What’s a Sports Cartoonist To Do

… It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship: Sunday marked their 40th wedding anniversary.

They celebrated with dinner at a restaurant attached to the Baltimore Art Museum. They have lived in Baltimore for most of the time since the Courier-Express closed, less than a year after their wedding. Ricig was a sports cartoonist at the Courier. Terri was a teacher in Buffalo

But the Courier-Express folded on the way to happily ever after. Then Ricig formed a greeting card company in Buffalo with Bill Cooke, the Courier’s former sports editor. They sold T-shirts, too, all with sports themes.

Ricig and Terri moved to Baltimore for him to take a cartooning job with Sports First, a publication of the Baltimore News American. Sports First folded after a year. Then he worked for the 200-year-old News American itself – and it folded, too. He got a contract to draw cartoons for the Baltimore Evening Sun. Then it folded. He built up freelance work for the Baltimore Sun, The Buffalo News, the Los Angeles Times and USA Today Sports Weekly. But as newspapers fell on hard times, almost all of that work dried up.

Ricig worked with Baltimore-based PressBox from 2018-2020, but seemingly no more.

“Ricig” is, of course, sports cartoonist Mike Ricigliano.
Sports cartoonist is not a career with bountiful opportunities these days.

Generations ago, many major metropolitan newspapers employed their own sports cartoonists. Now none do. The New York Times wrote about that in 2012 under the headline: “Lost Occupation, Lost Art.” The story presented Ricig as Exhibit A.

These days Ricig teaches cartooning at Johns Hopkins and Towson universities. He is still a freelance cartoonist, but gigs are harder than ever to find. He makes jokes about being a starving artist. Of course he makes jokes. They are his living.

Even markets for his freelance gigs at mazagines like Cracked no longer exist.

Erik Brady, for The Buffalo News, writes of life after your profession has died.


The best days of his life, of course, are the [St. Patrick’s] day he met Terri and their wedding day, 40 years ago. Ricig and Terri celebrated that on Sunday. They will celebrate her retirement on Friday. And then, come March 17, they will celebrate their St. Pat-iversary.

“That was the day,” Ricigliano says, “I had the luck of the Italian.”


postscript: For those who clicked on the link to Ricig’s Facebook page above you saw that he keeps his drawing hand active by illustrating his Toon Trivia posts. We thought we’d adapt one of his recent one to our needs.

TOON TRIVIA has not done BOOKENDS in awhile -so let’s rectify that…BOOKENDS are words or phrases that Start and End with the SAME Letter (like DaD) Today, bookend Words or phrases in Entertainment (books, movies, songs, tv )

 © Mike Ricigliano

We thought we’d change that to Comics Creators.
Like Sergio Aragonés, Alfred Andriola, and Sam C. Rawls.