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When Esther (Eppie) Lederer, nee Friedman, began her career as advice columnist Ann Landers for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1955, the letter was our primary form of communication. Most Americans stopped writing to friends and family years ago, but people never stopped writing to Landers. "Dear Ann," they would always begin, before revealing their secrets. Quickly building a reputation for sincerity, sarcasm, sympathy and sound advice, Landers became the most widely syndicated columnist in the world, appearing in more than 1,200 newspapers and accumulating an estimated readership of 90 million daily. Landers considered her column a chance to "do good in the world." Her real strength was her own fallibility. In 1975, she wrote the "most difficult" column ever, telling readers of her divorce. She once had to apologize for publishing a favorite meatloaf recipe without a key ingredient. And she and her twin sister, Pauline, feuded after Pauline became "Dear Abby." Says author Anna Quindlen, who received warm notes from Landers about Quindlen's own columns, "That common touch of hers was not a fake."

He didn't believe what he had just seen, he told us, and neither did anyone who witnessed the home run by hobbling Kirk Gibson. That call, in the 1988 World Series, was just one of many that defined Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Buck's career.

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