By Bob Andelman
I swear I only worked at the old Tampa Tribune for six months but I met so many great and talented people there whose influences on me continued for decades that it’s hard to believe it was such a short tenure.
One of those folks was editorial cartoonist Wayne Stayskal, who died on November 20, 2018, in Chicago at the age of 86.
I last spoke to Wayne in 2014 and it was a funny, odd conversation as one would expect of interactions with the man. Connecting with him took a few months; turns out he and his wife were dealing with the ravages of Alzheimer’s Disease and he said the good days were far outnumbering the bad ones.
More than 20 years earlier, Wayne was one of three editorial cartoonists — the others were Clay Bennett (St. Petersburg Times) and Don Addis (Evening Independent) — that gave me permission to reprint their baseball related work in my first book, Stadium For Rent: Tampa’s Quest for Major League Baseball.
It had always frustrated me that the book’s original publisher had produced such an ugly little book of my work and was tone deaf in including all of the great Tampa vs. St. Petersburg cartoons this trio had not only given me permission to use, but had combed through their archives to provide.
In 2014, I took it upon myself to update and self-publish the book (the original was published five years before the Tampa Bay Rays became flesh-and-blood) with updated interviews and all of the original cartoons intact.
I had to tract down a family member who took pains to explain to Wayne that I wanted permission to once more use his cartoons in a paperback edition and when we finally connected, I remember how tickled he was to see his work still being remembered and respected.
As you’ll see, Wayne was brutally pro-Tampa in the 20-year tug-o-war between Tampa and St. Petersburg over bringing a Major League Baseball franchise to the greater Tampa Bay area. And when the two sides eventually joined sides and St. Petersburg triumphed, he handled it with great aplomb.My favorite comic of his of the entire era is below. It’s from 1992 and shows a man and woman trashing their anti-stadium signs in the middle of the night.
It’s unfortunate that Wayne didn’t live a few weeks loner to see how the latest baseball battle will play out as St. Pete, in 2015, gave the Rays three years to find a new location — yes, including Tampa sites. That window closes on December 31, 2018, and Tampa and Hillsborough County are running out of time at this writing to come through on a stadium deal … again!
Can’t say I often agreed with Wayne’s conservative politics — even on baseball — but you couldn’t help but laugh with him at the fun he poked.
You can find the following Wayne Stayskal gems — and many more — in the 2014 edition of Stadium For Rent. But I wanted them to reach the broadest possible audience now.
Rest in peace, Wayne. And thanks for the laughs — and tears.