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.


Some people will argue what city is actually the greatest baseball city in the World. I was lucky enough to grow up in Chicago and I truly believe that Chicago was in fact that city.
Not only does Chicago have fans that could put up with losing seasons, blowing leads in September and many other sports oddities but people in Chicago have had some of the best sportswriters and broadcasters as well. As a kid I remember meeting Mr. Holtzman along with fellow Chicago sportswriter Bill Gleason who was a friend of my fathers. He was always a fun guy to talk to because he knew his sports and if he believed something he stuck with it. Hell at one point he said that Michael Jordan was a ball hog and not a team player and even after 6 championships he never admitted he was wrong. Whether he was right or wrong most of the time he was a guy that players wanted to talk to. Many guys actually looked forward to seeing him come around their locker because they knew that good or bad Jerome was going to write things exactly how they were and pull any punchesJerome Holtzman gave guys like Bruce Sutter, Lee Smith and the closers of baseball the recognition they deserver with the creation of the “SAVE”. Every relief pitcher in baseball owes Jerome a prayer and a big THANK YOU!! He is the man that made your paycheck get a little bigger!Jerome Holtman is a True Hall of Famer that the sports world is going to miss!John Witthttp://majorleagueballhawk.mlblogs.com


Also let’s not forget Red Foley who passed away last week!


Joe Boesch

I had the chance to talk to Jerome several times during his tenure as a member of the Hall of Fame’s Veterans Committee. He was always friendly and willing to answer questions from Hall of Fame staffers like myself. I usually saw him in Tampa for the HOF election. It was a common sight to see Jerome doing the backstroke in the Tampa Marriott pool!

Jerome’s appearance could be a little intimidating–he had really thick eyebrows that made him appear somewhat menacing–but his personality was far different from that. All you had to do was ask him a question, and that got the conversation flowing. He had a voluminous knowledge of baseball history, from the Black Sox scandal to the more contemporary game.

We’ve lost a number of great writers this year, Eliot Asinof, WC Heinz, Jules Tygiel, and now Jerome Holtzman.

Bruce Markusen
Cooperstown Confidential

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