July 21st, 2008

Jerome

It was sad to hear of the passing of a baseball writing legend and a fellow Lifetime Honorary member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, Jerome Holtzman. “The Dean” was a good guy and helpful to me when I was cutting my teeth as a baseball writer. I grew up reading his articles in the Chicago Trib, and because I spent 1992-99 in various roles at The Sporting News in St. Louis, it was a pleasure to see his weekly columns in the archives from when it was “The Bible of Baseball.” While it is true that Jerome invented the save statistic, as the commissioner noted, it also should be noted that it was basically invented in the pages of The Sporting News with Jerome doing the writing. That’s when the publication was influential and such articles published by the Spink family frequently led to change in baseball. As it said in the obit that first came from the White Sox front office: “His byline appeared in more than one thousand consecutive weekly issues of The Sporting News, quite possibly an ironman record.” On a personal note, Jerome was a great guy with a great sense of humor, and he always had patience and tolerance for a young baseball beat writer just getting established. Today here at MLBlogs we have thousands and thousands of people who consider themselves baseball writers. It is good to pause and tip your hat to one who truly paved the way for many others, one who was more interested in the welfare of the sport above any team, one who made the press box and world a better place.

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