Longtime Minnesota sports columnist Sid Hartman dies at 100

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota sports activities columnist and radio persona Sid Hartman, an old-school house workforce booster who as soon as ran the NBA’s Minneapolis Lakers and accomplished just about as a lot famous person as one of the athletes he lined, died Sunday. He was once 100.

Hartman, whose first newspaper column was once printed in 1945, died surrounded by way of his circle of relatives, Superstar Tribune sports activities editor Chris Carr stated.

“It is a unhappy day,” Carr informed The Related Press. “He’s the Superstar Tribune in some ways, no less than within the sports activities division. It speaks to his superb existence that even at 100 and a part years outdated, he passes away and we nonetheless can not imagine it.”

He saved up his age-defying tempo even after his 100th party on March 15 was once canceled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Hartman persisted to put in writing 3 columns every week for the Superstar Tribune as a centenarian, 4 all over soccer season, and served as co-host of a Sunday morning radio display on WCCO-AM in Minneapolis.

“I’ve adopted the recommendation that when you love what you do, you by no means paintings an afternoon for your existence,” Hartman wrote in his column printed on his 100th birthday. “Even at 100, I will be able to say I nonetheless love what I do.”

Hartman grew up deficient on Minneapolis’ difficult north aspect, the son of a Russian immigrant father and Latvian mom who at age nine started promoting newspapers on downtown side road corners. He dropped out of highschool within the 10th grade for a information run, choosing up papers and leaving them in drop packing containers.

In 1944, the movement supervisor really helpful Hartman for an internship at the sports activities table on the outdated Minneapolis Instances. A yr later, he was once in print with a roundup of reports and notes, a method he persisted all the way through his occupation. Hartman at all times known as himself a reporter, no longer a author. After the Instances folded in 1948, Hartman went to paintings on the Minneapolis Tribune overlaying his liked College of Minnesota.

Former Minnesota Vikings trainer Bud Grant recalled attending the college after Global Struggle II and operating into Hartman on Hartman’s first day as a beat author. Grant and his spouse become pals with Hartman, and when Grant introduced his first retirement as Vikings trainer in 1984, he shared the news most effective with Hartman.

“They’d say ‘off-the-record,’ and to Sid that was once off-the-record. He by no means broke a self assurance, with anyone I ever knew,” Grant as soon as stated.

Hartman was once an unapologetic throwback to the times when the wall between sportswriters and the groups and gamers they lined was once no longer as outlined. Colleagues referred to “Sid’s Laws,” which carried out to Hartman and no person else. “It was once roughly the Wild West, and Sid was once the highest gunfighter,” stated Dave Mona, Hartman’s “Sports activities Huddle” co-host because the WCCO-AM radio program debuted in 1981.

Ceaselessly as a result of the favorable protection he gave to native sports activities groups, Hartman was once granted remarkable behind-the-scenes get admission to to gamers, coaches and managers. He was once given loose rein to roam the place he sought after, when he sought after.

Hartman was once instrumental in serving to trap professional groups to Minnesota. In his autobiography “Sid!” (co-written with fellow Superstar Tribune sports activities columnist Patrick Reusse), Hartman wrote that during 1947 he presented $15,000 to the landlord of the Detroit Gemstones of the Nationwide Basketball League for the franchise, then went to Detroit to ship the test. The workforce become the Minneapolis Lakers, and Hartman was once the de facto basic supervisor. Led by way of large guy George Mikan, the Lakers received the NBL championship of their first season and 5 NBA championships. Hartman left the Lakers operation in 1957, and the workforce moved to Los Angeles in 1960.

He did all that whilst proceeding his newspaper paintings, a blatant conflict-of-interest by way of nowadays’s requirements however an authorised observe in the ones days.

But he at all times attempted to outwork different journalists for scoops. He was once a well-known sight at maximum video games and information meetings, lugging a big, clunky, old-fashioned tape recorder and a thick, black e-book filled with pages of telephone numbers. From George Steinbrenner to Bob Knight to Pete Carroll, Hartman’s rolodex has lengthy been a who’s-who of the sports activities global.

Hartman’s unique gruff, slurred speech and malaprops made him a favourite of listeners, media colleagues and the gamers and coaches he lined to mimic. At the radio, Hartman would someday dangle up on or chastise callers — “geniuses,” as Hartman known as them — who voiced evaluations he disagreed with. In spite of his recognition as a curmudgeon, Hartman was once mechanically approached by way of enthusiasts for autographs and at all times obliged them.

In 2010, to mark his 90th birthday, a statute appearing Hartman preserving a radio microphone, wearing an outsized tape recorder and with a Superstar Tribune tucked below his arm was once unveiled on a nook out of doors Goal Middle, the house of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves.

“A part of my activity was once to carry him into the ’80s. Every now and then he got here somewhat simply and once in a while he didn’t,” stated former Superstar Tribune editor Tim McGuire. “He at all times was once an excessive amount of of a booster, and he cherished his Gophers. However he was once at all times a newsman.”

Hartman additionally was once a common critic of girls’s athletics, which he idea reduce into expenditures for males’s sports activities at College of Minnesota. “It’s archaic,” former Superstar Tribune sports activities editor Glen Crevier stated of Hartman’s angle in 2009, “however no less than he doesn’t write negatively about them anymore. He simply avoids them.”

Hartman’s son, Chad, adopted his father into sports activities reporting, as play-by-play announcer for the Timberwolves and a neighborhood communicate display host.

When his 100th birthday column was once printed, the Superstar Tribune put his occupation byline depend at 21,149.


Baenen retired from the AP in September after a 42-year occupation with the corporate. Related Press writers Dave Campbell in Minneapolis and Dave Kolpack in Bismarck, N.D., contributed to this file.

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