Avrum Dansky, who took a boyhood fixation with sports statistics into a career in journalism, died Thursday after a long illness. He was 57.
Dansky worked for The Times for almost 29 years and was in charge of the statistics pages from their inception, in 1978. The job came naturally to him.
He was born and grew up in Los Angeles, playing basketball at John Marshall High and attending UCLA. "He was a great statistician," lifelong friend Mike Zavin said. "Starting in high school, maybe junior high, he would keep the record every day of every (major league) pitcher's earned-run average and won-lost record. . . . He just dreamed and slept that stuff."
Dansky worked as a copy editor at the old Los Angeles Herald Examiner and San Francisco Examiner before coming to The Times in 1963 as a part-time copy editor.
He became full time in 1966 and covered high schools before assuming full-time statistics duty.
"He had the uncanny ability to home in on the obvious mistakes that you and I would overlook," said Dave Moylan, a former Times associate sports editor. "It was unbelievable. There were countless stories where he called (the Associated Press) and said, 'You know, you got this messed up,' and the story was from Binghamton, N.Y., or some such place."
Said Sports Editor Bill Dwyre: "For those of us who daily live and breathe with the inside operation and production of a newspaper sports section, the loss of Avrum Dansky is a staggering one. More than anything, he cared about getting large quantities of correct information to sports page readers.
"Little else mattered to him. In our business, he was not a star writer. He was just a star."
Arrangements for interment are incomplete. Dansky requested that there be no funeral.