amadee Wohlschlaeger died at home in suburban St. Louis. He was 102.
The name may not be familiar to you, but ask your parents or grandparents, or even great-grandparents. Wohlschlaeger was among the last sports cartoonists from when hand-inked illustrations of athletes appeared in the newspaper more frequently than photos. He drew for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and also The Sporting News when it was called “The Bible of Baseball” and produced in St. Louis. He frequently won national recognition for his work.
In all, he spent more than 70 years with an ink pen in his hand.
A part of his cartooning legacy persists today in the Weatherbird, a small, pithy cartoon accompanying the daily weather forecast on the Post-Dispatch’s front page. The Weatherbird, which first appeared in 1901, is the oldest continuous cartoon in the United States. Wohlschlaeger drew it from 1932 to 1981. Much of that time he drew different birds for each edition of the newspaper, and there were four or five editions a day.
Because he spelled his own name wrong once in an illustration, Wohlschlaeger switched to signing his work “Amadee” and people called him by that name thereafter.
Current Weatherbird artist Dan Martin told the Post-Dispatch, “Anybody who knew him would agree that he was a larger-than-life personality.”