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Rays Week

Here Are Some Rare Rays

Ed. Note: A fond pastime of the Defector staff is sharing interesting, obscure photos of our beloved coworker Ray Ratto—we call them Rare Rays. For Rays Week, we thought we’d have the man himself explain five of our favorites.

Dwight Clark making “The Catch” in The 1981 NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park, and the penultimate occasion of me wearing a tie (the last being my wedding, and the dawn of the phrase “Married in one, buried in one,” now obsolete because I’m not going to be buried but abandoned in the woods by agreement with my family). The photographer is John Storey, who either did or should have regarded this as a profound lowlight in his otherwise exemplary career. The most memorable moment from this photo is Everson Walls yelling, “Fuck!” so loud that I could hear it over the crowd noise.


A staff meeting at the mostly-dead and almost entirely unlamented San Francisco Examiner. The fellow in the foreground was a longtime baseball writer and cigar holder named Bucky Walter, who once responded to a sports editor’s lament about the mistakes he’d made in his career with a cheery, “Yeah, you really covered yourself in shit with this one.” Over his right shoulder was a longtime NFL writer named Frank Cooney, and over his left, a brilliant copy editor named Dave Reznek who never listened in staff meetings and is best known for bringing his dog Pupchow to the office at least three times a week. The guy in the ridiculous hat was a local vagrant believed to be either dead, missing, or with any luck, both.


This was an entirely inexcusable mugshot for The National, a sports daily that lasted 17 months and died when the Mexican billionaire who funded the whole thing watched his expenditures reach $100 million and realized that reading is dead. The sweater was later donated to charity … well, wrapped around a brick and thrown through a window.


Sgt. Slaughter (real name Robert Rudolph Remus) made an appearance at KNBR Radio and decided to slap the Cobra Clutch on a local fat guy who didn’t have the minimal wit required to move away when someone said, “Let’s get a picture.”


One of these indolent waifs is the child of NBC Sports Bay Area 49ers writer Matt Maiocco and is known better by her middle names, “If You Don’t Shut Up Right Now” and “I Will Turn This Car Around Right Now.” The throw pillow in the middle was later soiled by a feral cat.


I apologize on behalf of the staff for making you endure these cornea-searing nightmares. The person who came up with the idea has been sacked, weighted down, and thrown from a bridge as part of Defector’s restorative justice program, “You Asked For It.”