Vincent X. Flaherty, 69, a former Washington sports columnist whose articles were syndicated by the Hearst chain, died Tuesday in Los Angeles after a heart attack.
Mr. Flaherty, a Washington native, began his writing career with the old Washington Herald in 1932 - later the Times Herald - and moved to the Los Angeles Examiner in 1945. H e had served as a war correspondent in the European theater during World War II.
Walter O'Malley, president of the Dodgers, publicly credited Mr. Flaherty with being instrumental in bringing major league baseball to the Pacific Coast in 1958. His many sports columns awakened California's interest - along with O'Malley's - in the feasibility of bringing major league ball west.
The late Damon Runyon, fascinated by the sometimes Runyonesque characterisrics exhibited by Mr. Flaherty negotiated his hiring by the Hearst chain. In his prenewspaper writing years, the venturesome Mr. Flaherty signed on as a sparring partner for heavyweight champion Jack Sharkey, who at the time was preparing to defend his title against W.L. (Young) Stribling.
Mr. Flaherty was an outstanding football and baseball player at Eastern High School in Washington and then became, as he said, "something of a tramp athlete." He played freshman football as an end at Notre Dame, later matriculated at Columbia and Georgia Tech, and finished his college career as a varsity end at Marquette.
The late Bob Considine, then sports editor of the Washington Herald, said in hiring Mr. Flaherty that "this fellow is a hell of writer; he has style and can play a tune on a typewriter."
In Los Angeles, he moved in the same circles as famous movie colony figures and counted Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and the late Louis B. Mayer among his friends. His flamboyance was marked by the shiny new Cadillacs he parked at the press gates.
As a Hollywood figure, Mr. Flaherty also wrote syndicated articles for film magazines and other national publications, and wrote the screen play for "Jim Thrope - All American."
He contributed also to the writing of the screen play for "PT-109," the film depicting the wartime career of President John F. Kennedy as a naval officer in the Pacific. His syndicated columns were distributed by King Features.
Following the merger of the Los Angeles Herald-Express with Hearst's Examiner. Mr. Flaherty abandoned sports to write a column on wide-ranging subject matter. He later joined Gene Autry as a personnel assistant in the operation of the California Angeles baseball team.
At the time of his death, Mr. Flaherty was preparing a block manuscript on the life of Gen. John J. Pershing.
He is survived by his wife, Katherine, Higgins Flaherty, of Los Angeles; a son, Vincent Jr.; two brothers, Leo, of Sumner, Md., and retired Navy Cdr. James W. Flaherty of Winter Haven. Fla., and a sister, Beatrice Dangerfield, of Potomac.