Longtime Minnesota sports columnist Sid Hartman dies at 100

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

Hartman, whose first newspaper column was once printed in 1945, died surrounded through his circle of relatives, Megastar Tribune sports activities editor Chris Carr mentioned.

“It is a unhappy day,” Carr informed The Related Press. “He’s the Megastar Tribune in some ways, a minimum of within the sports activities division. It speaks to his wonderful lifestyles that even at 100 and a part years outdated, he passes away and we nonetheless can not consider it.”

He stored up his age-defying tempo even after his 100th party on March 15 was once canceled on account of the coronavirus pandemic. Hartman persisted to write down 3 columns a week for the Megastar Tribune as a centenarian, 4 right through soccer season, and served as co-host of a Sunday morning radio display on WCCO-AM in Minneapolis.

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

Hartman grew up deficient on Minneapolis’ difficult north facet, 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, selecting up papers and leaving them in drop packing containers.

In 1944, the stream supervisor beneficial Hartman for an internship at the sports activities table on the outdated Minneapolis Occasions. A yr later, he was once in print with a roundup of stories and notes, a method he persisted right through his occupation. Hartman all the time known as himself a reporter, no longer a creator. After the Occasions folded in 1948, Hartman went to paintings on the Minneapolis Tribune protecting his cherished College of Minnesota.

Former Minnesota Vikings trainer Bud Grant recalled attending the college after International Battle II and working into Hartman on Hartman’s first day as a beat creator. Grant and his spouse turned into buddies with Hartman, and when Grant introduced his first retirement as Vikings trainer in 1984, he shared the inside track handiest 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 mentioned.

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 nobody else. “It was once roughly the Wild West, and Sid was once the highest gunfighter,” mentioned Dave Mona, Hartman’s “Sports activities Huddle” co-host because the WCCO-AM radio program debuted in 1981.

Regularly on account of the favorable protection he gave to native sports activities groups, Hartman was once granted remarkable behind-the-scenes get right of entry to to gamers, coaches and managers. He was once given unfastened rein to roam the place he sought after, when he sought after.

Hartman was once instrumental in serving to entice professional groups to Minnesota. In his autobiography “Sid!” (co-written with fellow Megastar Tribune sports activities columnist Patrick Reusse), Hartman wrote that during 1947 he introduced $15,000 to the landlord of the Detroit Gem stones of the Nationwide Basketball League for the franchise, then went to Detroit to ship the take a look at. The crew turned into the Minneapolis Lakers, and Hartman was once the de facto normal supervisor. Led through large guy George Mikan, the Lakers gained the NBL championship of their first season and 5 NBA championships. Hartman left the Lakers operation in 1957, and the crew moved to Los Angeles in 1960.

He did all that whilst proceeding his newspaper paintings, a blatant conflict-of-interest through lately’s requirements however an approved follow in the ones days.

But he all the time attempted to outwork different journalists for scoops. He was once a well-recognized sight at maximum video games and information meetings, lugging a big, clunky, old-fashioned tape recorder and a thick, black ebook full of 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 international.

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 cling up on or chastise callers — “geniuses,” as Hartman known as them — who voiced reviews he disagreed with. In spite of his recognition as a curmudgeon, Hartman was once mechanically approached through enthusiasts for autographs and all the time obliged them.

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

“A part of my process was once to deliver him into the ’80s. From time to time he got here reasonably simply and once in a while he didn’t,” mentioned former Megastar Tribune editor Tim McGuire. “He all the time was once an excessive amount of of a booster, and he liked his Gophers. However he was once all the time a newsman.”

Hartman additionally was once a widespread critic of girls’s athletics, which he idea minimize into expenditures for males’s sports activities at College of Minnesota. “It’s archaic,” former Megastar Tribune sports activities editor Glen Crevier mentioned of Hartman’s angle in 2009, “however a minimum of 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 Megastar Tribune put his occupation byline rely at 21,149.

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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 document.

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