Roger Treat

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The Football Encyclopedia (1952)

Roger Treat (1906 – October 6, 1969) was an American sportswriter and author. He was a vocal critic of segregation policies in both baseball and football, and was cited by his contemporaries as a key figure in the effort to integrate both sports. Treat was also the editor of the first football encyclopedia.

Treat began his newspaper career as sports editor of the Washington Daily News in the early 1940s and later moved to the Chicago Herald American. He later worked at the Washington Post, Baltimore News American, and the Danbury News Times.

Treat wrote the classic book "Man o' War", considered by many to be the definitive biography of the racehorse. First published in 1950, the book remains in print today.

In the early 1950s, Treat launched a massive effort to document the history of professional football. That work culminated in the 1952 publication of The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League. The book represented the first attempt to document the score of every game in the league's history and every player who had appeared in a game. It was widely praised and remained the seminal reference book on the subject for more than twenty years. Treat oversaw the publication of six revised editions before his death in 1969. Thereafter, his daughter-in-law Suzanne Treat became the book's editor, publishing nine more editions between 1970 and 1979.

Among Treat's other books was a pulp novel called "Joy Ride" and a biography of his close friend Bernard J. Sheil entitled "Bishop Sheil and the CYO." Treat wrote three books for children: "Walter Johnson, King of the Pitchers" (1948), "Duke of the Bruins" (1950), and "Boy Jockey" (1953).

Treat's final book, published after his death, was a novel called "The Endless Road." It tells the story of a Chicago newspaperman struggling with alcoholism, a thinly veiled account of his own life.

Treat and his wife Gerda Dahl Treat had two sons, John Treat and Peter Treat. He died of lung cancer in Danbury, Connecticut.