Pete Axthelm

Pete Axthelm (August 27, 1943 – February 2, 1991) was a sportswriter and columnist for the New York Herald Tribune, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek and its Inside Sports. During the 1980s, his knowledge of sports and journalistic skill aided him in becoming a sports commentator for The NFL on NBC and NFL Primetime and horse racing on ESPN.[1][2][3]

Pete Axthelm
Born(1943-08-27)August 27, 1943
DiedFebruary 2, 1991(1991-02-02) (aged 47)
Alma materYale University, 1965
OccupationJournalist, Sports reporter,
Columnist, Sports commentator
Spouse(s)Andrea Axthelm
Children1 daughter

Born in New York City and a 1965 graduate of Yale University,[1] Axthelm wrote The Modern Confessional Novel while a student there.[4] he went to work for Newsweek in 1968 and covered the Summer Olympics in Mexico City.[5] In 1970, The City Game, Basketball in New York was published. The book explored one season of the New York Knicks along with players who were legends in neighborhoods of New York but who never played professionally. He is perhaps best remembered for writing The Kid in 1978, a biography of then eighteen-year-old Triple Crown winning jockey Steve Cauthen.[2]

While on the pregame telecasts for the NFL in the early 1980s, Axthelm was NBC's answer to CBS' Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder on The NFL Today, providing betting angles to the games.[5]


Axthelm suffered from acute hepatitis and died of liver failure in 1991 at the age of 47.[1][3] At the time of his death, he was awaiting a liver transplant at Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, and was survived by his wife and daughter.[6]



  1. ^ a b c "Colleagues mourn death of Pete Axthelm". Bangor Daily News. Maine. Associated Press. February 4, 1991. p. 13.
  2. ^ a b James, George (February 4, 1991). "Pete Axthelm, 47, sports author, columnist and TV commentator". New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Asher, Mark (February 3, 1991). "Sportswriter Pete Axthelm dies at 47". Washington Post. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  4. ^ Isaacs, Stan (February 5, 1991). "Good guy Pete Axthelm will be missed". Wilmington Morning Star. North Carolina. (Newsday). p. 2C.
  5. ^ a b Durslag, Melvin (February 6, 1991). "Axthelm's career left the gate at a gallop". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  6. ^ "Pete Axthelm, sports reporter". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. February 4, 1991. p. 28.
  7. ^ "8 Are Named for Awards In Magazine Journalism". New York Times. Retrieved 27 December 2018.


  • The City Game, Harper's Magazine Press, New York, 1970 (ISBN 0-8032-5934-4)
  • The Modern Confessional Novel (Yale University, 1967)
  • Tennis Observed: The U.S.L.T.A. Men's Singles Champions, 1881–1966 with William F. Talbert (Barre Publishers, 1967)
  • The Kid, a portrait of the racing prodigy Steve Cauthen (Bantam, 1978)