Joe Posnanski was born in Cleveland, Ohio. As a child, he was obsessed with sports, in particular his beloved Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Browns.
Despite his love of sports, Posnanski wasn’t much of an athlete himself growing up and originally entered college hoping to be an accountant. But after failing out of his accounting classes in college, he decided to switch to his focus to sportswriting and enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he majored in English.
Posnanski started out in journalism as a stringer at the Charlotte Observer, mainly covering high school sports but eventually moved up to covering the Rock Hill, S.C. sports beat for the paper. After a few years, he was hired as a columnist by the Augusta Chronicle but it wasn’t until he was hired by the Kansas City Star in 1996 that his career really began to take off.
While at the Star, Posnanski became famous for his baseball writing, especially after writing The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O’Neil’s America, a 2007 account of a cross-country trip Negro Leagues veteran Buck O’Neil made to raise awareness of the Negro Leagues’ memory, which Posnanski accompanied O’Neil on.
In addition to baseball, Posnanski also wrote about several other sports while at the Star, twice winning the Associated Press Sports Editors award for Columnist of the Year. Posnanski, along with Jeff Passan, Jason Whitlock and Kent Babb is credited with greatly raising the Star’s profile during his time there.
Before fully leaving the Star in 2009, Posnanski joined Sports Illustrated as a senior columnist, writing there for three years before he left to become the first editor of USA Today and MLB Advanced Media’s long-form sports journalism website Sports on Earth and then eventually a writer for NBC Sports, where he currently works.
While he was still at Sports Illustrated, Posnanski published his biography of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, simply titled Paterno, in 2009. The book was immediately overshadowed by the news of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, which led to Paterno’s firing and resulted in Posnanski being criticized for not addressing the scandal, which broke as the book was heading to publication.
Since 2013, Posnanski has worked as a columnist for NBC Sports, although he also posts most of his pieces in blog form on his website, www.joeposnanski.com. Posnanski currently lives in Charlotte, N.C. with his wife and two daughters.