Holtzman, Jerome 1926–2008
Holtzman, Jerome 1926–2008
See index for CA sketch: Born July 12, 1926, in Chicago, IL; died of a stroke, July 19, 2008, in Evanston, IL. Sportswriter, sports historian, columnist, editor, and author. Upon his retirement from the Chicago Tribune, Holtzman was honored by baseball commissioner Bud Selig as the official historian of baseball. Unofficially he had held the title for decades. Anchored in Chicago, Holtzman observed the game throughout his career, as a baseball reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times and its predecessor company from 1957 until 1981, when he moved to the Chicago Tribune as a baseball columnist. He followed the sport for nearly thirty years with his hometown teams, the Cubs and the White Sox, but his knowledge of the sport was encyclopedic and, according to sources, his reporting was both fair and reliable. He had respect for the players—all of them. It was Holtzman who developed the "save rule," which statisticians could use to determine and acknowledge the value of relief pitchers as well as the headliners who started the games. In 1969 the save rule was adopted formally as the first major enhancement of baseball statistics in almost fifty years. Holtzman was also a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committee, which recognizes Hall of Fame nominees who had been neglected or overlooked by the larger voting membership of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Holtzman retired from the Tribune around 1998; by then he had also achieved national recognition as a longtime columnist for the Sporting News and author of the annual season summary of the Official Baseball Guide. He had several books to his credit as well. Holtzman was the author of The Commissioners: Baseball's Midlife Crisis (1998) and Baseball, Chicago Style: A Tale of Two Teams, One City (2001). He acknowledged his respect for other sportswriters in the edited collection No Cheering in the Press Box (1974), an oral history of baseball in the words of his colleagues from Paul Gallico to Red Smith. He recognized the contributions of mainstream authors in Fielder's Choice: An Anthology of Baseball Fiction (1979), a collection of stories by many professional writers, from James Thurber and Ring Lardner to Bernard Malamud and Chaim Potok. His own writings were collected in Jerome Holtzman on Baseball (2005). Holtzman was not inducted into the writers' section of the Baseball Hall of Fame until 1989, but he had been known as "the dean" of baseball writers for years.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Chicago Tribune, July 22, 2008, sec. 1, pp. 1, 11.
Los Angeles Times, July 22, 2008, p. B8.
New York Times, July 22, 2008, p. C12.