Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Jerome Holtzman dies at 81
Jerome Holtzman, who was known as "the Dean" and he wrote the book "No Cheering in the Press Box," died Saturday at age 81. The Chicago Tribune wrote: "Holtzman was a baseball beat writer and columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times for three decades, starting in 1957, the year before the Dodgers' and Giants' migration from New York to California turned baseball into a truly national sport. He moved to the Tribune as baseball columnist in 1981 and was inducted into the writers' wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989, perhaps the most notable of the countless honors he achieved over his remarkable career."
The New York Times wrote: "In 1959, Mr. Holtzman, then covering the Chicago Cubs, invented the statistic known as the save, which helps measure the effectiveness of relief pitchers. Mr. Holtzman’s notion was that if a pitcher entered a game with a lead and had to face the potential tying run, and he then held the lead and finished the game, he should be credited with a save. Mr. Holtzman introduced the save in The Sporting News; in 1969, it became the first new official statistic acknowledged by Major League Baseball since the run batted in, in 1920." MSNBC's Bill Dedman shares a nice story about Holtzman's battle with an editor and the pressbox chanting, "Run the (expletive) column! Run the (expletive) column! Run the (expletive) column!" His Tribune colleagues share their memories, including this one from Mike Downey: When we were Sun-Times teammates, Holtzman was astounded to hear a boss half his age complain: "Your writing is filled with cliches." "But they're my cliches," Jerry argued. "I invented them.". From MLB.com: "Every fourth of July the phone would ring in Chuck Tanner's New Castle, Pa., home, a call from Jerome Holtzman wishing the former manager a happy birthday. The call didn't come this year. Tanner learned why on Monday. Like many of us, he was informed Holtzman, "The Dean" of baseball writers who'd been in failing health, died on Saturday in Evanston, Ill."