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Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

Joe Goldstein, classic old-school p.r. man, dead at 81

Assuming this isn't some sort of publicity stunt - because that would be just like him - Joe Goldstein died Friday at age 81. It says so here.

It figures that he picked a Friday. Everyone in the p.r. business knows that's the day to break bad news, because no one reads the Saturday papers.

Here is an excellent 1987 profile on Joey from Sports Illustrated, back when he was 59 and a professional, perpetual, lovable pest.

Which is what he remained to the end.

The story nicely sums up who and what he was during a long career that began with promoting Roosevelt Raceway in 1954 and included helping turn the New York City Marathon into an international phenomenon.

Said Fred Lebow to Goldstein in that SI piece: "I hate you, but I can't do without you."

Here is Lupica's appreciation in the Daily News.I first encountered Joey while covering a road race of some sort the late 1980s. In 1994, my wife and I bizarrely ran into him at La Coupole in Paris; he was hosting a big party for a track meet that weekend.

I hadn't been to Europe before and haven't been since, but somehow Joey made seeing him there seem normal, because, well, why not? He was everywhere.

Joey spent the rest of his life trying to pin me down on a time when we could do it again, and asking about my wife, whom he met only that once. He always called me Neil (The Best of The) Best, because comically over-the-top, quasi-sincere praise always was part of the shtick.

In July of 2007, I attended his 80th birthday party in Manhattan. Ralph Branca sang "God Bless America."

The bash attracted the usual, eclectic assortment of Joey characters. But Joey was Character No. 1.

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