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WE MOURN THE LOSS OF JEROME HOLTZMAN
INDUCTED INTO THE INTERNATIONAL JEWISH SPORTS HALL OF FAME IN ISRAEL IN 2005
Jerome Holtzman, the Chicago baseball “beat” writer, covering the Windy City’s Cubs and White Sox for 28 years, was recipient of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award in 1989, symbolizing election to the writer’s wing of Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
Holtzman began his Chicago (Illinois-USA) newspaper career in 1943, covering sports for the Chicago Sun-Times (Daily Times). He wrote for the Sun-Times for 38 years, and Chicago Tribune from 1981 until retirement in January 2000, whereby he was appointed Major League Baseball’s first official historian.
The “dean of America’s baseball writers” was a weekly contributor to The Sporting News for 30 baseball seasons, his byline appearing in more than 1,000 consecutive issues of TSN. He also authored the 20,000-word chapter on baseball that appears in the Encyclopedia Britannica, and for many years authored the summary of each Major League season for the Official Baseball Guide.
Bothered by inequities in prevailing statistics that failed to provide “an accurate index of effectiveness” for relief pitchers, Holtzman created the “save” statistic in 1960. The unique formula appeared as a non-official stat in the weekly The Sporting News, until 1966, when MLB adopted it as an official statistic. The “save” was the first new vital statistic adopted by MLB since the RBI (run batted in) in 1920. Holzman was tabbed “the patron saint of the bullpen”.
Jerome Holtzman authored nine books, all on baseball. Most celebrated is No Cheering in the Press Box, published in 1974, and re-issued in 1995 with six additional chapters. In 2003, No Cheering was named ‘one the best 100 sports books ever written’ by Sports Illustrated.
Holtzman, who served as national president of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BWAA), was recipient of the prestigious Red Smith Award in 1997 ‘for contributions to sports journalism’. In 1996, he was named “Chicago Press Veteran of the Year”, and in 2002, he received the Ring Lardner Award from the Chicago Athletic Association.