Dave Malinsky was the handicapper’s voice of reason.
Even his critics, of which there were few, could hardly find fault in his analytical reasoning for discussing the case for what usually was a contrarian side.
Billy Walters reportedly said Malinsky was on his short-list of the most influential sports bettors of all-time.
I have made it a point for nearly 30 years to seek out the man’s sports betting wisdom in various forms since I first heard him break down college football games for nearly three hours many a Sunday night on KDWN-AM 720 with a souped-up radio antenna listening from a small bedroom of an office in suburban San Diego County.
For 20 years and beyond, I would tape the show on a reporter’s handheld recorder and listen to it again during the week. But when Dave was on that weekly staple of the airwaves during the football season, which was often throughout the years, I would listen to it again – twice.
Then, for years listening to his appearances on internet shows, including his relatively new and wildly-popular segment at 5:30 each morning on VSiN, and reading his spectacular column available at SBRForums where he finally let himself interact with fanboys like me who would dissect his every word in search of a winner.
He would reason with detractors that eventually would have them giving him their respect. His column wasn’t out to discuss changing someone’s opinion on a game, but he certainly wouldn’t hesitate to point out any reasoning that he thought may be flawed.
So well-versed was this man in so many things, apparently, that while it may have been tempting to sift through his wildly-flowing column just to get a recommendation or two out of his splendid write-up, I was more likely to end up clicking on one of his suggested YouTube music videos, which had me watching various Golden Earring concerts throughout Europe over the years after Dave recently touted them as possibly one of the most underrated bands of all-time.
Sure, we have our heroes growing up, especially us sports fans, but imagine how my eyes lit up when I made an appearance on the then-Arne Lang-hosted Stardust Line as a 21-year-old wanna-be bedroom ‘capper and Dave Malinsky was there.
It was more exciting than being the guest handicapper on the show that week.
Hard to believe the Stardust Line has been gone for over 10 years now. And hard to believe the man who would be a first-ballot induction into the sports handicapping hall of fame is gone. An avid and experienced hiker, Malinsky reportedly slipped and fell, resulting in his death near Mummy Spring at Mount Charleston last week.
So concerned over his disappearance while on the excursion, that I set up a special “search” on my on Tweetdeck, turning on notifications for any news about his well-being.
If anything, it was his style and delivery that made you feel like a friend was talking to you, or more importantly, a sports-handicapping confidant who was giving you sage advice.
We may not have known what a treasure we truly had. At 57 years young, he may have actually been heading into his sports gambling prime.
While obviously successful in life and satisfied with his low-profile in “our” game, it was possible Malinsky was unwillingly headed to a certain new level of celebrity once sports betting was soon to be made more available nationwide.
I never spoke or communicated with Dave again after that initial meeting some 28 years ago, but I didn’t need to, my mind was made up. Every single game I looked at would be from my own Malinsky-approach.
Thoughts on Dave from Andy Iskoe:
“My heart and condolences go out to Dave’s family, his many friends and fans both across the country and worldwide. I had the privilege and pleasure of knowing Dave for more than 25 years. He was two to three years ahead of the curve in his thinking and analysis. Dave was always a standup guy, displaying his breadth of knowledge (that went way beyond sports) and his clever wit. Rest in Peace, my friend.
A memorial page has been set up on Facebook.