Back cover of The New York Post for Monday, April 13
There’s a poem by A.E. Housman published in 1896 titled “To an Athlete Dying Young.” The second stanza reads:
“Today, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.”
Today, New York City is indeed a “stiller town,” as it mourns one of their own, beloved Sports Photographer Anthony Causi, who died this past Sunday of coronavirus. He was 48 years old.
In tribute to the fallen photographer, the New York Post published a full-page photo of Causi on the back cover, with the headline: “Our Eyes, Our Heart And our city’s loss.”
New York Post columnist Ken Davidoff’s story, “Anthony Causi, beloved Post sports photographer, dies of coronavirus at 48,” also features a wonderful slideshow of both Causi’s great work as well as the photographer in action. In that story, Davidoff notes how Causi’s “action shots reflected his knack for being in the right place at the right time—his capturing of legendary Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera from behind, departing the bullpen and entering a sold-out Yankee Stadium, became his most popular photo….” Davidoff also points out his gregarious nature and astonishing ability to connect with even difficult athletes. For example, Mets Yoenis Cespedes “granted The Post access to his ranch in Vero Beach, Fla.—and dressed in cowboy gear—because of the trust he had in Causi.”
Causi’s caring demeanor and generous personality is why he’s being mourned throughout the world of sports and sports photography, not just in New York.
For New York Post Sports Columnist Mike Vaccaro, Causi was a unique figure who was boundlessly kind in the hyper competitive worlds of both journalism and sports photography, which he wrote about in his column earlier today “Here at the New York Post, the virus has a face now, and a name,” wrote Vaccaro. “He was Anthony J. Causi, he was a brilliant sports photographer whose pictures brightened these pages for nearly 26 years, whose personality illuminated our lives from the moment our paths first crossed…. There are some people in our lives whose impact is so immediate, and so permanent, it’s all but impossible to remember a time when they weren’t a part of us. That was Anthony. If you worked at The Post, you were family. If you didn’t? That was just a detail. You were family, too.”
I asked Vaccaro what made Causi stand out as a photographer and colleague. He mentioned how Causi didn’t stop shooting after the final buzzer sounded, the boxing bell rang or the final out was made.
“While most of us leave stadiums and arenas with our heads down, just trying to get to our cars,” said Vaccaro, “Anthony would seek people out: guys and girls on a date at the Knicks game, or a kid who’d obviously just seen his first game at Yankee Stadium. And he’d take their pictures—a hundred of them, if that’s what it took to get a good one. There are, literally, thousands of people all over New York who have Anthony’s pictures in frames, on their fridge, in scrapbooks because they happened to share a serendipitous moment with him. And he never—not once—charged people for these pictures. He was extraordinary.”
Vaccaro also wrote that, “…those photos were taken and presented with as much care, and as much style, as any he took of Derek Jeter, Eli Manning or Pete Alonso.”
In the world of sports, Causi was just one of those rare souls who was well known and loved. Vaccaro quotes Stephen Lynch, The Post’s editor-in-chief, who said, “He was a fixture… Do you know how many athletes reached out when they heard he was sick? Players from every team, sending thoughts, hoping he was going to be all right. They all knew him as we did — soft-spoken, kind, professional, funny.”
Causi is survived by his wife, Romina, and their children John, 5, and Mia, 2, as well as his parents, Lucille and John Causi, and sisters Maria Marangelli and Dianna Marotto.
There is also a GoFundMe account set up for the Causi family in the wake of Anthony’s passing. You can find it here.